History

The past that made Ohio the place it is today

Day Trips in Cincinnati

Are you planning to go to  Zinzinnati for Oktoberfest, but need something to do the next day? Have a day free and are wondering what to do? Here are some day trip ideas for Cincinnati.

Trip 1: A day at the park 

A trip to Eden park is a great way to spend the day, see the sights and not spend a lot of money.

  1. Echo Restaurant: a great place to get a quick breakfast before a long day of sightseeing
  2. Krohn Conservatory:  Located in Eden park it is a greenhouse that goes way beyond anything at the local flower shop.
  3. A picnic in Eden Park:  While in one of Cincinnati loveliest sites stop for a quick bite. Sit on the lawn, by the lake, or at the river overlook.
  4. Cincinnati Art Museum: The next stop is also in Eden park. One of the best art museums in the state.

 Trip 2: Signs in the Sky

An afternoon and evening trip to see the city in a different light.

  1. American Sign Museum: A museum dedicated to signs of all forms. With a working neon shop and more neon that one location needs. Last Tour starts a 2pm
  2. Arthur’s: One of the best burger joints in town. Grab a bite for dinner and then walk around Hyde Park.
  3. Cincinnati Observatory:  A great place to visit any time. See the stars at night or just see the telescopes during the day.

Trip 3: History on Display 

Important sites for two of America’s Presidents and a lesson on the struggle for freedom

  1. William Howard Taft National Historic Site: The home of one of Ohio 8 Presidents.
  2. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center: A museum dedicated to freedom for all and the struggle of obtain it.
  3. William Henry Harrison Tomb and Memorial: The site official resting place of the first president to die in office. Also near-by is a marker for the Birthplace of his grandson President Benjamin Harrison.

Trip 4: Art – food for the soul. Food – art for the stomach

A walking tour of the heart of the city and all the art it has to offer. This walking tour can pass by Music Hall and many other great sites.

  1. Findlay Market: A historic market in Over The Rhine. A great place for breakfast or lunch.
  2. The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Main Branch: Stop in for a book, or just to see the great art they have on display.
  3. Fountain Square: The heart of downtown. Stop and admire the fountain, see a concert, or grab a bite.
  4. Contemporary Art Center and 21c Museum Hotel:  Two free art galleries just down the street.
  5. Some of the many, many, many murals the city has: Way more than one could probably see in one day.

Trip 5: A ballgame and some sites

  1. A walk along the riverfront to see the Riverboats
  2. National Steamboat Memorial: A hidden treasure with hidden secrets worth finding
  3. Great American Ballpark: The home of the Cincinnati Reds OR Paul Brown Stadium: Home of the Cincinnati Bengals

Whole Day Themselves:

  1. Cincinnati Zoo: One of the Best Zoos in the nation (maybe start with breakfast at Sugar n’ Spice)
  2. Cincinnati Museum Center. When it reopens this will be one of the premier attractions in the area.
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A look at the Cincinnati Zoo: What does the next ten years hold…

“10 years ago we wrote our first review of the zoo in CincinnatiThis year we decided to return and see how the Cincinnati Zoo has changed over the years… So what does the next ten years hold?…”

Plenty. According to plans recently announced the zoo is expanding many exhibits, adding to them, and giving the overall visitor experience an improved wow factor.

The parking will be expanded and changed going from a lot to a garage. The entrance will be more grand and inviting. Almost immediately visitors will see the animals. The Elephants are planned to move across the zoo and into a new open area, like the Africa section, that is five times as large. The Rhinos also will move in to this area.

Like the continent of Africa before it, Australia is getting a home in the Zoo. Wildlife Canyon will be transformed in to a two-story home for kangaroos and other animals of the land down under. The little penguins, which are native to Australia, are also getting an expanded home in the new section. Above the animals will be a new ropes course. This course will give visitors a chance to challenge themselves as the climb and swing high up in the air.

All of the changes and expansions are expected to be completed by 2025.

Beyond the cosmetic changes coming the Zoo is using the improvements to help enrich the lives of the animals they take care of. As has been seen in zoo across the world, happy animals breed better. The new expansions will be designed to both enrich the visitors experience and the lives of the animals. By using evidence based understandings of animal behaviors the Zoo hopes to be able to expand its world famous husbandry program. Their commitment is to animal care has grown over the years and will expand along with the coming years:

“We will transform the Zoo’s physical landscape by renewing facilities, habitats and gardens so that the Zoo setting matches our growing expertise in animal care, education, conservation and horticulture. We strive to lead in the ever-progressing world of zoos and aquariums, learning from the latest in evidence-based understanding of how animals behave, and implementing changes to promote animal excellence. We’ll advance behavior-based husbandry, increase complexity of habitats, and introduce pioneering animal health techniques and reproductive strategies in the pursuit of outstanding animal care.”

Over the past ten years the Cincinnati Zoo has become one the “Greenest Zoo’s” in America. The Zoo was transformed with the addition of a rainwater collection system. The current system collects over 25% of the water used in the Zoo. The plan is to use this system to supply 100% of the non-potable water needs. As mentioned in the previous post the Zoo also has one of the largest (the largest at time of installation) publicly accessible solar arrays in the nation. With future expansions expect the array to expand too. This array currently creates almost 25% of the zoo energy. Along with the solar, wind, and geothermal the Zoo is exploring Biomass energy options. Biomass is the “leftover waste products” from the plants and animals around the zoo. As they state on their website, the Zoo has a commitment to net zero waste facility.

As part of this ambitious capital campaign, the Zoo is taking their groundbreaking, robust storm water management program to the next level to drive down non-potable water use to zero.  By capturing 100% of the storm water and reusing it in the habitats, the Zoo can divert the water out of the city’s combined sewer system.  The Zoo will also focus on being net zero energy by driving efficiencies throughout the existing systems and pursuing advanced energy options including solar, wind and biomass.  And, with proper organic waste management, the Zoo will strive to become a net zero waste facility.

 

 

A look at the Cincinnati Zoo: Ten years later

3400 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45220

http://www.cincinnatizoo.org

10 years ago we wrote our first review of the zoo in Cincinnati. Over the past decade we have been to almost all the other major zoos in Ohio (sorry Akron). This year we decided to return and see how the Cincinnati Zoo has changed over the years.

The Cincinnati Zoo opened in 1874. Over the years it has changed with the times. In the early days it was not as conservation minded as it is now, but neither were most zoos. Now the zoo seems very conservation minded and animal focused. It’s not just the animals that are the focus of the new mind-set. The visitors too play a big part in it. Everything the zoo does is now more focused on producing less waste and proper use of the waste that is produced, such as recycling. While this was the case 10 years ago, it seems more so now.

The first thing we noticed is that parking has expanded and moved across the street. The new space was covered, a welcomed relief in on a hot spring day. Like the Toledo Art Museum the zoo did not waste the covering either. On top were solar panels converting the sun’s rays from car heating annoyance to power that could be used to cool the buildings instead.

Most of the attractions at the zoo seemed the same as we saw in the past. This was too be expected as a few of the buildings are on the National Historic Landmark list. The Reptile House still being the oldest zoo building in America. Even with the same exterior nothing looked run down. Everything had gotten a fresh coat of paint and been up kept. The world of wings still having wet paint signs up.

The zoo seems to have focused on a more of the same but better expansion plan over the last decade. The major change was to the African animals. The entire section of the zoo has been expanded and reworked into a modern open exhibit area with each exhibit not being a focus, but part of a whole. The animals are still semi separated, as the predators cannot be kept with their prey, but are less single species exhibit. The overall openness makes it feel as if one is transported from the southern Ohio to the open savannas of Africa. This section is also where Fiona, Cincinnati’s most famous resident, is housed.

The zoo also built and opened an indoor Gorilla viewing area so that they can be seen in their winter enclosure. We went in the spring and did not see this in use.

The last ten years have been good to the Cincinnati Zoo. It hit a record attendance in 2013. If our visit was any indication it is still as popular as ever. With a long and varied history the zoo has changed a lot since opening day and will be forever changing as time goes on.
So what does the next ten years hold?…

 

Cincinnati Observatory

3489 Observatory Place, Cincinnati, Ohio 45208

https://www.cincinnatiobservatory.org

We went to the Cincinnati Observatory on a sunny weekday afternoon, probably not the best day to go to an observatory, but we did get a laid back uncrowded personal experience. The Cincinnati Observatory is located on top of the hills of Mt. Lookout in Cincinnati. This Observatory is the oldest, still in use, in the United States. The observatory consists of two buildings. The two buildings house the main 11-inch Merz and Mahler refractor and the 16-inch Alvan Clark and Sons refactor. We visited the main building that house the 16-inch Clark telescope. The building was designed by the famous architect Samuel Hannaford. One can visit this observatory most afternoons during weekdays. These afternoons are reservation free.  There are many special events and astronomy nights on Thursdays and Fridays. These are the nights to look through the telescopes. There are also events on the weekends. Check out their website for these events and to make reservations.

The main building has a rotunda and two levels. The first level is a museum type of room. One can walk around the room at their leisure and look at the astronomy related artifacts. There are also daily tours (small cost) of both buildings. We did not take the tour, but lucked out and had a sort-of  guide tour of the Clark telescope. After finishing on the first floor, one can go to the second floor and look at the telescope. When we visited the friendly and knowledgeable staff gave us a tour of the telescope. Not sure if this is standard practice, but it was much appreciated. 

This museum/observatory does not take long to visit, but is packed with many interesting artifacts. It would be good to visit the telescope during the day, then return for one of the night time viewing. This would be a great place for kids, because it is highly education and just long enough to keep their attention. Kids would probably really enjoy the night time viewings. The place is not hard to find and access or out of the way. One major tip is to visit their website to find out about special events and open hours. A visit to the observatory can easily be added to a visit to another great Cincinnati attraction.

A day or night visit to the Cincinnati observatory is well worth it, even if you have little interest in astronomy or space.

 

Some of Ohio’s Unique Museums

The great thing about museums is they can be expansive or super small. They can be hyper local or focused on the world. Museums range form huge collections of various artifacts to someones collection of one focus. Museums involve the dedicated and the casual viewers. Museums can attract locals, casual tourists, or serious dedicated fans. Ohio has great vast institutions that attract people from all over the world. Ohio also has museums that are unique and should be highlighted. Some of these museums might not be known by all, but are really great attractions.

Here is our list of some of them:

Bicycle Museum of America

Paul A. Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum

Ohio River Museum

Our review (click here)

The Museum of Postal History

National Museum of the Great Lakes

Our review (click here)

Ohio Craft Museum

Feline Historical Museum

Our review (click here)

Merry-Go-Round Museum

American Toy Marble Museum

Airstream Factory Tour (not a really a museum)

Our review (click here)

The Cardboard Boat Museum

Blair Museum of Lithophanes

David Warther Carvings 

Our review (click here)

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

The American Sign Museum

Our review (click here)

 

Mound Cold War Discovery Center

1075 Mound Rd, Miamisburg, OH 45342

https://www.daytonhistory.org/visit/dayton-history-sites/mound-cold-war-discovery-center/

Dayton Ohio and the surrounding area has a long history with inventions, technology, and war. The National Museum of the United States Air Force tells the story of the war. Dayton History at Carillon Park tells the story of the technology. Now Dayton History has helped to preserve the history of a major component of technology in war. The Mound Cold war Discovery Center tells the story of the part Dayton played in creating some of the most destructive weapons ever used.

On August 6, 1945 the United States, while at war with Japan, dropped the most destructive weapon ever used. The Atomic Bomb was again used on August 9th. These two bombs ended the war and changed the world forever. The bombs were so powerful that they were developed under the most secret project of the early 20th century. The Manhattan Project, while most known for being at the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico, had sites across the country. One such site was in Dayton, Ohio.

The Mound Cold War Discovery Center tells the story of what Dayton did for the Project, why they it continued its work, and what finally happed to it in the end. From being the first post war site built by the Atomic Energy Commission to the beginning of the 21st century, the role the site played was both militaristic and peaceful. The Museum is one large room with displays along the walls that tell the story of the Mound. Using videos, pictures and artifacts the museum unfolds the work from the early days of the Dayton Project to the cleanup and closure. Many of the displays are just text and pictures, or artifacts and text. Some however are larger interactive items, such as a working Geiger counter and a glove box. Upstairs is the archives with information on almost every worker at the mounds, and photos of the workers experience.

Overall the story gets across without bogging down too much in the details. With the price of admission being free, it is well worth the price. Adding in a trip to the Miamisburg Mound across the street, also free,  and a stop downtown for lunch, one can easily fill a morning.

Miamisburg Bicentennial

Miamisburg Bicentennial Featured Week of Celebration  (JUNE 16-23)
Other events through out year

miamisburg200.com

One and Only, Star City, Miamisburg, the city south of Dayton along the Great Miami River has gone by many names. This year it celebrates its 200 birthday. For the past few years they have gone to work to make sure the it is ready. Ready not just for a one day ceremony, but a week long event to remember for the next 200 years.

The area was settled before 1818, long before. Some of the earliest inhabitants of the region were the Adena Culture. These Mound builders created great works of earth to honor their dead. In the state of Ohio they built many mounds, the largest being the one in Miamisburg. The Miamisburg Mound is 65 feet tall and sits on a 100 foot tall hill. This allows the it to be seen for miles. The impact from this hilltop mound is still felt to this day.

About 1700 years later the first American settlers, Zachariah Hole and family, created Hole’s Station, a rest area for travelers from Dayton to Cincinnati. Over the years many heading west had stopped and settled along the banks of the Miami. It was not until February 20, 1818 that four men from out of state decided to sell 90 small plots in the newly organized town. As with the river and many other things in the area the village was named after the local Miami Tribe that had once inhabited the region.

Over the years the fact that Miamisburg was a stop along the route between the Ohio river port of Cincinnati and the expanding city of Dayton allowed it to grow. In 1832 the area officially gained village status. At one point (pictured above) The Miami Erie canal, train lines, interurban lines, major roads, and the Miami River all flowed through town. As transportation grew faster, and less stops were needed, the growth of the village slowed a little. It took almost another 100 years for it to become a city.

Later, as the world entered war for the second time, secret projects were conducted in the city. The Manhattan project was working to build a weapon to end the war. Dayton was a major producer of the triggers for these atomic weapons. After the war the Atomic Energy Commission built Mound Laboratories to continue this work.  The labs work and the impact it has had on the region is now on display at Mound Cold War Discovery Center (review coming soon). This lab, along with the newly constructed highway brought many new people to the city and expansion happened. While the bulk of the businesses moved east to the Dayton Mall area, and people stopped coming downtown after the Mound closed, some stayed in the Downtown area of the city. Over the past few years The Plaza theater, Grandpa Joe’s candy shop, T.J. Chumps, and many other stores and restaurants have revitalized the Downtown area and brought back a touch of the history of the city.

This 200 year journey is what the Miamisburg Historical Society is celebrating with its week long party. The festivals with begin with a parade and have a parade on the last day too. in between each day will be themed and offer a different look into Miamisburg. Everyday will have some form of entertainment on the main stage of Riverfront Park, with more activities around it. Some days have different activities at other locations through out the city. By the end of the event every aspect of life in the Star City will have been explored. The final night will end with a free concert from the Dayton Philharmonic and fireworks.

Downtown Miamisburg is a great place to visit any time of year. From what the city has been planning and the craziness going around town expect June 16th -23rd to be a rocking good time in the Star City.

Krohn Conservatory

1501 Eden Park Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45202

http://www.cincinnatiparks.com/krohn/

Down by the river in Cincinnati is  Eden Park. The land is beautiful and the hills rolling. The park it self is quite large. So large it house two of Cincinnati’s hidden gems. The first is The Cincinnati Art Museum. The second is not quite as large or well known but is just as amazing: Krohn Conservatory.

In the 1880’s the first greenhouse at Eden Park were used for growing plants for the park. at the turn of the 20th century a greenhouse was built for public displays. The following year the first plant show was started. Shortly after the park decided to keep the plants in the greenhouses in rotation to keep visitors coming back. About 30 years later the crowds had grown and the park needed a new green house. The Eden Park Greenhouse opened its doors in 1933. four years later it was renamed The Khron Conservatory in honor of Irwin M. Krohn.

A conservatory is a room with a glass roof and walls, attached to a house at one side and used as a greenhouse or a sun parlor. Krohn is more than just a glass room attached to a building. The conservatory is broken up into 4 main rooms with smaller rooms off to the sides. The rooms each encompass an environment for the plants inside. The desert room houses the Cacti and succulent collection.  The tropical room showcases plants from the warmer climates, including ferns and begonias. The palm house is the tallest with palm trees towering above.  This room also includes a waterfall the flows into a river full of fish, turtles, and frogs. Behind the waterfall is a hidden cave. Each of these rooms includes edible plants too. The conservatory is a great place to see where some common, but exotic, food comes from including bananas, vanilla, and cacao.  Off too the sides of these rooms is the bonsai collection. With plants owned by the park and plants on loan from the Bonsai Society of Greater Cincinnati . The other room is a large selection from the conservatories collection of orchids.

The final room of the Krohn is the smallest but grandest. The seasonal flower show room is the where 6 different shows are put on through out the year. During the spring the Krohn Conservatory holds its most famous event, a butterfly show. The room comes alive with the flutter of wings. While the flowers may repeat from time to time, each of the six shows are themed differently. The room becomes whatever the theme is. If the idea is flowers of the bayou, the room is a slice of New Orleans. Visitors are transported not just by the flowers on display but by the music, the decorations, and even the structures and walkways. The theming is not only limited to the seasonal show room. Every time the shows theme changes the Krohn is almost born anew with little hidden gems popping up in the other rooms as well. The changing shows are what make every visit a treat to enjoy with new things to find and sites to see.

TIP: The Cincinnati Art museum is open late on Thursdays and can be fit into a day trip to Eden Park and the Krohn Conservatory.

 

Opening Day in the MLB

For the past 142 (well 141 but who’s counting) one team has not heard the words home opening game. They have not had to. Every season they have opened at home and the home opener was just called Opening Day of Major League Baseball. It might be because they were the first Professional Team. It might be because of their location. It might be because they almost sell out every time. It might be because they are the Cincinnati Reds.

Why Cincinnati?

The Reds started out as the first openly professional team in 1866, just one year after the Civil War. Baseball was in it infancy at the time and over the next 16 years many changes came. In 1876 the team started playing in the newly formed National league. Over the next few years the team moved to a new league, but by 1890 the team had rejoined the National League for good and baseball was on its way to becoming a great american pastime.

Cincinnati was the southern most city in the league. With harsh winters and less experienced grounds keepers, other teams were happy to visit the “warm” city. Before tv, radio, or movies baseball and other live events were some of the only form of entertainment around. This meant that the Reds opening game was almost always a sellout. With a cut of the sellout profits and a better climate visiting teams decided to keep playing in the Queen city on the first day of the season. Be it tradition or an homage to the fact they were the first pro team, the Reds have opened the season at home on the first day of play ever since.

The fanfare and the Parade

At the turn of the 19th century Baseball, like most early years of a sport, had not formed the single major league they are now. The National League was competing with the American Association. To stand out the teams promoted Opening day more and more. If  fan was a fan of your team, the thought went, they would stay all season. To promote the game Cincinnati drove both the Reds, the visiting team, and a marching band down the streets to the field hyping the upcoming game along the way. This lasted until 1902 when the team stopped their parade. The fans decided to continue on their own.

For the next 2 decades local groups, known as rooters, would meet and march towards the game, promoting both the game and themselves along the way. in 1920 Findlay Market joined in on the fun, becoming one of the loudest and largest of them all. After a while the rooter groups stopped marching towards the game. The tradition faded. The only one left marching was the Findlay Market group.  Being the largest of them all changed the event from a tailgate fan event to a full fledge parade, albeit a small one.

Eventually the Ball park they were marching too moved downtown and the parade route took on a new direction and scope. What had once been a group of shop owners heading toward the park nearby became the citywide holiday event that many in Major League Baseball have come to recognize as the start of the season nationwide.

Alas due to a change in the schedule of MLB, and the date of Easter, the 2018 parade will not happen until the 4th game.