Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

Life is an Adventure for Jo Lucas Master Gardener of the Year 2018

 

Jo Turkey hunting 001

Turkey hunting has been a long time family tradition.

Everywhere she goes, Jo Lucas finds something to enjoy. For her, life is discovering new things on a daily basis. Part of this she credits to meeting the love of her life, Don Lucas, who had a spirit of adventure like no other.

   Their adventure began in Cody, Wyoming where they were married…with an elk hunt for a honeymoon. Since then hunting, fishing, gardening and many other activities filled their lives until just recently when Don died as a result of an accident.

   Their adventures could fill a book and have created many fond memories for her. They made friends wherever they went.

Jo with bear 001

Don and Jo with the bear she shot in New Hampshire.

   In New Hampshire, they both shot a bear and the bearskins still hang in her house today. She was sitting in a log yard when a bear appeared lumbering through the logs, getting closer and closer. She decided there was no choice but to shoot it and killed it with one shot.

   But bears aren’t the only thing on her hit list. Moose, elk, antelope, turkeys and other small game have all been part of her adventures from Maine to Alaska. She’s visited 49 of the 50 states with Hawaii still on her bucket list.

Jo Ice Fishing 001

Ice fishing in Maine was a very cold but fun experience.

   Ice fishing in Maine provided an unusual experience as temperatures were down to -20 and -30 degrees when they took a snowmobile out on the ice. Sometimes when they were ice fishing, they had a portable shanty to use as a windbreak. In Alaska, salmon fishing captured their attention.

Jo Cooking Tent 001

Their cooking tent is packed with supplies.

   Sometimes they used a camper, but most often tents. They had a special cook tent and then several sleeping tents a short distance away just in case an animal would decide to invade the cook tent overnight. Two dogs and a pistol kept her feeling a little safer wherever she happened to camp.

Jo Farmers Market

Jo sold her salsa and jams at the local Farmers’ Market.

   Back home in Guernsey County, Jo enjoyed large gardens and a fruit orchard. From these, she made delicious salsas and jams that she sold at the Farmers’ Market during the summer season.

   As a youngster, she grew up in the 4-H program in the Millersburg area, where horses were her passion and project. But on Thanksgiving, everyone went turkey hunting. It was a family tradition!

Jo salmon 001

Fishing for salmon in Alaska was a real success.

   Since Jo’s move to Guernsey County, she has been involved in the community in so many ways. Jo was the auxiliary president who brought back the idea for Wonderland of Trees at the hospital. That first year, there were six trees and six wreaths.

Jo fruit trees covered

Fruit trees are covered with parachutes to keep birds from eating the fruit.

   Other community organizations that are lucky to have her assistance are the Soil & Water Conservation Board (vice-chairman), Ohio Association of Garden Clubs (district treasurer), Mt. Herman Church (treasurer), Hopewell Homemakers, and Adair Ladies Bible Study at Antrim. Perhaps it should be mentioned that Jo has a degree in accounting.

Jo Raspberries 001

Her raspberry patch is used for jams, pies, or just a bowl of berries!

   In the last couple of years, she decided to go back to that early passion from 4-H of training and showing horses. These days she assists at Breaking Free Therapeutic Riding Center near Norwich. This facility helps the handicapped improve their physical, psychological and cognitive behaviors through association with a friendly horse. Veterans are always welcome.

   Working here has given Jo real pleasure as she volunteers as barn manager. She gets horses ready for riding by exercising them beforehand. Yes, sometimes she even rides herself.

Jo Tomatoes 001

Her delicious salsa was made possible through this large tomato patch.

   Jo Lucas loves the out-of-doors in so many ways but gardening is one of her favorites. She was recently named OSU Extension Guernsey County Master Gardener of 2018, a well-deserved honor. Jo was one of those original Guernsey County Master Gardeners.

   She remembers her days in 4-H and all the help the advisors gave, so felt it was her turn to “give back” to the community. She has shared her knowledge of gardening with hundreds of Guernsey County elementary school children.

Jo Cherry Tree Pruning

These trees were used to demonstrate proper pruning methods.

   Ag school days, master gardener classes and workshops are a few of the ways that she has given back. Over the past few years, she has hosted three pruning workshops at her home.

Jo Lucas and Clif Little

Clif Little presents Jo with the Master Gardener of the Year Award.

   Local OSU Extension Educator, Clif Little, praised Jo by saying, “I can sum up her work as a Master Gardener volunteer as hard-working, energetic, friendly, generous and very interested in learning. She is the type of person that will always help when we offer gardening classes.” That says it all!

Jo Flowers 001

This flower bed contains crazy daisies, daylilies and iris.

But one place that Jo is a bit dangerous is in a plant nursery. She enjoys trying new plants and searches for them wherever she goes. Sometimes she comes home with almost too many.

   There are still a few places on her bucket list and both relate to ancestry. Her grandparents came from Austria and Ireland so those are two places she would enjoy exploring.

Bear Skin 2

This bearskin hanging on her wall at home makes her smile as she remembers her adventures.

   Of one thing you can be certain, Jo Lucas will not be sitting in a rocking chair watching the world go by. She’s always ready for an adventure as she strives to learn something new each day.

If you have interest in becoming a Master Gardener in Guernsey County, contact Clif Little in the Guernsey County Extension Office at 740-489-5300.

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Busy Season for Senecaville Fish Hatchery

Hatchery Welcome SignSenecaville State Fish Hatchery is among the nation’s best hatcheries. Each year, approximately 20 – 25 million fish are raised here by the ODNR Division of Wildlife. They supply lakes and reservoirs around Ohio, as well as six pools in the Ohio River and 10 pools in the Muskingum River.

   Since approximately 1.3 million people go fishing in Ohio each year, it has become necessary to assist with the natural propagation of fish in Ohio waters. ODNR operates six fish hatcheries throughout Ohio for this purpose.

 

Hatchery Overlook

The bridge over the dam makes a great place to get an overview of the hatchery.

   The Senecaville Fish Hatchery is located in southern Guernsey County just below the dam on beautiful Seneca Lake. Beginning as a federal hatchery in 1938, when they first raised striped bass to replenish dwindling fish supplies, the hatchery now has 37 ponds containing a total of 37 water acres. Water is supplied by Seneca Lake, which can deliver 2,000 gallons per minute.

 

Hatchery Egg Jar

Casey Goodpaster displays the incubator jar where eggs are kept until hatched.

   Fish hatchery technicians, Casey Goodpaster and Josh Binkley, have been there about fifteen years each. Both have gone to college and have degrees in Parks and Recreation, and Fish Management respectively. These men do much more than care for fish as they often become mechanics, painters, welders, and mowers at the facility. They enjoy the freedom of spending much of their time outside.

 

Getting eggs

Eggs are being stripped from a walleye into a large bowl at Mosquito Lake.

   This is the time of year when the fish hatchery at Seneca Lake is busiest of all. In early March, the fish hatchery collects about 300 quarts of walleye fish eggs from Mosquito Lake in the Youngstown area. This adds up to around 20–30 million eggs!

W alleye released to the lake

Once the eggs have been gathered from the fish, the walleye are placed back into the lake.

 

Hatchery net

Josh Binkley uses a net to gather the fingerlings from the collection tank.

   The eggs are then fertilized and about three quarts are put into each incubator tube. Water must move through the tubes constantly to keep the eggs from sticking together. It takes two to three weeks for them to hatch before moving up the tubes and into a holding tank.

  Walleye

saugeye

The saugeye is a combination of a female walleye pictured above and the male sauger below.

   Often they cross a female walleye with a male sauger to create saugeye. This is done with about fifty percent of the walleye eggs since the saugeye have a much higher survival rate. Saugeye are well suited for Ohio reservoirs and grow rapidly.

 

Fingerling

Fingerlings are very small but ready for the lake.

   The newly hatched fish is called a ‘fry’ and is about the length of half an eyelash, according to one technician. Finally, the last juvenile stage is that of a fingerling about 15 cm long. At this time, they can be placed directly into the lake.

catfish

Catfish are raised in June and July and kept in the hatchery ponds for about a year.

A little later in the year in June and July, the hatchery will be raising channel catfish. They lay their eggs in a spawn inside a can placed in the ponds. These layers of eggs are then gently moved inside to hatch in five to seven days. After being fed fish meal for about a week, they quadruple their size and are then placed in the ponds for up to a year before stocking them in lakes and streams.

 

Hatchery ODNR sign

ODNR took over operations at the hatchery in 1987.

   When fishermen purchase rods, reels, fishing tackles, fish finders and motorboat fuel, they pay an excise tax. The federal government collects these taxes and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service distributes the funds to state fish and wildlife agencies. These funds acquire the habitat, stock the fish, provide education and develop boat accesses.

 

Seneca Lake Fish Hatchery

This airplane view captures the entire hatchery complex at Senecaville.

    At the Senecaville Fish Hatchery, there are four full-time employees and one part-time in the summer. Employees receive annual training through workshops regarding many topics from chain saw cutting to herbicides, fish and more.

 

Hatchery Stocking Truck

Their stocking truck carries oxygen and a water pump to keep the water moving.

    Senecaville Fish Hatchery is open to the public Monday – Friday from 10:00-3:00. This is also a great place for a group tour, especially school children, to see how the facility operates and learn more about the varieties of fish. Watch for special times when youngsters can fish at the hatchery.

   The best times to view the hatchery in operation are from April through June. They will begin to get eggs in the hatchery during the month of March. A visit to the Senecaville Fish Hatchery would be a great family experience.

Senecaville Fish Hatchery is located on beautiful Seneca Lake in Guernsey County with easy access from I-77 exit 37. Take OH 313 east about six miles and turn right on OH 574. The hatchery is on the right-hand side.

Daniel Caron Captures Meaningful Photos and Explores Kindness

Daniel Caron Captures Meaningful Photos and Explores Kindness

There is always something interesting going on outside in nature.”

Daniel photographer

Daniel enjoys being close to nature in his journey through life.

Daniel Caron’s favorite place for photography is in nature because it’s always available and changes almost every moment. When people ask where he takes his pictures, they are surprised that often Daniel replies, “In my backyard.”

Daniel Falling Transition

Falling Transition

   Not only does Daniel take great pictures, but he also adds meaning to them. Take the simple autumn leaf as it fell to the ground in his backyard with colors ranging from green to red to yellow. To Daniel, this leaf signified transition.

   Nature teaches a lesson to many people who are in transition just like the leaf. The green is a time of growth, while red signifies that robust time of life. Yellow mellows out for their golden years.

Daniel Late Blooming Rose

A late-blooming rose covered with dew

   Obviously, this photographer observes and sees things in nature and people that others don’t see. When he does senior portraits, they capture an extra special side of each individual.

Daniel watching the sunset

Watching the Sunset

   Two people have been a tremendous influence in his life. His dad gave Daniel his love of nature through National Geographic specials the family watched together. His wife taught him more about kindness and caring than anyone else.

Daniel Ancient Art by Fremonts

Ancient Art by Fremonts in Utah at Dinosaur National Monument

   Often he gives talks on photography at various libraries and community functions. At a recent lecture at Crossroads Library, Daniel impressed those in attendance with his skill and photographs. He was willing to give instructions and ideas to improve others’ photos as well.

Daniel Bee

A bee sips sweet nectar

   This award-winning photographer didn’t promote any certain camera for pictures and even acknowledged that the handy cell phone produced some nice pictures. Not only is Daniel a great photographer, but also a great teacher of ways to enhance your photography skills. Be sure to bring your camera or cell phone to his lectures for some hands-on experience.

Daniel painted bunting

Colorful Painted Bunting

   When talking to Daniel about his pictures, it was surprising to discover there was much more than photography on his mind. Previously, he had worked in administration at a West Virginia college where he provided wellness and substance abuse education. He also has been an adjunct faculty member at three West Virginia colleges.

   But then 9/11 happened!

Daniel at Conference

Daniel prepares for annual APCA conference where he found outstanding connections.

   When he saw the caring messages shared that day, he decided to leave the field of education and spread the word about improving people’s daily interactions. Since that time he has worked with thousands of people across the United States, Canada and several foreign countries. He makes it clear that he is not a motivational speaker as he focuses on skill development to help people get along with each other.

   Most people don’t want to be butting heads with traffic, family, and society, but people don’t know what to do about it. That’s what Daniel is trying to teach in his engagements. We all need that kindness and love connection.

Daniel winter purple finch

Purple Finch in Winter

   His talks are made in many different places such as senior centers, correctional facilities, service men and women, colleges and universities. The farthest he has traveled was to South Africa where he worked with children at a school for the deaf showing them that someone cares.

   One of his recent speeches was entitled “How to Play with Difficult People”. It’s all about building a better life and living the way we really want to be. “Few things build community faster than showing people how everyone is connected.”

Daniel with Smokey the Bear at Wayne National Forest

Daniel met Smokey Bear while helping at Wayne National Forest.

   When asked for the first tip to better living, the answer was surprising. “Pay attention to your breathing.” When we are upset our breathing changes. By taking a deep breath and letting go with a sigh, you can feel the body relax.

   Daniel takes his work seriously. “If you knew that kindness and connection benefited everyone, why would you behave any other way?”

DanielNorth American male Cardinal in snow

Northern Cardinal in Snowstorm

   Returning to the original topic of photography, Daniel gave this advice, “Quick and easy doesn’t always work. A photographer takes his time. There are no shortcuts.” Daniel recalls sitting in his backyard early in the morning just waiting for the sun to come up and hit the frost on the trees. The photographs he captures makes the waiting all worthwhile.

Daniel Flower

Life in Full Bloom

   His dream would be to have an assignment from National Geographic as this wanderlust would enjoy visiting every zoo in the world. While he already swam with dolphins, wolves and bears, he’d love to see the penguins and seals in Antarctica before they are gone. There is so much going on in the world that Daniel said, “I don’t want to miss the adventure.”

Daniel Nature Waterfalls

Sounds of Nature

   But Daniel is content wherever he is. He commented that when he grew up in Massachusetts, he would never have believed that someday he would live in Ohio with his wife, two rescue horses, six chickens, four roosters and six cats. His love of nature certainly is evident in everything he does.

   Daniel’s advice for everyone is simply, “Be kind.”

To reach Daniel Caron to engage him for a talk about photography or kindness, call him at 740-314-9198 or email him using: daniel@danielsprograms.com .

Summer Fun at Salt Fork State Park

Salt Fork Picnic by boat ramp

Salt Fork Lake is a great place for a picnic along the water’s edge.

When summer rolls around, everyone has thoughts of outdoor activities. Whether you want to spend the day or a week, Salt Fork State Park, the largest state park in Ohio, holds a wide variety of activities that are sure to please the entire family.

Salt Fork Picnic Shelters

     Many people in the area over the age of fifty will remember when this was farmland with Salt Fork Creek and many small streams running through it. In 1967, the earthen dam was completed and filling of the lake began.

Salt Fork Bicycling

Bicycling is popular at the lake on trails or even on the roads as speed limit keeps traffic moving slowly.

     There are many choices for staying at the 3,000-acre lake for a few days. You can camp, rent a cabin, or stay at the beautiful Salt Fork Lodge. No matter what your choice, you will be surrounded by rolling hills and views of the lake.

Salt Fork Cabin

Cabins along the lake make for a relaxing get-away.

     The campground sites all have electrical hook-ups with a heated shower house close by. A few sites even have water and sewer hook-up as well. However, if you would prefer a cabin along the lake, all are completely furnished with a screened-in porch, and even have kitchen utensils.

Salt Fork Lodge

Salt Fork Lodge provides a great place for meetings or to spend the weekend.

     Some prefer the comfort and convenience of the exquisite, stone Salt Fork Lodge, which is perfect for meetings or vacations. Indoor and outdoor swimming pools provide entertainment no matter the weather. Outside you’ll find a fantastic playground for the youngsters as well as tennis, volleyball, basketball and shuffleboard courts.

Special activities are scheduled throughout the summer months to keep youngsters busy with nature lessons, face painting, crafts, archery and guided hikes. There’s no reason to be bored here!

Salt Fork Golf Course

Golfers enjoy the beautiful 18th hole in the rolling hills of Salt Fork Golf Course.

     Just a half mile down the road from the Lodge is the entrance to their 18 hole championship golf course, which is a challenge in these southeastern Ohio hills. A golf cart is highly recommended! Deer frequent the course and have little fear of golfers playing their game. Rates are very reasonable.

Salt Fork Beach

Their expansive beach has a concession stand, putt-putt golf and Nature Center.

     No lake would be complete without a beach. Here the 2500 foot beach is one of the longest inland beaches in Ohio. When you want to take a break from swimming or playing in the water, take time to head to the concession stand, play miniature golf, or visit their Nature Center in the main bathhouse building.

Salt Fork Sugartree Marina 2

Sugartree Marina is one of two marinas where boats can be left for the season.

     Two marinas, Salt Fork and Sugartree, provide a place to dock your boat for the season. If you prefer to bring your boat with you, there are ten easy access boat ramps. At Sugartree Marina, you can rent kayaks, canoes, wave runners or pontoons. There are so many ways to enjoy a day on the lake.

Salt Fork Fishing

Fishing can be a wonderful time for families to relax together.

     Fishing is a popular item at Salt Fork Lake. It’s a place you see families with their children as they teach them to enjoy being out in nature. Sitting on the bank or going out on a boat both give fishing enjoyment. Fresh fish over a campfire always become a great memory and a tasty meal.


Salt Fork Hosak's Cave

Walk carefully when exploring Hosak’s Cave. Bigfoot has been spotted here.

     Many people enjoy hiking one of their fourteen hiking trails from easy to moderate. One popular trail leads to Hosak’s Cave complete with waterfalls and wildflowers. Bigfoot is said to have been spotted in this area.

Salt Fork Horse Trailer

Many bring their horses to the park to ride the peaceful trails.

     Others actually bring their horses to the park and camp for the weekend so they can ride twenty miles of horse trails. It’s a quiet place to ride through the woods on well-marked trails. Many ride bicycles and motorcycles through the paved roads of the park. It’s quite safe with a maximum speed limit of 35 mph in most places.

Salt Fork Kennedy Stone House - Root Cellar

Explore the historic Kennedy Stone House and root cellar while at the State Park.

     Another longer trail leads to Kennedy Stone House built in 1837. Stones used were quarried from the hills nearby and crafted in a manner that has stood the test of time. Original cost of the home at that time was $600. Recently, a road has been constructed to the house so you can hike, drive, or even arrive by boat.

My Inspiration Point

This overlook near the dam is my Inspiration Point, where many stories are written.

     The view from the dam in Morning Glory Area provides a great place to relax also. This is my Inspiration Point as often stories nearly write themselves while watching the waves hit the shore and seeing the boats bounce over the water.

Salt Fork Sand Castles

Building sand castles at the beach entertains youngsters between swims.

     Salt Fork State Park provides a great place for family vacations as there are so many varied activities to keep all ages busy and happy. If you are lucky enough to live in the area, enjoy a day at the beach or a ride on the lake anytime. Pack a picnic and use one of their many shelters or picnic tables, or spread your blanket on the ground.

     It’s also the perfect place to relax and do absolutely nothing. Visit Salt Fork State Park to enjoy being surrounded by the beauties of nature.

Salt Fork State Park is located about five miles north of Cambridge off US-22. The main entrance is on the left-hand side. Wooden signs throughout will guide you to the place you want to explore.

The Many Artistic Abilities of Michael Warren

Michael Warren

This carving of a Native American from South Dakota came to Michael in a dream.

See the visions! Live your dreams!

Those words are an inspiration to artist, Michael Warren, who is talented in several different areas of art. Most of all, he is known for his outstanding woodcarvings, which feature the nature he enjoys so much. That’s why he calls his business, “Lost in the Woods Art Gallery”, which is located in Cambridge.

Michael Warren deerhunter

Deer hunting lets him be out in nature and perhaps be lucky enough to get meat for dinner.

Michael has been an avid hunter and fisherman since his youth. Right now he’s anxious for deer season so he can use his favorite bow and get some deer steaks and jerky. Wildlife seems to work its way into most of his life and art work.

Michael Warren sketches

Michael’s sketches also center around the wildlife he enjoys so much.

His first grade teacher at Lincoln School noticed his advanced creativity at the age of six, since he could look at something and recreate it even at that young age. Having a great art teacher in high school like Mr. Al Joseph continued his development. That led to studies at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Michael’s thankful for all those who inspired him throughout the years.

Michael Warren SF Festival

His booth at the Salt Fork Festival attracted much attention from the sound of the chain saw.

For the past two years, his work has been featured at the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival, where he has won honors in People’s Choice both years. The first year he had a large carving of a turkey, while this year, a fish won honors.

Michael Warren Fish

A carved fish, when completed, won the People’s Choice honors at the festival.

His carvings tell a story. The fish, for example, has his mouth open as he leaps from the water to catch a dragonfly going by. Unfortunately, the fish didn’t catch the dragonfly, but did catch a ribbon at the festival. The artist actually saw this bass in action at a farm pond in New Concord.

Michael sees something in every log, then puts a little part of himself into the carving. Staying focused with each cut becomes important. Then the sanding and detail work are a must. Much thought and prayer go into his detailed designs.

Michael Warren Caricature

He draws people, as he sees them, in his caricatures.

Carving is only one of his talents. A special attraction to children and the young at heart are his caricatures. Children enjoy watching him while he creates a picture of them…as he sees them. This gypsy is even going to have a caricature done.

At the Soak ‘Em Festival in Caldwell, Michael noticed a three year old boy dressed in cowboy hat and boots watching him draw. When Michael asked him if he would like a picture drawn, the little cowboy said he had no money. That didn’t stop Michael as he made that young lad smile with a cute caricature. Later in the day, the little cowboy ran up to Michael and put a quarter on his knee. They both smiled.

Michael Warren etching

His glass etchings also carry the wildlife theme.

Pencil drawings and glass etchings are also something that Michael does well. Again his love of nature shines forth in them.

Michael Warren mural

This mural by Michael covers a 127 foot wall at Deerassic Park with animal mounts in front.

A large mural measuring 127′ X 54′ can be found at Deerassic Park.When Michael painted this mural he hid scripture throughout. Look carefully the next time you’re out that way and see what you can find. Hint: There’s something in the pond.

Michael Warren Turkey

He has carved several turkeys, a popular item.

Michael is a very quiet soul and like many strong men, doesn’t like to be thought of as having any weakness. However, Michael was born with a heart disease and now has frequent bouts with congestive heart problems. But, he keeps going just a bit slower perhaps than he did a few years ago. No one would ever realize this because of his amazing smile and kind soul.

Often when he is creating, he likes to listen to gospel music. The song “Enough” is one of his favorites.”All I have in You is more than enough.”

Michael Warren feather

Hand-painted turkey feathers take time and patience.

His work is amazing and very detailed. Michael feels that’s because he usually gets a vision of something he should create. It’s a special gift that God has given him and he wants to use it to give people a little joy in their lives. A goal in his mind for the future is to carve a life size replica of Jesus on the cross.

The people the artist has met along the way have been a special blessing to him. Michael feels these three things are the best way to start your day, “Pray. Never give up. Let no one take your joy or love away from the journey God has instilled in your heart.”

Michael Warren at work

This artist stays busy creating new carvings of wildlife and various other objects.

If you would like to learn more about his work, contact Michael at michaelartest1000@gmail.com . Michael thanks God for being with him through all the good and rough times and proudly accepts the title of one of ‘His Artists’.

 


Summer Fun Awaits at Oglebay’s Good Zoo

This red-railed hawk travels as a Good Zoo representative from Raptor Protection.

This red-tailed hawk travels as a Good Zoo representative from their Raptor Protection program.

The Red Panda is a zoo favorite.

The Red Panda is a zoo favorite.

Children and animals have a special bonding so it becomes only natural that children enjoy visiting the zoo. Oglebay’s Good Zoo, a small zoo in Wheeling, West Virginia, gives children opportunity to get some up close and personal contact with many of their animals.The zoo was named in memory of Philip Mayer Good, a seven year old boy who left this world too soon.

 

In 1977, Philip’s parents, Barbara and Larry Good, who managed the family business of L.S. Good in Wheeling, sponsored getting the 30 acres established as a place that all children could enjoy. Thousands of contributions poured in from the community, while school children collected jars of pennies to help the cause.

Originally, the animals at the zoo came from North America, but over the years endangered species have been added to the viewing area. That expanded list now includes: the Red Panda, Grevy’s Zebra, African Wild Dogs, and Tamarin Monkeys.

Today the Good Zoo houses over five hundred animals. A walk down the shaded sidewalk fills a child’s heart and step with wonder. What animal will they see around the next bend?

C.P. Huntington Train Ride

C.P. Huntington Train Ride

While the animals are the most important part of the Good Zoo, a ride on the C.P. Huntington Train takes visitors on a mile and a half ride through the edge of the zoo where many animals can be spotted. Everyone enjoys a ride on the open air train while the toot-toot of the whistle brings cheers from those on board.

Walk with the kangaroos.

Walk with the kangaroos.

Two of the newer exhibits are The Outback and Lorikeet Landing. The Outback contains Kangaroo Creek Mining Company, where you can pan for gemstones and fossils. A “G’Day Mates” sign welcomes you to an enclosed area with a sidewalk, permitting guests to walk within a couple feet of the kangaroos. The aviary section at Lorikeet Landing allows feeding the beautiful Rainbow Lorikeets while walking in their midst.

Take a break at the playground.

Take a break at the playground.

Let the children run off some of their extra energy at the outstanding playground. Here they can climb up ladders into forts, or crawl through tunnels until they’re ready to walk on to the next animal adventure.

Donkeys play with powder and box at the Red Barn.

Donkeys like toys too. Here they play with a box and roll in the powder at the Red Barn.

The Red Barn has always been a favorite spot where friendly domesticated animals reside. Here you might see donkeys, goats, and llamas. Some you can get close enough to pet.

On the grounds, a Veterinary Hospital provides care for all the animals plus those in Raptor Rehabilitation. This program cares for injured animals found in the area. Owls and vultures had broken wings that needed repaired, while a red-tailed hawk became a permanent resident after the loss of one eye.

Find hands on learning at the Discovery Center.

Find hands-on learning at the Discovery Center.

But there’s more inside! The Good Zoo lists conservation and education as their key features. A hands-on Discovery Center lets students observe small animals such as dart frogs, turtles and tamarin monkeys. The Benedum Theater & Planetarium shares a wide variety of programs about nature and the universe.

Engineers ready the O-gauge trains for the summer season.

Operators ready the O-gauge trains for the summer season.

A special section that entertains children and dads is their train display started in 1981. Here you will find West Virginia’s largest public O-gauge model train exhibit with 900′ of track. Detailed buildings located on mountainous terrain combine with Lionel trains to create exciting viewing from every angle.

All through the year, the Good Year has activities which delight youngsters and parents alike. These include fun experiences at an Easter egg hunt, “Boo at the Zoo”, and  “The Good Zoo Lights Up for You” during the Christmas season.

Sounds like the fun continues all year long at the Good Zoo.

Oglebay’s Good Zoo is located just off I-70 near Wheeling, West Virginia. Take Exit 2A and follow Bethany Pike, then make a left on WV-88 North. Signs along the way help greatly with directions.

Life on The Farm at Walnut Creek

View at The Farm at Walnut Creek

View of The Farm at Walnut Creek

Colorful Macaw watches over activities.

Colorful Macaw watches over activities.

Did you ever want something to eat out of the palm of your hand? Visit The Farm at Walnut Creek where many animals rush for the feed in your extended palm..

This beautiful Amish farm, set in the rolling hills of Holmes County, makes a great place to spend the day. Everything here moves at a much slower pace – even farm work. This is definitely a working farm where you can see various chores being done, depending on the season of the year: plowing, thrashing, canning or quilting to name a few.

Tour inside an authentic, non-electric, Amish farmhouse where you might be lucky enough to get a freshly baked cookie. Check out several barns, observe a blacksmith at work in his shop, and admire their beautiful flower gardens. A covered bridge creates a perfect setting for relaxation at a small pond surrounded by plants and flowers.

Luke and mother, Libery in the Giraffe Pen.

Luke and mother, Libery, in the Giraffe Pen.

But children and the young at heart come mainly to feed the farm’s 500 animals from six different continents. While everyone expects to see sheep, goats and cattle, a surprised look crosses their face when a Dromedary camel, giraffe or Grevy zebra appears.

Two options exist for viewing the animals: by car or on a horse-drawn wagon pulled by beautiful Percheron draft horses. Try both for the best experience. By car, feeding seems a little safer since you can gently put up the car window if they try to stick their head inside the car…and they definitely will! Speed limit for cars is 5 mph to protect animals and passengers.

Grevy Zebra and pony

Grevy Zebra and colt

The most fun of the day occurs on the hour-long wagon ride where each person is given a filled feed bucket for the animals. At least three horse-drawn wagons headed out each hour…and this visit happened on a Monday. The driver tells stories about the animals, as the horses trot slowly down the lane.

Stops to watch the zebras and giraffes top the tour. Everyone has to be careful of the zebras as they might bite, so pour their food onto the ground. Mother zebra keeps a close eye on her two-week old colt. The picture of this zebra pair was taken through my windshield on the car tour. They wouldn’t get off the road!

Even though the giraffes are inside a high fence, they easily reach over to eat out of your hand. Here a special treat was mother giraffe, Liberty, and her five-day old calf, Luke.

Big Bad John is always hungry.

Big Bad John is always hungry.

The Farm at Walnut Creek is truly where the deer and the antelope play, along with many other domestic and exotic animals. Feeding Big Bad John, a horned steer, requires caution, due to his long tongue reaching out for feed and his horns swinging from side to side. Everyone from child to adult enjoys feeding the animals and wishes the ride could last a little longer.

Noah's Ark Playground

Noah’s Ark Playground

At the end of this great family outing, spread out a picnic near the lake. A Noah’s Ark playground seems the perfect play area for a day filled with animals. Take the plank up to the top of the ark, then come down one of several slides. Nearby is a sandy volleyball court.

The Farm at Walnut Creek provides fun activities all year long. During the Fall Festival, you might try their famous pumpkin slingshot, or watch the Percherons press sorghum cane stalks into molasses. If you are lucky to have your winter trip fall on a day when the lanes are covered with a couple inches of snow, then you’ll be able to have a horse-drawn sleigh ride. The excitement continues all year long!

The road to The Farm at Walnut Creek is a pleasant drive. Take I-77 to Exit 93, which will be SR 39. Turn left on SR 39 and go approximately 14 miles to a left turn on Co Hwy. 114. Signs are posted so watch carefully.

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