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Lights at the Zoos

Yes it is lights time of year. Decorations, lights, and outdoors always seem to go  together well. It is also not the best , or most thought, of time year to go outside to a zoo. Zoos across our great state have learned this and have put the large outdoor space they have to good use. Around the state lions and tigers (and even bears) are being surrounded by millions of lights. While other spaces have lights and decorations, only the zoos have the animals too. So in that spirit we present Lights at the zoo’s:

PNC Festival of Lights
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens
http://cincinnatizoo.org/events/festival-of-lights/

The Cincinnati Zoo will have a 25 foot tree on their swan lake, with floating orbs, all synchronized to music. A gingerbread village with hidden surprises will entertain. The Sisters from Frozen have a meet and greet at the Frozen Wonderland area, and Santa will be available 1 hour before the lights this year.

WildLights
Columbus Zoo

https://www.columbuszoo.org

The Columbus Zoo has gone all out this year. They have a 42 ft tree that puts on a show. Santa is at home near the polar bears. They also have shows through out the zoo, and much more.

Toledo Zoo Lights Before Christmas
Toledo Zoo
https://www.toledozoo.org/lights

The Toledo Zoo has a Winter Village with ice slide and bumper cars on ice. Santa is in a new workshop in the Arctic Encounter section of the park. The Cafe is used as a backdrop for a dazzling lights show.

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A Few Good Ohio Book Gift Ideas for fellow Ohio Travelers

Looking for a simple stocking stuffer for a party? Here are a few good books about Ohio that are the type we use to find our places to explore. We think others might like them too. These are just a few ideas to help inspire you, your family, or friends to get out and explore our great state.

For the ones who want to be outside:

  • A Field Guide for whats living out there so that they know what they are finding:
    • Ohio Nature Set: Field Guides to Wildlife, Birds, Trees & Wildflowers of Ohio Wall Chart by James Kavanagh 
    • Ohio Trees & Wildflowers: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Plants (A Pocket Naturalist Guide) Pamphlet by James Kavanagh
    • Ohio Butterflies & Moths: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species (A Pocket Naturalist Guide)by James Kavanagh
    • Ohio Wildlife: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species (A Pocket Naturalist Guide) by James KavanaghWaterford Press, and Raymond Leung
  • Guides to see where to go and find outdoor Ohio:
    • Hiking Ohio: A Guide To The State’s Greatest Hikes (State Hiking Guides Series) by Mary Reed 
    • Follow the Blue Blazes: A Guide to Hiking Ohio’s Buckeye Trail by Robert J. Pond and Steven M. Newman
    • Hiking Ohio by Gary Williams
    • Ohio Rocks: A Guide to Geologic Sites in the Buckeye State by Albert J. Dickas

For the more indoors type Ohio explorer:

  • Guides to see whats outside but not be “outside”:
    • Ohio Off the Beaten Path®: A Guide To Unique Places (Off the Beaten Path Series) by Jackie Sheckler Finch
    • Ohio Road Trips: 52 Trips–more Than 500 Fun and Unusual Getaway Ideas in Ohio! by Neil Zurcher
    • Backroads of Ohio: Your Guide to Ohio’s Most Scenic Backroad Adventures (Pictorial Discovery Guide) by Miriam Carey and Ian Adams
  • Guides for the Urban Explorer:
    • Walking Cincinnati: 32 Tours Exploring Historic Neighborhoods, Stunning Riverfront Quarters, and Hidden Treasures in the Queen City by Danny Korman and Katie Meyer
    • A Historical Guidebook to Old Columbus: Finding the Past in the Present in Ohio’s Capital City by Bob Hunter and Lucy S. Wolfe
    • Lost Toledo by David Yonke
    • Dayton Through Time by Curt Dalton 
    • Secret Cleveland: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure by Deb Thompson ,‎ Tonya Prater 
  • Anything by Niel Zurcher:
    • Neil Zurcher – All his books seem to be about the great Ohio road trip

 

Taqueria Mixteca

1609 E. 3rd Street,
Dayton, Ohio
or
2190 Shiloh Springs Road,
Trotwood, Ohio
http://taqueriamixteca.com

This is a review of the Original Location on 3rd Street
Just down the street from the The Wright Cycle Company Complex  of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, well across town on the same street, is a small taco joint. Driving their it is easy to pass. The small unassuming building looks a little run down, but at the right time of day too busy for its size. Taqueria Mixteca is one of the best Mexican / Latin American / Taco restaurants  in Dayton, if not Ohio.

The food is simple. There are a few diners on the menu and a good selection of lunch combos. Most of the menu is ala carte. This section of the menu is called Authentic Mexican Market food. As if one is going to a market and just getting a bite to eat. From tacos to nachos to basically any Mexican food one might one is available on the menu. Unlike some of the larger chains, Taqueria Mixteca does not list every item separately by meat, but most of the items just says choice of meat. The choice of meat might be the hardest choice to make. They do offer the simple chicken, steak, and ground beef. They also offer the more traditional tongue, tripe, goat, and chorizo.

The food is authentic. The tortillas are corn, sometimes flour. The tacos are meat and onions. When we went the service was quick. We spent longer deciding what to eat than waiting on food. When we decided to get more tacos the place had filled up and the wait was longer. At the right time the place can become full. It is not a large location. Tables might be hard to find with a large group at dinner time. The size adds to the charm. It feels like the owners got what they could and worried about the food. And the food is the reason it is so popular. It is named Dayton’s Best Mexican Restaurant almost yearly. The locals love it and you will too.

Tip: Google the location or use GPS. It is easy to pass.