Any area residents interested in learning more about birds, trees, wildflower identification, and all manner of other nature topics can sign up now for Master Naturalist classes beginning Saturday, February 23 at the Good Zoo. An introductory class Names and Identification taught by zoo director Penny Miller will teach students how to use field guides, internet resources, keys, and other resources to identify plants and animals seen in nature, taught from 9 am – noon. Popular bird expert Dr Scott Shalaway teaches Birds from 1 pm -5 pm the same day. The four hour class discusses bird biology, identification and back-yard feeding . Other spring classes include Turtles in Trouble-Conservation of the Box Turtle; Wildfowers, Trees, Citizen Science Investigators, and Nature Interpretation.
Students can pick and choose classes at their own pace and may take up to three years to complete the program, but it is possible to finish in one year. Classes cost just $6 per hour of instruction. Classes are held at the zoo on Saturdays and Sundays and often involve walks in the woods and occasional field trips to a farm pasture, wetlands or streams. The curriculum was developed by the West Virginia Division of Wildlife to develop citizen scientists and naturalists across the state.
There are 14 required classes such as Mammals; Trees; Wildflowers; Backyard Habitat Improvement, Insects, and 10 others, and a variety of electives to choose from including Box turtles; Medicinal Plants; Nature Photography; Spiders; Invasive Species; Mushrooms; Astronomy and many more. Instructors include Good Zoo staff, West Virginia Division of Wildlife biologists and area college professors. Students are all nature lovers and represent a wide range of ages and backgrounds from college students, teachers, scout leaders, farmers, fisherman, to retired folks and nature photographers.
“Anyone of any age or background fits into the group, you just have to be a nature lover,” said Vickie Markey-Tekely, the zoo’s curator of education.
Student Daniel Caron said, “The program is a fun and interesting way to learn about nature. I enjoy the program’s interactive, hands-on format. The classes teach me to see something different every time I step outside. This has helped me when working in my own backyard and everywhere I travel.”
“This is our 10th year, and many of our students participate in several backyard bird projects, put up bluebird boxes, survey and report frog calls, raise and tag monarch butterflies, and improve their garden and property to attract wildlife,” said Penny Miller, zoo director. Others like to help out at state or zoo wildlife events, or pass on their knowledge to children. “I enjoy teaching my grandkids and neighbors about the monarch butterflies I rear and tag,” said certified Master Naturalist Carol Saseen.
For dates, times, and an application please visit the Master Naturalist section at www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo or call Vickie Markey-Tekely at 304-243-4033 or Penny Miller at 304-243-4027.
Madison Zoladz, a 12-year-old from Wheeling, will have her light display idea come to life for the 2013-14 Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay. Her design was selected from over 95 entries in this year’s Festival of Lights New Idea Contest. “We are looking forward to adding Madison’s design of a Christmas Tree Farm to the Festival of Lights,” said Andy Barger, Director of Planning for the Wheeling Park Commission and Chairman of the Oglebay Festival of Lights Committee. “It was a very difficult decision. All the designs were wonderful and we were so pleased to have such a great response.” In addition to having her design come to life, Zoladz received a $50.00 Oglebay Gift Card and a one-year family membership to the Good Zoo.
Charlize George, also of Wheeling, was the winner of the ages 10 and under category with her entry of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge during the Fourth of July Fireworks. Michelle Orcutt of Logan, West Virginia, won in the adult category with her entry of Santa on Vacation in the Tropics. Both of these winners received a $25 gift card and a one-year individual membership to the Good Zoo.
The designs were reviewed by members of Oglebay’s Festival of Lights Committee and the entries were judged on creativity, colors, originality, appeal to a broad audience, and how well the design would convert to a light display. The top ten designs will be hanging at Wilson Lodge until March 17. “We want to thank everyone that participated in the contest,” added Barger.
“Volunteer at the WILDEST place in town!” said Vickie Markey-Tekely, Curator of Education at the Good Zoo. “We are currently looking for teen and adult volunteers at the zoo.”
Volunteers assist with summer camps, birthday parties, sleepovers and other education programs. Volunteers also share what they learn about wildlife by talking with visitors at zoo exhibits and even use live animals and artifacts to educate others.
Teen volunteers must be in the 7th grade or above. Applications are available on the Oglebay website or call the zoo education office at 304-243-4068. The Teen Volunteer Application deadline is Monday, January 7, 2013.
Adult volunteer training is held periodically throughout the year. To receive an application or more information for the adult volunteer program, call 304-243-4033 or e-mail email@example.com.
In 2004 new displays at the Winter Festival of Lights included two special designs by area fourth grade students: “Christmas Kittens” and “Playful Pup”. These displays were the winners of a Festival of Lights New Idea Contest that invited school children to submit ideas for new light displays. We received over 90 entries for new ideas! The “Lighthouse” display was the winner of the next New Idea Contest and was introduced to the show in 2006. It was created by a local sixth grade student.
We are having another contest so if you have a great idea enter our Festival of Lights New Idea Contest and your idea could come to life at the 2013-14 Winter Festival of Lights! All artwork should be 22″x 14″ on standard poster board. (This is one-half of a sheet of poster board). Every entry must have name, age, address, phone number and email printed on the back of the poster. Do not use copyright characters such as Sponge Bob, Cookie Monster, etc. Artwork can be in color or black and white and animation can be included. You can include a written description of your idea but do not use words in your actual display.
Artwork should be delivered to the Good Zoo office by January 6, 2013, between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm. The winner will be announced by January 31, 2013. Grand Prize: $50 Oglebay Gift Card, a one-year family membership to the Good Zoo and their idea created into a light display for the 2013-14 Winter Festival of Lights. Prizes will also be awarded to the top entry for ages 10 & under, ages 11-18, and over 18. Everyone that enters will receive one free admission to the Good Zoo in 2013. The top ten entries will be displayed at Wilson Lodge from February 1 to March 17, 2013. All creative concepts become the property of the Wheeling Park Commission.
Visit our You Tube page for a glimpse of this year’s all-new Light & Music Extravaganza!
Animation at the Winter Festival of Lights was taken to a new level with the addition of the Light and Music Extravaganza at the Good Zoo in 2006. Designed by noted lighting animation engineer Carson Williams, this dazzling show was the first display at the Festival of Lights to be created entirely of LED lights. The success of this show prompted Oglebay to commit to use LED lights on all new displays and to begin converting the existing displays from traditional lights to LED. LEDs are much more environmentally friendly than traditional lights as they use 85% less energy and last five times longer.
The popular Light and Music Extravaganza has been totally reworked this year and is better than ever with new music, new choreography and more lights. The Extravaganza takes place nightly on the zoo patio, featuring more than 35,500 LED lights choreographed to exciting holiday music.
The zoo at Oglebay also has 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 $8.00 for adults and $5.50 for children ages 3-12, and this admission includes the Light and Music Extravaganza on the zoo’s patio.
The Winter Festival of Lights is viewable Sunday through Thursday until 10:00 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday until 11:00 p.m. A per car donation is requested and is valid for the entire festival season. Visitors making a $20.00 donation will receive a DVD of the Festival of Lights and Oglebay story. Trolley tours are offered several times each night beginning at Wilson Lodge.
The popular “Deer Hunters Widows Weekend” returns to the Oglebay Palm Room. On November 22, 23, 24 and 25 all “widows” of hunting season are invited to the Palm Room to “hunt” for the perfect Christmas gift. “Customers can even save a few bucks by selecting a discount coupon out of the decorative deer!” said Marilyn Archer, Garden and Greenhouse Manager.
The Palm Room is full of ornaments for the holidays, unique plants, live mixed green wreaths, gardening gifts, solar and electric lights, plus 21 varieties of poinsettias ranging in pot size from 2 3/8” to 10”. Traditional red, white and pink, plus Winter Rose and novelty glitter poinsettias, are available this year. “The plants make festive gifts dressed up with decorative pot covers and bows,” added Archer.
The Palm Room is open on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Friday, November 23 and Saturday, November 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; and on Sunday, November 25 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Greenhouse personnel will be on hand to answer plant and gardening questions. For more information, call the Oglebay Greenhouse and Gardens at 304-243-4098.
This weekend is a great time to visit all of the Shops of Oglebay including the Christmas Shop at the Speidel Golf Club. 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. Gift cards can also be ordered by calling 800-624-6988, ext. 4010.
November 9th marked the beginning of the 27th year for the Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay. 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. Seventy eight larger-than-life light displays are now part of this glowing show.
Four 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. “We are proud to announce that all the displays at the Festival of Lights are now LED!” said Caren Knoyer, Marketing Director for Oglebay. “We expected the conversion to take five years so we are actually ahead of schedule.” LED lights use 85% less energy than traditional bulbs and last five times longer, ensuring that the Winter Festival of Lights will be glowing for another 27 years.
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 new Farmhouse Sweets and Treats Shoppe. 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 Winter Festival of Lights is one of America’s largest holiday light shows. It will continue through January 6, 2013.
Oglebay is proud to announce that all the displays at this year’s Winter Festival of Lights, which begins next week on November 9, will be using energy-efficient LED lights. Four years ago the Winter Festival of Lights entered a new “green” era with the commitment to use LED lights in all new displays and to begin converting all existing displays to LED. “We expected the conversion to take five years so we are actually ahead of schedule,” said Caren Knoyer, Marketing Director for Oglebay. LED lights use 85% less energy than traditional bulbs and last five times longer.
The use of LEDs at the Festival of Lights is just one of the many green initiatives that Oglebay has implemented in the past few years. “Oglebay has 1,700 acres of year-round recreational opportunities and picturesque natural beauty, and the resort is committed to preserving and sustaining this natural beauty for generations to come,” added Knoyer.
A committee of key personnel at Oglebay meets regularly to research and discuss new ways to reduce the resort’s environmental footprint and oversees long and short-term stewardship programs.
Penny Miller, director of the Good Zoo at Oglebay said more than 4,600 pounds of electronic items were collected at the Green Halloween Recycle Day held at the zoo on October 13. “Visitors were invited to bring in unwanted electronics free of change for recycling,” said Miller. “Electronics Recycling Services of Ohio collected the discarded PC’s, workstations, servers, laptops, printers, VCR players, cameras and other electronics, and therefore kept all these items out of the waste stream.”
The golf department at Oglebay recycled 2,400 pesticide containers last week. Nick Janovich, Superintendent of the Jones Course at Oglebay’s Speidel Golf Club said a company from Texas comes in at the end of every golf season with a tractor trailer and grinds the material here on site. “This keeps the plastic container and any residual chemical out of the landfill,” said Janovich. “Our containers were ground here on site and are destined to be the plastic blocks that are used between roadside guardrails and the posts that they are attached to. The recycled plastic absorbs impact better than the treated lumber that is traditionally used and is also a great use for pesticide-contaminated plastics.”
Janovich added that this Texas company specializes in the recycling of pesticide containers. “I call other courses in the area and they bring their containers, too,” said Janovich. “We’ve seen great participation from other golf courses. The West Virginia Department of Agriculture got us involved in the program a few years ago and it is free in exchange for the recycled material.” The material from the pesticide containers has been recycled as drainage pipe in the past but this time it was headed to be made into plastic blocks for guardrail posts.
For a complete list of our green efforts please visit www.oglebay-resort.com/green_flyer.pdf.
Boo at the Zoo, an annual fundraiser at the Oglebay Good Zoo in Wheeling, will be October 12 through 14, October 19 through 21 and October 26 through 28. The event is 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. each night but the doors will open at 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays.
“Put on your costume and join us for our 2012 annual Boo at the Zoo celebration!” said Penny Miller, director of the Good Zoo. All participants receive bags at the door and collect treats at nine stations scattered throughout the zoo. The zoo is again offering their popular advance tickets sales at a reduced rate. Advance tickets are $1.00 off the regular price and can be purchased at the zoo office daily from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
“New this year is the Costume Swap on Saturday, October 13,” added Miller. “Drop off a used, clean, complete costume at the Good Zoo admission gate now through October 13 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and get a ticket to choose a different costume at the swap.” The Swap runs from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on October 13 and zoo admission fees will apply to non zoo members to attend the Swap.
Saturday, October 13 will also be Green Halloween Recycle Day at the Zoo. From 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. old computers, monitors and other electronics will be collected by Electronics Recycling Services in the upper parking lot of the Good Zoo. “Bring in your unwanted electronics free of charge for recycling,” said Miller. Visit the Good Zoo website or call 304-243-4030 for a complete list of electronics that will be accepted at Green Halloween Recycle Day.
Also new this year is the Pumpkin Carving Contest. “The first 100 carved pumpkins entered in the contest can be swapped for an uncarved pumpkin that you can then carve for your own family,” said Miller. Two pumpkin carving competitions will be held and entries can be dropped off at the Good Zoo admission gate from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily from October 5 through 17. Entries received by October 10 will be eligible for both contests and entries received after October 10 will be eligible for the second contest only. Judging for the first contest will be October 11 and the second contest will be judged on October 18. There will be two age categories: age 14‐adult; and youth; 13 and under. Prizes will include Oglebay gift cards, Good Zoo membership and Animal Encounters.
For complete rules for the Costume Swap and the Pumpkin Carving Contest visit the zoo website or call 304-243-4030.
Admission to Boo at the Zoo is $6.50 for non-members and $5.25 for members. Boo at the Zoo also features a Spooky Train Ride for $2.00 and tickets for the train ride are available at the zoo’s train station.
A special overnight package is available at Wilson Lodge at Oglebay for Boo at the Zoo. The package is $199 and includes one night lodging in a traditional room for two adults and two children, admission to Boo at the Zoo, costume party for the kids, a pizza and soda, plus all the lodge amenities including the indoor pool, fitness center and Jacuzzi. For overnight lodging details call 800-624-6988.
The area’s premier fall festival, Oglebayfest, begins on Friday, October 5 and continues through Sunday, October 7, 2012 at Oglebay. “Oglebayfest began in 1978 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Oglebay and provides an annual ‘thank-you’ to all who visit us year-round,” said John Hargleroad, Director of Operations for the Wheeling Park Commission.
The Health Plan will again be joining in the festivities at this year’s Oglebayfest with fun and educational activities for health and wellness at the Good Zoo on Saturday October 6 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Admission to the Good Zoo will be free on Saturday at this year’s Oglebayfest and free wristbands will be provided to all those coming to the zoo that day. “Not only can you see more than 50 species of animals, you receive a free wristband and can enjoy fun and wellness activities provided by The Health Plan,” said Hargleroad. The Health Plan will present: Block the Sun, Not the Fun, Asthma, Germ City Handwashing, Who’s a Bully, Jump for Fun, Driving Under the Influence, Healthy Snack and Fire Safety.
“Fire Safety will be presented in cooperation with the Wheeling Fire Department so come meet local firefighters and practice getting out of a smoke-filled house,” added Hargleroad.
The free wristbands will provide all day use on Saturday of Par III Golf, Miniature Golf, Pedal Boats, Fishing, Tennis, Glass Museum & Craftsman Center, Trolley, Mansion Museum and Environmental Education Center.
The Phil Maxwell Artists’ and Gourmet Markets will be located in the Mansion Woods next to the Mansion Museum. The markets have been named for Phil Maxwell who served as Craft Specialist for Oglebay Institute from 1935 until his retirement in 1986. Maxwell continues to be active and supportive of all the Institute’s programs. He is past president of the West Virginia Art and Craft Guild and was inducted into the Art and Craft Hall of Fame in 1996. Maxwell organized the first arts and craft show for Oglebayfest and has provided scholarships for two “up and coming” artists and craftsman at the Oglebayfest markets. The Phil Maxwell Artists’ and Gourmet Markets offer a view of the tri-state’s best artisans at work plus an extensive selection of local and regional foods. Both markets will be open Friday 12:00 to 7:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Ohio County Country Fair will be at Site One during Oglebayfest and features displays of elaborate quilts, homegrown foods and gentle animals on Saturday and Sunday. The Country Fair offers a variety of traditional fair demonstrations and competitions for all ages including quilting demonstrations, butter making, hog calling, fiddling, rock throwing and baby crawling competitions. The Country Fair is also host to the West Virginia Pony Pull Championship on Sunday afternoon. A baked goods auction will also be held both Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Two crowd-pleasing favorites, the Oglebayfest parade and the fireworks, will take place on Saturday. The parade begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Good Zoo with Phil Maxwell serving as Grand Marshall. An electrifying fireworks display will light up the evening sky over Schenk Lake at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Oglebayfest is also famous for its foods and non-stop entertainment. The Ihlenfeld Dining Room at Wilson Lodge has several special menus and buffets including the Seafood Buffet on Friday and the Prime Rib Buffet on Saturday. Both buffets are available from 5:30 to 10:00 p.m.. Brunch is offered in the dining room on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Reservations for the dining room can be made by calling 304-243-4080. Entertainment at Wilson Lodge includes Dustin McCray in Hickman Lounge from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Friday, Markus & James in Hickman on Saturday from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. and Mansfield 5 from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. in Glessner Auditorium.
The Rathskeller, located at Hess Shelter, is one of Oglebayfest’s most popular destinations. The menu has German favorites including grilled bratwurst, knackwurst and sauerkraut. The Harvest Carnival at the Wagon Shed returns with fun foods including cotton candy, funnel cakes, corn dogs and fried oreos. Food will be served at the Rathskeller and Harvest Carnival on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Entertainment at the Rathskeller includes Alpen Glow and Steve Grkman.
The Country Kitchen and the Ohio County Country Fair will start serving food at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Levenson Shelter and Site One. Hot soup, sandwiches and pie will be available at the Garden Center. Snacks and sandwiches will be available at the Good Zoo, Schenk Lake and the Artists’ Market Woods, and fudge, candy and beverages will be available at Gourmet in the Gardens.
New this year is entertainment at Haller Shelter. On Friday from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. the Marsh Wheeling String Band will perform and Legend Band takes the stage from 8:30 to 11:30 pm. On Saturday from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Uncle Eddie & Robin Band will entertain and Smoke Daddy and the Crawfish perform from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Haller Shelter is for ages 21 and over and admission is free.
Cabin Fever String Band will perform at the free Square Dance at Levenson Shelter on Friday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
All the Shops of Oglebay will be open during Oglebayfest including Carriage House Glass, the Nature Express Shop at the Good Zoo, the Palm Room by the greenhouse, Wheeling Civic Center Garden Center, Gourmet in the Gardens Shop, and the Speidel Pro Shop at the Hamm Clubhouse. Carriage House Glass is featuring West Virginia Artisan Glass.
Another popular Oglebayfest attraction, the Belgian horse display, will be at Site One on both Saturday and Sunday. Pony rides and inflatable rides will be offered at Schenk Lake on Saturday and Sunday. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Schrader Environmental Center will exhibit hundreds of paintings completed by “en plein air” artists at Oglebay the previous weekend.
Oglebayfest offers free parking and the shuttle buses provide easy access to all of the festival’s activities. Special overnight packages are available at Wilson Lodge for Oglebayfest and reservations can be made by calling 800-624-6988 or book online at www.oglebay-resort.com.
For more information about Oglebayfest, call 304-243-4010 or visit www.oglebay-resort.com/fest.htm for a complete Oglebayfest schedule.