The Good Zoo is offering an exclusive safari to Tanzania, East Africa. The trip will be escorted by Zoo Curator Mindi White, and retired zoo director Penny Miller. The safari runs from November 2 to November 13, 2015, with an optional extension to Zanzibar. “This trip is a treasure trove of wildlife and culture. It’s the “bucket list,” trip of a lifetime for any wildlife lover, birdwatcher or photographer,” White said.
This exclusive safari will cover unforgettable spots including the unique eco-system of Ngorongoro Crater, the vast savannahs of the Serengeti, and the flamingo-lined shores of Lake Manyara. “We will be watching elephant, zebra, wildebeest, impala, giraffe, lions, black rhinos, cheetah, hyena, jackal, and warthog, along with over 100 species of birds, ans searching for the elusive leopard,” White said. “Some of these species are highly endangered and disappearing at an alarming rate,” she added. The trip will also include a visit to Olduvai Gorge where the roots of modern man were unearthed by the Leakeys, plus a visit to a Maasai village.
“Hands down, this safari destination and itinerary is my favorite of all we have offered,” said Miller, who had been to Africa 10 times. She has led previous zoo safaris to Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, and recently returned from a wildlife-themed tour of Cuba. “Our naturalist guide Robert Marks Moshi was born a Massai, and has been our guide on our other Tanzania trips. Our travelers just love him; he is an expert on the wildlife and the Massai culture and his stories add a whole new dimension to the safari.” Miller added that this safari is unusual in that there will be three seasoned zoo professionals on the trip, and one of the zoo’s adult volunteers, a retired college professor who has led his own trips to Africa.
An informative meeting will be held at the Good Zoo on Sunday, June 7 at 1:30 p.m. The meeting will include photographs of past trips, discussion of the itinerary, packing tips and provide answers to all questions. For reservations or more information visit www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo or contact Mindi White at 304-243-4029, or Penny Miller at 304-238-3215.
To help raise awareness of the work the Good Zoo is doing to save animals from extinction and to highlight the public’s role in saving species, members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which includes the Good Zoo, are coming together in a variety of ways to help the public consider what it would be like to not be able to see, learn from or connect with these incredible animals again.
On Friday, May 15, 2015, the 10th Anniversary of Endangered Species Day, several of the Good Zoo’s endangered species will be highlighted including a special presentation on the future of the Spectacled Bear.
Stan Myers, an adult volunteer at the Good Zoo, will be at the Spectacled Bear and Otter Exhibit beginning at 10:00 a.m. “Throughout the day Stan will be explaining the status of Spectacled Bears in the world today and how they are on the brink of extinction,” said Mindi White, Curator of Animals for the Good Zoo.
Black and green ribbons will be placed on various exhibits at the zoo. “The black will signify endangered/threatened/species of concern and the green ribbons will signify some type of ‘success’’, said White.
“Our success stories include our African wild dog pups, our Golden Lion Tamarin babies and our raptor rehab,” White explained. “We will have a small graphic to go along with each ribbon with facts and information. The ribbons will remain up through the weekend.
The zoo will also feature a Grevy’s Zebra video in the lobby to explain the plight of this species.
May 15 also marks the national launch of AZA SAFE: Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE), said White. Through SAFE, for the first time, the entire AZA-accredited zoo and aquarium community will focus their conservation science, wildlife expertise, and 180 million annual visitors on saving species in the wild. In 2015, SAFE will focus on 10 species, to be announced.
This new collaboration builds on the existing conservation efforts by the 229 AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums. SAFE harnesses the collective power and infrastructure, along with additional funding and resources, to target specific endangered species and save them from extinction by restoring healthy populations in the wild. Through SAFE, AZA and its members will convene scientists and global stakeholders to identify factors threatening species, develop Conservation Action Plans, collect new resources and engage the public.
The Good Zoo is currently open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is $8.95 for adults and $5.75 for ages 3 through 12. Children ages 2 and under and members are admitted free. For more information call the Good Zoo office at 304-243-4030 or visit www.oglebay-resort.com/GoodZoo and join the online SAFE conversation via #savingspecies.
About AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction
AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction combines the power of zoo & aquarium visitors with the resources and collective expertise of zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and partners to save animals from extinction. Together we are working on saving the most vulnerable wildlife species from extinction and protecting them for future generations. To learn more, visit AZAsavingspecies.org.
Martin Galloway, Executive Chef at Oglebay, was recently certified by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
Brian Burkley, Director of Food & Beverage, said that certification through the American Culinary Federation demonstrates skill, knowledge and professionalism. “Certification is not only a benchmark for personal and professional achievement but it has also become recognized as a standard of excellence in the industry,” Burkley said. “We are very proud of Martin.”
Galloway said the certification process began last year. “Once my initial application was reviewed and approved it was on to a written exam, given at an ACF approved site, in October.” The exam included 100 questions on culinary terms, techniques, cuisine and sanitation. Galloway said that certification also includes a practical exam.
“The practical exam was a preparation of a three course meal for four, and took more than three hours to complete,” said Galloway. The practical exam includes a market basket with the foods required to use and three ACF accredited Judges monitor and question techniques, menu and execution from start to finish.
“The first course was serving and cooking lobster and salmon, the second course was salad and vinaigrette emulsification, and, the third and final course was entrée with protein, starch, and vegetable,” said Galloway. “The whole process was critiqued and graded for each individual section.
“If you manage to pass the written and practical exam, you must submit all documentation for final review to the ACF and patiently wait to receive a mailed certificate of acceptance. Once you are registered into the ACF database, you officially have the title as an ACF Certified Executive Chef (CEC)” said Galloway.
In order to even have this opportunity in becoming a CEC, Galloway had to accumulate over 150 hours of continuing education after receiving his high school diploma with additional courses on nutrition, food safety and sanitation, and supervisory management. Galloway also was required to work a minimum of three years as a Chef de Cuisine, Executive Sous Chef, or a chef in charge of food production, while furthermore supervising people in the preparation of food. These all around requirements are what make CEC such an extinguished title. Customers can feel safe knowing that their food is being handled by people who know what they are doing. Galloway’s training prepared him to deal with food allergies and ensure no cross contamination will occur, which can give a sense of relief to guests who struggle to put trust in others handling their food.
Receiving this certificate was not required through Oglebay, but through Galloway’s own sense of accomplishment. “I did not go to culinary school. I needed some other way of pushing myself to show that I can do it.” Receiving this ACF honor was a very large advancement for Galloway’s personal growth.
What is in store for Galloway’s future? His goal is to continue working hard at Oglebay Resort while having the opportunity to introduce a new up and coming revised menu. There will be exclusive dining events being hosted this approaching summer, and Oglebay’s Certified Executive Chef will play a large part in making Oglebay Resort a destination eating spot.
Beginners and advanced players, both juniors and adults, as well as those who have never played tennis before, are invited to Oglebay on Saturday, May 2, 2015, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to participate in Tennis Across America.
“The annual Tennis Across America event is sponsored by the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) and is a perfect way to kick start getting fit and learning a new sport,” said Jeremy McClelland, Director of Tennis for the Wheeling Park Commission. “Tennis is a fitness activity for the entire family. Tennis Across America is a free event and racquets will be provided for use during the event to those who do not have them.”
The beginner adult and junior clinics will introduce basic components of the game: grip, forehand, backhand, volley, overhead, and serve. While beginners are assisted in getting started with the sport, experienced players will be on other courts playing points.
McClelland added that pizza and prizes will also be a part of Tennis Across America.
Additional tennis events planned for this summer include two, four-week tennis camps designed for elementary and middle school ages of all skill levels. The first session is the weeks of June 9, 16, 23 and 30, and the second session is the weeks of July 7, 14, 21 and 28.
Other junior tennis classes are scheduled including: Dynamic Dirtballers for high school ages, Wild Cards for ages 11 to 13, Grinding Gladiators for ages 8 to 11 and Mini-Breakers for ages 4-7.
Adult tennis programs are also offered including Ladies and Men’s Night every Monday.
Tennis tournaments scheduled at Oglebay this summer include the Jack Dorsey Memorial Senior Tennis Tournament June 11-14, the Oglebay Junior Classic June 19-21 and the West Virginia Open Tennis Tournament July 30-August 2.
For information on all tennis programs contact the Oglebay Tennis Center at 304-243-4040 or visit the Oglebay website at www.oglebay-resort.com/tennis/facilities.htm
The Good Zoo staff recently announced the birth of twin golden lion tamarin monkeys on February 17, 2015. “The entire family is on exhibit in the zoo’s Main Building and include father Rio, mother Carmen, two-year-old twins Vasco and Tupi, one-year-old old twins Candido and Godoi, and the two newest additions” said Mindi White, Curator of Animals.
Golden lion tamarins are endangered primates from South America that typically live in small groups. “All members of the group help care for the infants and take turns carrying them,” said White. “Since the twins can weigh up to 20% of the mother’s weight it helps her tremendously to have help from the rest of the group. Younger animals also benefit from the experience when it comes time to raise their own offspring.”
The Good Zoo tamarins are part of a cooperative global breeding program among zoos across the U.S. “The wild population in Brazil has been severely impacted by deforestation with less than 5% of suitable habitat remaining. Golden lion tamarins are classified as extremely endangered; scientists estimate a wild population of only 1,500 tamarins left in the wild,” said White. Tamarins born in U.S. zoos have successfully been released in the wild for restocking efforts.
“The zoo staff received a breeding recommendation in 2013 from the Golden Lion Tamarin Species Survival Plan and has worked hard with zoo colleagues around the country to develop the optimum conditions to breed this rare species at the Good Zoo,” added White.
The Good Zoo is currently open Saturday and Sunday only, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and admission is $8.95 for adults, $5.75 for ages 3-12, and free to members and ages 2 and under. Lorikeet Landing will open March 14, weather permitting, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday Sunday. The zoo will be open daily beginning April 1.
The 4th Annual Capture the Wild Photography Contest started March 1. “Nature photography is a wonderful way for kids and adults to appreciate nature in all of it strange and beautiful forms,” said White. Entries are due by August 1, 2015.
For more information on all activities at the zoo call the zoo office at 304-243-4100 or visit http://www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo/index.htm.
The Oglebay Good Zoo is presenting a free “Wildlife Adventure Travel Program” open to the public, on Saturday, March 7, 2015, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Good Zoo. The program will preview a unique, zoo-sponsored African safari to Tanzania, East Africa in November of 2015. The program features a detailed presentation about the trip, which are led by professional wildlife guides and accompanied by Good Zoo staff hosts.
The trip will focus on exploration of exceptional wildlife, plant life and ecosystems. Beautiful photographs from Tanzania will be shown by Penny Miller, an experienced African traveler and zoo host.
“This is truly a trip of a lifetime,” said Mindi White, Curator of Animals for the Good Zoo. “We love taking people to remote corners of the world to view wildlife up close, and to interact with local people. This trip is both a nature and cultural experience, and a photographer’s paradise.”
The travel presentation will discuss costs, itineraries, packing tips, and will include light refreshments and a question and answer time.
“You will get to speak with people who have traveled on these trips in the past, so even if you are just mildly curious, please come to the presentation,” White added. “The trip is filling up fast, so please come and join our program!”
The Good Zoo requests an RSVP to White at 304-243-4029 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Trip details can also be found on the zoo’s website.
When the 30th anniversary of the Winter Festival of Lights begins on November 13, 2015, there will be a new display on Schenk Lake featuring Penguins. “This year there were two Penguin light display ideas submitted for the New Idea Contest so we decided to have two winners,” said Andy Barger, Director of Planning for the Wheeling Park Commission and Chairman of the Oglebay Festival of Lights Committee.
Logan Prince from Wheeling, and Victoria Grunenwald from Marysville, Oh, will both receive a $50 Oglebay gift card and a one-year family membership to the Good Zoo as winners of the contest.
“We are looking forward to adding the Penguin display to the Festival of Lights and we thank everyone that participated in the contest,” added Barger. “
The top ten entries will be displayed at Wilson Lodge through March 15, 2015 and all entries receive one free admission to the Good Zoo.
Penny Miller, Director of the Good Zoo at Oglebay, is set to retire on January 17, 2015. Miller has been director of the Good Zoo since 1994. She began her zoo career at the Pittsburgh Zoo Society in 1971, and in 1974 she moved to Oglebay to assist with construction of the new Good Zoo. As general curator for 15 years, Miller managed the animal collection and keeper staff, and the education department. Under Miller’s guidance the Good Zoo moved from a collection of common North American species to a concentration of breeding rare and endangered species from around the world. “The Good Zoo curators have produced more than 20 endangered red wolves pups; Grevy’s zebra, African Wild dogs, hundreds of hellbender salamanders, tamarin monkeys, and other rare and endangered species,” said Miller.
The Good Zoo was named in memory of Phillip Mayer Good, through the support of thousands of community residents and the Laurence Good Family of Wheeling. It is West Virginia’s only AZA accredited zoo.
“Conservation and education have always been keystones of Good Zoo mission,” said Miller “I believe the Good Zoo is a crucial community asset that connects children and adults to wildlife through interactive, changing animal exhibits, creative education programs for preschoolers through adults, and adventurous international wildlife travel.”
Miller has led Good Zoo trips to the Galapagos, several Eastern and Southern countries in Africa, and will be on the zoo’s November 2105 African safari to Tanzania. Miller also plans to continue teaching Master Naturalist classes including one in February. The Master Naturalist curriculum was developed by the West Virginia Division of Wildlife to develop citizen scientists and naturalists across the state, and classes are held throughout the year at the Good Zoo.
John Hargleroad, Director of Operations, said Miller’s contributions to the zoo are beyond measure. “How do you measure the many ways she changed the lives of guests, staff, interns and docents? Under her leadership a little zoo in Wheeling, West Virginia is helping to save over 20 endangered species and at the same time helping the public better understand and appreciate the diversity and importance of each species life,” said Hargleroad.
“Penny also spearheaded many creative and entertaining events including the Good Zoo Lights Up for You and Farm Days that have grown to become the Winter Festival of Lights, and also the Ohio County Country Fair,” Hargleroad continued. “It’s impossible to know many lives have been touched by those events.”
“While she will be missed by many, I suspect I will miss her the most,” added Hargleroad.
One of America’s largest holiday light shows, the Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay in Wheeling, West Virginia, will begin November 14, 2014 and continue through January 4, 2015. This holiday tradition began in 1985 with just five light displays and landscape lighting covering about 125 acres over a three-mile drive throughout the resort. Since then, the show has grown into one of the nation’s largest light shows, covering more than three hundred acres over a six-mile drive throughout the resort. Eighty larger-than-life light displays are now part of this glowing show including the new Rainbow Tunnel.
Every year new displays are added and the placement of the existing displays change to keep the show fresh. “We are very excited about this year’s new addition, the Rainbow Tunnel,” said Caren Knoyer, marketing director. “We currently have two light tunnels and they are both very popular.” The new tunnel is 100 feet long with multi-colored lights. “Thirty arches will span the road leading down to the lake area,” said Knoyer. “We are certain this tunnel will be a big hit.”
Favorites from previous years include the festival’s tallest display, “Poinsettia Wreath and Candles” which stands close to sixty feet tall and spans fifty feet in diameter. Other display favorites include the “Ferris Wheel”, “The Carousel” and the extravagant “Cinderella Display.”
Six years ago, the Winter Festival of Lights entered a new “green” era with the commitment to use energy-efficient LED lights in all new displays and to begin converting all existing displays to LED.
LED lights use 85% less energy than traditional bulbs and last five times longer. “We want to ensure that the Winter Festival of Lights will be glowing for many more years!” said Knoyer. “For example, the animated Rocking Horse Display was first added to the Festival of Lights in 1992, using 85 amps of electricity with traditional light bulbs. Now that the display has been updated with vibrant LED lights and it uses just 12 amps of electricity.”
The popular Light and Music Extravaganza returns to the Good Zoo and has been updated this year with new music and choreography. The Light and Music Extravaganza takes place nightly on the zoo patio with more than 35,500 LED lights. The zoo at Oglebay will also have their annual holiday model train display at the state’s largest O-Gauge Model Train Exhibit and holiday laser shows at the zoo’s Benedum Theater. Admission to the zoo is $9.00 for adults and $5.75 for children ages 3-12, and this admission includes the Light and Music Extravaganza on the zoo’s patio.
The Gardens of Light is located in the Oglebay hilltop and gardens area, and features 150 hanging baskets of light plus thousands of lighted flowers, trees and shrubs, combined with distinctive holiday music. Knoyer said that the best way to enjoy the Gardens of Light is to take a stroll along the brick path that leads from Carriage House Glass to the Mansion Museum.
Carriage House Glass, the first stop on the Gardens of Light tour, features a large selection of decorative glass and other collectibles. Carriage House Glass is also home to the sparkling Oglebay Institute Glass Museum featuring an extensive collection of West Virginia glass and glassblowing demonstrations. The Gardens of Light continues next door to the Visitors’ Center and the Farmhouse Sweets and Treats Shoppe. “This shop features a very large selection of chocolates, plus other candy and regionally produced food products,” said Knoyer. “Custom gift baskets are also available at Farmhouse Sweets and Treats.” Just outside the Visitors’ Center lies the magical Christmas Tree Garden. Introduced in 2003, the Christmas Tree Garden consists of 30 live trees decorated with various colored lights. Situated in the center of the Christmas Tree Garden is the Nativity Display. The life-size Nativity was designed and created by a local artist, and has been a much-loved display at the Winter Festival of Lights since 1985.
The red brick walking path leads from the Christmas Tree Garden to the Greenhouse, Palm Room and Garden Center Gift Shop, where visitors can find live holiday flowers, garden gifts and silk floral arrangements. The final stop on the Gardens of Light tour is the Mansion Museum. The Mansion is the former summer home of the Oglebay family and is elegantly decorated for the holidays.
The 270-room Wilson Lodge at Oglebay offers special overnight packages during the Winter Festival of Lights. Many changes have taken place at the lodge over the years but it is still the centerpiece of Oglebay. It is festively decorated, inside and out, and bustles with activity including children’s events, delicious holiday dining, cordial gatherings and live musical entertainment.
There is plenty to do and see at Oglebay while waiting for the lights to come on. The Ihlenfeld Dining Room at Wilson Lodge offers a popular holiday buffet nightly and the family-friendly Glass Works Grill at the lodge is open daily for lunch and dinner. The Winter Festival of Lights is also a special time at all of the Oglebay specialty shops. In addition to the Carriage House Glass, Farmhouse Sweets & Treats, Palm Room and Garden Center shops in the Gardens of Light area, the Resort Shop and West Spa Boutique at Wilson Lodge, Nature Express at the Good Zoo, and the Christmas Shop at the Speidel Golf Club are all fully stocked for the holiday season. The Christmas Shop is open only during the Festival of Lights and offers a large selection of one-of-a-kind decorations, ornaments and holiday collectibles. Gift cards are available at all shops, at the Visitors Center and online at Oglebay’s website.
The Winter Festival of Lights is will continue nightly through January 4, 2015 and is viewable Sunday through Thursday until 10:00 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday until 11:00 p.m. There is no admission to the Festival but a per car donation of $20 is suggested and is valid for the entire festival season. Visitors making a $25.00 donation will receive a DVD of the Festival of Lights and Oglebay story.
Knoyer said that visitors who prefer a guided, narrated tour through the light show, will enjoy one of the trolley tours that are offered several times each night beginning at Wilson Lodge. “There is also a free mobile app for iPhones and iPads available in the Apple App Store,” added Knoyer. “The app has detailed information about each display and also includes photos, maps, and audio and video about the Festival of Lights.”
The Winter Festival of Lights was listed as one of the 10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the US according to AOL Travel and has been featured on the Travel Channel’s “Most Extreme Christmas Celebrations.” The show is also listed on the American Bus Association’s Top International Events, was named as a top 100 event by Eventcrazy.com and was recently listed as one of the top 200 events in the country by Discover America.
Boo at the Zoo, an annual fundraiser at the Oglebay Good Zoo, is three weekends: October 10 through 12, October 17 through 19 and October 24 through 26, and online tickets are now available for the popular event.
“Save time and money by purchasing your tickets online in advance of the event,” said Penny Miller, director of the Good Zoo. “Online tickets will also be the fastest way to enter Boo at the Zoo.”
Miller added that no advance tickets will be sold at the Good Zoo. “Advance tickets will only be available online at our website: www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo.”
Miller also said that Sunday nights typically have the shortest wait time to get in the door and that visitors don’t need to bring treat bags or containers as the zoo staff will only put candy in the treat bags provided at the zoo.
Prices for Boo at the Zoo are $6.25 for advance online tickets. Good Zoo members advance online tickets are $5.30. Both advance ticket prices are plus tax and handling fees. All tickets sold at the gate are $9.00 plus tax, and there is no member discount or any other discounts at the gate. The Spooky Special Halloween-themed train ride is $2.50 per ride. No advance sale tickets are available for the train ride.
Boo at the Zoo hours are 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday nights and 4:00 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday nights.
“Put on your costume and join us for our annual Boo at the Zoo celebration!” said Miller. “The event is the zoo’s largest and most important fundraiser to support the day to day operations of the Good Zoo, and a great opportunity to dress up and visit the zoo after dark! And remember, the Dinosaurs will be here so this year’s Boo at the Zoo will be extra special!” added Miller.