Long-Time Good Zoo Director to Retire

Good Zoo Director Penny Miller to Retire

Penny Miller, center, is retiring as the Director of the Good Zoo. She and Rod Haley, left, Vice President of Operations, and John Hargleroad, Director of Operations, proudly display the plaque announcing the zoo’s most recent accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

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.

Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay Still Going Strong After 29 Years

Rainbow Tunnel at the Oglebay Festival of Lights

The new Rainbow Tunnel is 100 feet long and changes colors as you drive through.

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.”


Poinsettia Wreath and Candles display at the Oglebay Festival of Lights

One of the Festival’s favorite displays, the Poinsettia Wreath and Candles, is nearly 60 feet tall.

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.


The Gardens of Light at the Oglebay Festival of Lights

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.

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 Christmas Shop at the Oglebay Festival of Lights

Oglebay has 8 specialty shops including the Christmas Shop at the Speidel Golf Club.

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.


Wilson Lodge at the Oglebay Festival of Lights

The 270-room Wilson Lodge at the Oglebay is festively decorated, inside & out, during the Winter Festival of Lights.

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.

Online Tickets now Available for Boo at the Zoo

Boo at the Zoo at the Good Zoo at Oglebay

Ryan Auber (left) and Cody Auber are ready for Boo at the Zoo at the Oglebay Good Zoo on October 10-12, October 17-19 & October 24-26. Advance tickets will only be available online at www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo.

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.

Oglebayfest, the Area’s Premier Fall Event, Returns for 37th Year

Robert Villamagna at Oglebayfest

Robert Villamagna, left, discusses his artwork with Barbara Ruben of Wheeling, WV. Villamagna is one of the artists that will be at Phil Maxwell Artists’ & Gourmet Markets at Oglebayfest October 3-5 at Oglebay.

Oglebay’s fall tradition, Oglebayfest, will begin on Friday, October 3 and continue through Sunday, October 5, 2014.  “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 Oglebay.  Most of Oglebayfest’s activities are offered free of charge or at a reduced admission.


The Phil Maxwell Artists’ and Gourmet Markets will be located in the Mansion Woods next to the Mansion Museum. The Markets offers 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. Visit www.oglebay-resort.com/fest.htm for a complete list of participating vendors at the market.


The Ohio County Country Fair at Site One features Baked Goods Auctions, Square Dance, Hog Calling Contest, Fiddle Contest, Pedal Power Contest, Hitch Class Show, Rock Throwing Contest, Baby Crawling Contest, and the State Championship Pony Pull.  The Country Fair also features demonstrations including Old Fashioned Butter Making  and Quilting. Sheep, horses, pigs, cows, goats and other animals will be on display in the Country Fair Livestock Tent.


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 and the fireworks display will light up the sky over Schenk Lake at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday evening.


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 Gala on Friday and the Chophouse on Saturday. Both buffets are available from 5:00 to 9:00 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 Sarah Hays 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.


Vu ja de Vineyards at Oglebayfest

Bryan George from Vu ja de Vineyards describes one of his wines to Carolyn Garvey of Wellsburg, WV. Vu ja de and many other wine and food vendors will be offering tastings and samples at the Phil Maxwell Artists’ & Gourmet Markets at Oglebayfest

The Rathskeller, located at Hess Shelter, is one of Oglebayfest’s most popular destinations. The menu has German favorites including grilled bratwurst and knockwurst plus sauerkraut, German potato salad and specialty beers. Emerald City will be at the Wagon Shed with fun foods including deep fried apple pie with ice cream, funnel cakes and corn dogs.  Food will be served at the Rathskeller and Wagon Shed on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Entertainment at the Rathskeller includes Alpen Glow German Band, International Fold Dancers and Steve Grkman with his Button Box Accordion.


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 Farmhouse Sweets and Treats Shoppe.


Oglebayfest is also famous for its non-stop entertainment.  There will be a free square dance with Cabin Fever String Band on Friday at the Country Fair from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.  Haller Shelter will host Hoard and Jones on Friday from 9:00 to 11:30 p.m., Bill McCoy & Bob Turbanic on Saturday from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., and Smoke Daddy and the Crawfish on Saturday from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. There is no admission to the Haller Shelter events but must be 21 years old to attend.


Dinosaurs at the Good Zoo at Oglebay

The Good Zoo at Oglebay will offer free admission on Saturday, October 4 and Sunday, October 5 as part of the Oglebayfest celebration. The dinosaurs will be on display and the zoo is offering a special Fire Safety presentation on Saturday in cooperation with the Wheeling Fire Department.

The Good Zoo is offering free admission on Saturday and Sunday where visitors can enjoy the Dinosaur Exhibit.  “Several life-sized, moving, roaring dinosaurs will be on display and our African Wild Dog pups, born in August, will on display,” said Penny Miller, Director of the Good Zoo.  The zoo will also feature Fire Safety on Saturday in cooperation with the Wheeling Fire Department.  “Come meet local firefighters and practice getting out of a smoke-filled house,” added Miller.


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, Farmhouse Sweets and Treats Shoppe, and the Speidel Pro Shop at the Hamm Clubhouse. Farmhouse Sweets and Treats Shoppe will have a sampling tent with fresh-made fudge and other treats. Carriage House Glass is featuring West Virginia Artisan Glass and will be hosting Fenton Glass representative Jena L. Blair with demonstrations on bead making on Saturday from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. Blair will also be showing the Fenton Art Glass jewelry line.


Another popular Oglebayfest attraction, the Belgian horse display, will be at Site One on both Saturday and Sunday, and the Antique Car Display returns to the Mansion Museum lawn on Sunday. Pony rides and inflatable rides will be offered at Schenk Lake on Saturday and Sunday.


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.

Good Zoo Master Naturalists conducting Monarch Research


Master Naturalist at Oglebay Good Zoo

A monarch butterfly is tagged by Zoo Master Naturalist Carol Sasseen just before being released. Classes are held at the zoo on Saturdays and Sundays and often involve walks in the woods and occasional field trips to a farm, university, woodlands or streams.

Monarch butterfly populations are plummeting nationwide, and a federal petition was filed yesterday by environmental groups, urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect them under the Endangered Species Act.  Good Zoo director Penny Miller said zoo staff and zoo Master Naturalists are part of a project to study the decline, and to create more milkweed habitat to support the butterflies.  Good Zoo Master Naturalists study, rear, tag and release monarchs prior to their migration to Mexico for the winter; they also raise and plant several species of milkweed in home gardens, local farms, and in locations throughout Oglebay Resort including golf courses, the Good Zoo, resort gardens and at the Schrader Center.


Any area residents interested in learning more about the monarch project and many other citizen scientist projects can attend Master Naturalist classes that begin September 6, 2014.  Classes cost just $6 per hour of instruction and under $400 for the entire certification program; students participate at their own pace and take up to three years to complete the program, or finish in one year. The fall classes are held at the Good Zoo or West Liberty University on Saturdays and Sundays. Fall classes include Terrestrial and Aquatic Habitats; Screech Owls; Insects; Dressing for the Outdoors in Winter, and more.

Classes can be taken in any order, and students can join the program by enrolling in any class.


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.


Spring 2015 classes will include core classes by area naturalist Dr Scott Shalaway teaching WV Birds; Bill Beatty teaching Trees; Wildflowers; and Medicinal Plants. Electives taught by Good Zoo staff include WV otters; Box Turtles; Monarch Butterfly Conservation; and many more.


Master Naturalist 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.”


Students conduct 16 hours of volunteer work on nature projects of their own choosing in order to become certified. “Our students participate in 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,” she said.  “I enjoy teaching my grandkids and neighbors about the monarch butterflies I rear and tag,” said certified Master Naturalist Carol Saseen.


The curriculum was developed by the West Virginia Division of Wildlife to develop citizen scientists and naturalists across the state. Students from Ohio and Pennsylvania are welcome to participate also.


Those interested in learning more can visit the www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo or by calling Vickie Markey-Tekely at 304-243-4033 or Penny Miller at 304-243-4027.

Labor Day Weekend Activities at Oglebay include Symphony Performance with Fireworks and Drool in the Pool Dog Swim

Oglebay Drool in the Pool Labor Day Celebration

“Drool in the Pool” returns this year to close out the Labor Day weekend activities on Mon, Sept 1 from 4 to 6 p.m. Other favorites returning for the Labor Day weekend are Wheeling Symphony’s “Music Under the Stars,” Fort Henry Days, the Woodcarver’s Show & inflatable rides. Fireworks will follow the symphony’s concert on Sun Aug 31.

An exciting Labor Day Weekend Celebration is planned at Oglebay on Saturday, August 30, Sunday, August 31 and Monday, September 1.  “The most-anticipated event, Wheeling Symphony’s free performance, ‘Music Under the Stars’, will take place on Sunday,” said John Hargleroad, Director of Operations for the Wheeling Park Commission.  The Wheeling Symphony’s performance begins at 7:30 p.m.  and a brilliant fireworks display will take place at the amphitheater at the conclusion of the symphony.


A Labor Day weekend favorite, “Fort Henry Days”, returns to Levenson Shelter/Site One at Oglebay on Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 5 p.m. on both days.  A battle reenactment will be held at Camp Russel at 3:00 p.m. on both days.


The Oglebay Woodcarver’s Show, another long-time favorite Labor Day event, will be held at the Pine Room on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The show features sales, demonstrations and exhibits.


Hargleroad noted that there is no admission to the Wheeling Symphony performance, Fort Henry Days and the Woodcarver’s Show, although donations are appreciated at the Woodcarver’s Show.


Inflatable rides and a rock-climbing wall will be at the Schenk Lake area on Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. each day.


Daily Activity Wristbands will be available at the Good Zoo and Visitors Center all three days. The wristbands provide all day use at the Par III Golf, Good Zoo and Train Ride, Miniature Golf, Pedal Boats, Fishing, Outdoor Pool, Tennis, Glass Museum, Trolley, and the Mansion Museum. The wristbands are $16.00 each plus applicable fees and taxes.  One free ride on the inflatable rides is included with the purchase of a wristband.


“The Labor Day Weekend is a great time to visit the Good Zoo and see the Dinosaur Exhibit before it goes extinct!” said Penny Miller, Director of the Good Zoo. This special exhibit includes life-sized dinosaurs that move and roar.


The zoo opens daily at 10:00 a.m. and admission to the zoo is $9.00 for non-member adults and $5.75 for ages 3-12.  Zoo members and ages 2 and under are free.


“Drool in the Pool” at the Oglebay Outdoor pool will return this year on Monday, September 1 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.  “Dogs, like humans, can enjoy the refreshing water and exercise a public pool provides and many areas across the country allow dogs to swim in a public pool after the pool season is over,” said Hargleroad.  “We are excited to offer this special dog swim when the outdoor pool closes for the season on Monday at 4:00 p.m.” There is no admission to “Drool in the Pool” and all dogs participating in the swim must have proof of a current rabies vaccination, and one human, aged 16 and above, is permitted in the pool with one dog.  See below for additional rules for Drool in the Pool:

  1. All owners must have proof of their dog’s current Rabies vaccination.
  2. All dogs must be current on all other vaccinations: Parvovirus (CPV), Canine distemper virus (CDV), Canine adenovirus (CAV).
  3. One human is permitted in the pool with one dog.
  4. No human swimming – wading only.
  5. No one under 16 may wade in the pool.
  6. Participants who are pregnant or have compromised immune systems may not enter the pool.
  7. No dogs or humans with open wounds may enter the pool.
  8. Activity is confined to the shallow end of the pool.
  9. Owners are responsible for any and all accidents and injury to their own dog.
  10. Vicious or aggressive dogs may be required to leave.
  11. Retractable leashes are not permitted.
  12. Dogs must be clean and brushed before entering the pool.
  13. Owners must pick up their dog’s waste.
  14. Participants must bath after the event.

Dedicated Staff and Classic Menu at The Grill at Speidel Golf Club keep Golfers Coming Back

Brandon Ernest at Speidel Golf Club at Oglebay

Brandon Ernest takes a break with his “Brandini” sandwich at The Grill at the Hamm Clubhouse. The Grill is a favorite for golfers and other visitors to the Speidel Golf Club at Oglebay.

Not only does The Grill at the Hamm Clubhouse at the Speidel Golf Club offer a great view overlooking the 18th green of the Jones Course, it also offers delicious sandwiches, appetizers and legal beverages with a smile.


Brandon Ernest is one of Oglebay’s dedicated staff at The Grill.  Ernest has been working at the Speidel Golf Club for 12 years, and about five years ago Brandon was asked by one of the golf club managers to help out in The Grill on a particularly busy day.  Brandon never left The Grill and now serves the classics, plus a few other surprises, to his loyal customers.


“I like to cook and spend my spare time experimenting in the kitchen,” said Ernest.  “I love my customers and they appreciate it when I make something special for them.  We have golf groups that come in from Canada every year and I am so proud when they ask for me.”


One of Brandon’s customer favorites – a fried bologna and fried egg sandwich – grew so popular that it was added to this year’s menu as the “Brandini.”


Rico Coville, Director of Golf and Skiing, said he encourages his staff to go above and beyond for each and every customer.  “I appreciate Brandon’s initiative and creativity,” said Coville. “Our tremendous staff is one of the reasons golfers come back year after year,” said Coville.


“Of course, the two championship golf courses give golfers a good reason to return,”  added Coville.  Coville also added that both the Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designed course and the Arnold Palmer designed courses are in great shape for the middle of the summer.


During golf season The Grill is open daily 7 am until dusk.  The Grill is also open during the Winter Festival of Lights when the Pro Shop transforms into the Christmas Shop.  This year’s Festival of Lights runs November 14, 2014 through January 4, 2015.


A golf e-newsletter with golf specials and updates is sent out weekly during the season. For more information on the Speidel Golf Club and to sign up for the golf e-newsletter visit www.oglebay-resort.com/golf

Thursday Artist Series at the Oglebay Amphitheater Presents Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park at OglebayThe Independent Theatre Collective will be producing their inaugural Shakespeare in the Park production, Two Gentlemen of Verona on June 26, July 10 and 24, and August 7, 2014 at the Anne Kuchinka Amphitheater in Oglebay.


Under the direction of John E. Reilly, William Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona will anchor Oglebay’s Thursday Artist Series this summer. “Two Gentlemen of Verona is a comedy about the adventures of two bosom buddies, Valentine and Proteus,” said Jeremy Richter, Playwright/Composer & Director for the Independent Theatre Collective. “When Proteus falls in love with his best friend’s girlfriend, the guys find themselves between the bonds of male friendship and romance.”


Written as early as 1590-91, Two Gentlemen of Verona has been debated to be Shakespeare’s first play. The cast includes Woody Pond, Brendan Sheehan, Cassandra Hackbart, Karissa Martin, Nate Foster, Vince Marshall, Josh Fromhart, Justin Swoyer, Dana Applegate, Liz Richter and Isa Campbell.


The Independent Theatre Collective is a Wheeling-based, non-profit theatre company that has consistently produced new, original work in New York City’s Theatre District, most recently the co-written ten-minute play, Changing Game by Jeremy F Richter and Ron Scott, Jr. It is ITC’s mission to embrace, encourage and create opportunities for development and change within its physical and artistic communities through collaborative partnerships.


Amphitheater at Oglebay

Anne Kuchinka Amphitheater at Oglebay has free entertainment on Sunday & Thursday evenings in the summer.

Additional entertainment in the Thursday Artist Series at the Oglebay amphitheater include The De’ja’vu Band on July 3, Deni Bonet on July 17, and the Beatles tribute band A Hard Day’s Night on July 31.


The amphitheater at Oglebay is also home to the Summer Sunday Entertainment Series featuring Silver Sky on June 22, Cabin Fever on June 29, Almost Famous Bluegrass on July 6, The Wally Gingers Orchestra on July 13, Dick Taddy on July 20, The Ron Retzer Trio on July 27, Rusty Wright on August 3, Roger Hoard on August 10, The Jades on August 17, and Smoke Daddy and the Crawfish on August 24.  The series ends with the Wheeling Symphony’s Music Under the Stars on August 31.


All performances begin at 7:00 p.m. and are free to the public.  In the event of rain the performances will be moved to an indoor facility at Oglebay. For more information please call 304-243-4010 or visit www.oglebay-resort.com/summer_ent.htm

Memorial Day Weekend Celebration at Oglebay

The Memorial Day Weekend marks the start of summer activities at Oglebay and John Hargleroad, Director of Operations, says that all the Oglebay facilities will be open beginning Friday, May 23 with some special activities planned for the Memorial Day weekend.


Schenk Lake at Oglebay

Aqua Cycles and pedal boats will be one of the many activities available at Schenk Lake at Oglebay during the Memorial Day weekend. Inflatable rides and Doozy the Clown will also be at the lake Saturday, May 24 through Monday, May 26.

“The always-popular inflatable rides will be at the Schenk Lake area on Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. and Doozy the Clown will also be at the lake area all three days from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.,” said Hargleroad.


Oglebay will begin offering daily activity wristbands on Friday, May 23.  The wristbands are available at the Good Zoo and Visitors Center through Labor Day and provide all day use at the Par III Golf, Good Zoo and Train Ride, Miniature Golf, Pedal Boats, Fishing, Outdoor Pool, Tennis, Glass Museum, Trolley, and the Mansion Museum. “The wristbands will also provide one admission to the inflatable rides this weekend,” reminded Hargleroad. The wristbands are $16.00 each plus applicable fees and taxes.


New this year is a United States Flag Retirement Ceremony at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, May 26.  “The special ceremony will be conducted by American Legion Post #1 and the public is encouraged to bring US flags that are no longer serviceable to the ceremony,” said Hargleroad. The American Legion will ensure that the flags are properly disposed of with honor at a later date.


“It is interesting to note that American Legion Post #1 in Wheeling was the first American Legion Post established in the United States,” added Hargleroad.  The Post was established by an act of congress in 1919.


The Memorial Day Weekend is also a great time to catch up with old friends at the Good Zoo and check out what’s new including the Dinosaur exhibit with all-new dinosaurs. “These lifelike dinosaurs are fitted with electric brains so they move and roar,” said Penny Miller, Director of the Good Zoo.   Miller said most of the dinosaurs can be discovered in the woods near the Australian Exhibit but a couple of the dinosaurs are located in other areas of the zoo.


Dinosaurs at the Good Zoo at Oglebay

An all-new display of lifelike dinosaurs has arrived at the Good Zoo and will greet zoo visitors throughout the Memorial Day weekend.

“The Edmontonia has claimed the top of the wetlands waterfall as his prehistoric perch for the summer and the Suchomimus is located in the Wetlands,” added Miller. For a close up view of the Edmontonia Miller suggested a train ride but the creature can be seen and heard from the Wetlands.


The zoo is also accepting entries for the third annual “Capture the Wild” photography contest.  “We have had a great response to our photography contests and are looking forward to this year’s entries,” said Miller.  “We’ll be awarding some great prizes!” Contest rules and entry forms are available on the zoo’s website.


Miller also added that the zoo’s Animal Encounters programs are getting more and more popular.  “This program allows guests to get into animal exhibits with the keepers to help feed and train some of the zoo’s animals including the lemurs, red pandas, river otters and kangaroos.” said Miller. The encounters must be scheduled in advance by calling 304-243-4030.


The Good Zoo is open daily at 10 am. Admission is $9.00 for adults, $5.75 for ages 3-12, and ages 2 & under and members are free.


The popular Segway Tours have also returned for another season.  “Join our friendly guides for an exciting tour on a high tech personal transporter,” said Hargleroad.  “It’s a great way to experience the picturesque natural beauty of Oglebay.” The tours begin at Schenk Lake at 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Reservations for Segway Tours can be made by calling 304-243-4090.


Amphitheater at Oglebay

The Summer Sunday Entertainment Series at the Amphitheater begins Sunday, May 25 with the Hit Play Band. A different band will be featured every Sunday through Labor Day.

The Hit Play Band will present a free concert at the Anne Kuchinka Amphitheater on Sunday from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.  “This performance is the beginning of the Summer Sunday Entertainment Series featuring a different band every Sunday through Labor Day at the amphitheater,” added Hargleroad. The entire summer’s schedule is available on the Oglebay website.


“For those who want to celebrate the weekend with an all-American picnic, many beautiful picnic sites are available at Oglebay and can be reserved by calling 304-243-4010,” added Hargleroad.


The Seafood Gala is available at the Ihlenfeld Dining Room at Wilson Lodge on Friday evening and the new Chop House featuring apple-smoked Prime Rib, is offered on Saturday evening.  For dining reservations call 304-243-4080.


For more information on all activities at Oglebay visit www.oglebay-resort.com.

USPTA’s Tennis Across America Set for May 17 at Oglebay

Tennis Across America at Oglebay on May 17, 2014

Established in 1990 by the USPTA, Tennis Across America is the original, free, grassroots lesson program.

The Oglebay Tennis Complex will be part of the nation’s biggest tennis event in May that will involve thousands of players hitting countless tennis balls, according to Jeremy McClelland, director of tennis for the Wheeling Park Commission.


The annual Tennis Across America program is sponsored by the United States Professional Tennis Association. “Tennis Across America is a perfect way to kick start getting fit and learning a new sport,” said McClelland. “Tennis is a fitness activity for the entire family. Best of all, Tennis Across America is free! Racquets will be provided for use during TAA to those who do not have them.”


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 17, 2014, beginning at 12:00 p.m. to participate in the nationwide event.


Activities will include adult and junior clinics, introduction to cardio tennis, and 10 and Under Tennis. Making use of all 10 clay courts at the Oglebay Resort is the goal of McClelland. “Getting people on the tennis court is my primary goal,” said McClelland. “If they are there and have fun, they will want to come back.”


According to “Youth Tennis,” “Tennis is fun for kids of all ages and levels; with a minimum risk of injury, the sport provides many social, health, and psychological benefits.”


Tennis Center at Oglebay Resort

Tennis Across America at Oglebay will include adult and junior clinics. “Getting people on the tennis court is my primary goal,” said Jeremy McClelland, Director of Tennis. “If they are there and have fun, they will want to come back.”

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.


Cardio Tennis Cardio Tennis is a fun group activity for anyone at any playing level looking for an exciting way to burn calories and interact with others outside of the gym.

Cardio Tennis is a high energy fitness activity that combines the best features of the sport of tennis with cardiovascular exercise, delivering the ultimate, full body, calorie burning aerobic workout.

QuickStart and 10 and Under Tennis provide the chance for kids to learn tennis and have real fun doing it. These programs use racquets, balls, and courts that are sized for kids so that they enjoy the game right from the start.


“Kid-sized equipment and courts, and balls that don’t bounce over their heads, give kids the advantage they need to learn to play tennis,” said McClelland. “Age-appropriate lessons make sure that kids are successful.”


McClelland said the cooperative, no-pressure, learn-to-compete approach is key.  “A play-to-learn approach emphasizes the development of motor skills and a progression to teach racquet skills. Spontaneous, creative play is incorporated with the concept of “Kids first. Tennis second.”

With various activities planned, the USPTA and McClelland hope to get the tri-state area excited about tennis: “In recent years the number of players on the courts has dropped, but programs like this give me the chance to draw people to the sport I love,” added McClelland.


Established in 1990 by the USPTA, Tennis Across America is the original, free, grassroots lesson program.  For additional information, contact McClelland at the Oglebay Tennis Shop at 304-243-4040.