With several family members in tow, Sher and I attended a very neat event at the Columbus, Ohio Zoo. The Wildlights event has transformed the zoo into a Christmas wonderland.
The crowd was already sizable when we arrived just as it was getting dark. We knew that we would not be seeing lots of animals, but were there for the light displays. The zoo covers a lot of acreage, so we were ready for a bit of walking!
Polar bear cub in lights
There was a pen with a couple of Santa’s reindeer you could see. Our 4 year old grandson really liked the huge antlers on these beautiful creatures. There were a couple of polar bears who were outside in their enclosure so we could see them as well.
The centerpiece of the light show was around a pond just inside the zoo entrance gates. Thousands of lights “performed” by keeping beat with Christmas music. The show played every twenty minutes or so. Sher and I sat on a bench and enjoyed the spectacle while the kids hiked over to the gorilla enclosure, which, it turned out, was closed. We all enjoyed our trip to the zoo.
The Hamburger Inn Diner is on the main drag in the central Ohio city of Delaware. Our family enjoyed lunch there last weekend. (Read our post here) I was fortunate to meet and have a conversation with Bill Michailidas, the owner.
Bill shared how the Hamburger Inn Diner is really a focal point in the community. The generous serving of Thanksgiving dinner to nearly a thousand folks is a shining example of the good this Diner shares. Besides, it has been serving the people of Delaware great food since 1932.
Since 1947 the diner has become the place for local citizens to gather and share coffee and conversations. Oh, the wisdom that has been shared in the gatherings for the past seven decades.
The diner is open 24 hours on the weekend. As you can imagine, the diner is full of law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel . Workers from all shifts can find a time to eat, and local college students can enjoy great food and a safe place to study after hours.
Delaware, Ohio is fortunate to have the Hamburger Inn Diner. Be sure to stop in when you are in Delaware.
Our family group was headed to Delaware, Ohio to visit some of the Antique shops and malls in the downtown. Our son recommended the Hamburger Inn Diner for lunch after we visited the shops. What a great recommendation it was!
The Hamburger Inn Diner opened in 1932. It has remained virtually unchanged since it opened. It is a classic diner with primary seating at horseshoe shaped counters instead of tables. The vinyl covered stools rotated much to the delight of our grandson. There were ten in our party, and after a short wait while another couple finished their meal, all of us could sit at the same counter.
Grilled cheese and fries
Half pounder with bacon and eggs
The diner’s name gives a huge hint as to the menu. Yes, there are marvelous burgers on the menu. In addition to burgers and other sandwiches there is a full breakfast menu offered. Breakfast is served anytime. The food was outstanding: best biscuits and sausage gravy I have ever had. The service was terrific. Sher ordered a grilled cheese on rye. It came on white, and shortly thereafter here came another sandwich on rye, no charge.
Huge order of biscuits & gravy topped with a fried egg
After the great meal, I was fortunate to meet one of the owners, Bill Michailidis. He told me about the restaurant’s history, and shared some of the things that it does to support and help the community. One remarkable event put on by the diner is their annual Thanksgiving feast. The diner first has a meal for employees and their families and a neighboring gas station. Then the diner opens for the entire community. That’s right, free meals are offered to anyone and everyone. This year over 900 were served. Some of the other happenings at the diner are described in our post here.
That’s me, seated, and Bill Michailidis, right
Given the quality of the cuisine, the excellence of the service, and the citizenship of the establishment, it is no wonder that The Hamburger Inn Diner is one of the most popular places to visit in central Ohio. If your travels take you to central Ohio, it will be worth your time to eat at the Hamburger Inn Diner.
Christmas is a fun time of year to travel. No matter where you are, you can always find holiday light displays to enjoy. We found an extremely fancy light display at a house near Columbus, Ohio last weekend.
The Museum building
The working carousel
Early “Armored Horse”
Sandusky, Ohio is home to a fascinating museum devoted to the history of the carousel and merry-go-round. You will be amazed at the history of the different styles of animals used throughout the years. There are so many subtle variations within the different styles.
Another feature is a full sized and working carousel within the building. Go ahead, enjoy a ride on this marvelous piece of history. It was purchased in the 1990’s. No animals came with the ride, and museum staff lovingly added animals from the onsite collection as well as loaned animals from private collections.
The museum is in the old Post Office building and there have even been some paranormal activity reported within the museum! Here is the museum website with all information including open hours, etc.
Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl
Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl is a real off the beaten path gem in Zanesville, Ohio. Sher and I were told to be sure to take in this local treat shop by Alan Cottrill, a local artist. (read about our time with him here.)
This favorite shop has been in business since 1948. The history of the establishment is interesting but the real story is that the ice cream dishes are worthy of high praise! Sher enjoyed the banana split while I ordered the hot fudge sundae. Huge portions, delicious homemade ice cream and scrumptious toppings were quickly prepared and served to us
Also offered are home made chocolate candies and a wide variety of nuts. The nuts are fresh roasted daily. In addition Tom’s has a good selection of sandwiches on their menu.
Candy/Roasted nuts counter
Long story short: when in Zanesville, Ohio, patronize Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl. Anyone you talk to in Zanesville will tell you the same. Here is their website. Use it for directions and hours open. This is a terrific place for an ice cream break.
Alan Cottrill, left, with Maj inside Alan’s Studio and Gallery
As soon as we had introduced ourselves Alan immediately noticed the small leather medicine bag that I wore around my neck. Understanding proper protocol he did not ask what was carried within. I knew that Sher and I were in for a treat interacting with this gifted and learned sculptor.
Alan graciously shared with me his history that led to his work in the 3D world of sculpture. From an international multi-millionaire businessman at 30 to a starving artist in New York City at 40, he explained how each came about. Alan really lit up when he recounted the “first time” he “touched clay”. Thus the paint brush was put aside and his true genius showed itself.
Small version with photo of final scupture in place
Red Cloud study board
I was fascinated to learn that Alan spends so much time learning everything he can about the person who will be featured in his work. A bust of George Armstrong Custer is displayed on the first floor of the Gallery. A duplicate is now at West Point. Alan spent a lot of research time on the photos, life and times of Custer. Then I noticed a large board on an easel with mutiple photos and a book about Red Cloud, the famed Ogala Souix War leader. Thus I was able to see the beginings of what will in the future be another fine sculpture by Alan Cottrill.
His Gallery in Zanesville, Ohio is filled with hundreds of his works. His early paintings are also displayed. He shared that his favorite works are the two sarcophagi for his wife and himself. His children’s faces adorn the sides of each, and never will you see a more poignant depiction of love of spouse and family.
A trip to Zanesville is in order for anyone who loves art. This is the Gallery website.
The Cottrill sarcophagi
Rachael removing the molds
We’ve met the nicest people on our travels through the United States. On Monday we were at the Alan Cottrill Sculpture Studio and Gallery. This is located in Zanesville, Ohio and we almost passed by this town as we were traveling on Interstate 70.
Rachael Girton has been working at the Alan Cottrill Studio and Gallery for almost 8 years. She has been working for Mr. Cottrill since high school. She was in a government sponsered program for disabled teens who might have trouble finding a job as an adult. Rachele has type 1 Diabetes which is the most serious form of diabetes.
She started working at the Gallery while in high school and was such a valued employee that she has been there for almost 8 years.
Maj was fascinated with the process
Abe revealed! The molds will be used for the “lost wax” process
She is a totally delightful person and we were so happy to meet her. She led us through the process of removing the molds from a bust of Abe Lincoln. It was fascinating watching her carefully removing the two mold pieces. Maj was there watching her every move!
Be sure to visit Alan Cotrill’s website here to see more of Alan’s remarkable works.
Today we are in Zanesville, Ohio. We are on our way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and saw signs for the visitors center for Muskingum Co., so we stopped and it is a pretty neat place. I’m really glad we stopped because we found out where the big Longaberger Basket is. The people at the welcome center are so helpful. They told us other places to see as we travel in Muskingum County. We are going to visit Alan Cottrill Sculpture and Gallery now. I wish it would stop raining so we could pictures of the sculptures he has along the street. Hopefully we will get some and have them up tonight.
One of the beautiful butterflies
The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio is a most remarkable facility. Nestled in the beauty of the Franklin Park, the Conservatory houses a wide varitey of fauna from all over the world. Different ecosystems are represented in different “rooms” within the massive structure.
Himalayan Mountain fauna is found in one of the rooms. You can move from the Himalayan Mountains through a door and enjoy desert plants in yet another room, Man made stone outcroppings set the foundation for all of the plants on display. Waterfalls and other water features add to the ambience of the displays.
Of special interest is the tropical rain forest room that also serves as a home to hundreds of butterflies. Bred on site, the different species of butterflies are released several times during the week by staff members. During these informative release shows the staff discusses the life cycles and traits of each butterfly.
Strange cacti in the desert hall
Brilliant color and striking bloom
Parts of the facility was under renovation when we visitied with our granddaughter, however the construction did not interfere with our enjoyment of the many plants and ecosystems represented.
Make sure to plan a visit to the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus. All pertainent information is on their website here.