Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Zoo: Oglebay’s Good Zoo, Wheeling, WV

 Address:465 Lodge Dr, Wheeling, WV 26003

Visit Day and Time: Monday May 29, 2017 10:30 am - 1:30 pm
Temperature at visit: 72 degree dry and sunny
Crowd level: Moderate it was memorial day and there were a good crowd of people at the zoo but it was still a very manageable crowd

  • Pros
    • Small zoo very manageable for a couple hour adventure
    • Nice train ride
    • Feeding goats is permitted ($.25 - quarters needed for dispenser)
    • Feeding the lorikeets is permitted ($1.03 for a cup of nectar cash or card)
  • Cons
    • Zoo path is pretty hilly so be prepared for some hill climbing
    • Range of animals are pretty limited
  • Cleanliness
    • There are trash cans around to use one of the liners had fallen in the can but generally the park is very clean
    • There are chickens that roam the zoo and seem to have the popcorn clean up job
  • Adult Info
    • This is a pretty stress free zoo because its easy to keep an eye on your little one while still giving them the freedom to walk with you
  • Access
    • This zoo can make it hard to get around if you are pushing anything heavy because of the hills in the park
    • The leg room is pretty limited on the train
  • Restrooms
    • There are restrooms in the main building
    • There is a restroom at the barn (I have not been in this one)
    • There is a single restroom at the Lorikeet landing building
  • Misc
    • Train runs on the hour and half hour
    • There are some animal encounters available 
    • They were walking the tortoise in the zoo and allowed visitors to touch the its shell
    • They seem to get a different animal each year so there is some variety for year to year visitors
    • The playground was very wet due to some recent rains be on the safe side if you plan to play and bring extra clothes/shoes 
  • Pricing
    • $9.95 for adults and $6.95 for kids 3-12 More Info
    • Zoo admission is included in the Oglebay activity band ($18.95) More Info
    • Membership start at $73 for the basic family pass for the year 
    • The zoo also participates reciprocal zoo listing so if you are a member of another zoo check to see if you can get discounted admission
The train room is one of the first things you see if you take your stroller down the elevator
Lots to see here if you are a member use a rainy day to enjoy the train room
Some of the indoor space this area was remodeled this spring
Stuffed animal care area we are waiting for a rainy day to spend some quality time in this building
Just a pic with a fake crocodile
More inside exhibits
More inside exhibits
The tortoise taking a walk 
Barnyard area

Feeding the lorikeets
The playground was very wet due to some recent rains

Friday, May 26, 2017

Arts and Crafts: Fired Up Pottery Studio

Address: 4151 Washington Rd, McMurray, PA 15317

Visit Day and Time: Friday May 25th at 11 am -12:30pm
Temperature at visit: about 65 degrees cloudy
Crowd level: 3 other families with kids and two sets of adult patrons
  • Pros
    • Fees are all inclusive no hidden costs
    • Staff was very friendly and helpful
    • Lots of selection
  • Cons
    • Have to come back in a week to pick up what you paint
    • Prices are a little higher than the Wow factory in Morgantown, WV
    • Space is a little small so if it was crowded could be a little harder to enjoy
    • They have their paints in small containers and they are used and reused as opposed to getting paint on tiles like at Wow Factory.  Feels like there is a greater chance fore paint "contamination" and not as easy to blend colors  
  • Cleanliness
    • Very clean space and well organized
    • Staff made it very clear to us how to deal with dirty brushes and other supplies 
    • Staff said don't worry about the mess we clean it up (nice to hear when you have a toddler) 
  • Adult Info
    • Definitely a good place for a day trip adventure you could spend as much time as you needed to complete a project.  
    • It was a little hard to find this place as the turn is before you see the location and their sign is red on a redbrick building so it does not stick out.   Take a few extra minutes and look at the google street view before driving 
    • Let the staff know your ideas and paint order and see if they recommend any changes they know what they are doing so ask for assistance and recommendation 
  • Access
    • Its in a shopping plaza so standard access and parking
  • Restrooms
    • One restroom (lock was broken) was clean and well stocked all the way in the back of the space
    • Hand sink in the front of the store
  • Misc
    • They are open to you bringing in food if you plan to spend a long time in the shop
    • They have a lot of events scheduled on their website and Facebook page prices seem very reasonable for their classes
    • While we were there a little girl kept checking to see if her items were dry in the drying station (couple fans) and at one point she touched one of our items with wet painted fingers so just be aware I had to wipe it and touch up the paint.  Same little girl dropped her sisters item and the staff worked to get a new item to the sister
  • Pricing
    • 4x4 tile was $8
    • 6x6 tile was $10
    • Animal figures were $15 for 3-4 inch size 
    • They had a 40% off sale when I was there until May 31st for item they were discontinuing.  They posted that on their Facebook page so keep an eye out for sales
Our creations before firing

Some of their pet options

Some of their pet options

Friday, May 19, 2017

Playground: Oglebay Park, Wheeling, WV

GPS: 40.097827, -80.663141

Visit Day and Time:Wednesday May 3, 2017 from 2:59 pm until 3:02 pm
Temperature at visit: Cool
Crowd level: Mild (There were several families there for a total of around 7-10 kids all kids were under 4 years old)

  • Pros
    • Large playground with multiple play structures
    • Area for small toddlers
    • Plenty of various types of seating

  • Cons
    • Could be hard to keep an eye on your child if they move from structure to structure
    • My daughter fell several times going between play areas (luckily the rubber turf kept her from getting hurt) so some kids might have a hard time adjusting to the rise that the rubber turf creates
  • Trash Info
    • Several trash cans available 
    • No loose trash
  • Shade Info
    • There is some shade over some of the adult seating areas 
    • Play structures don't have a lot of shade
  • Adult Seating
    • Several benches
    • Several Picnic tables
  • Access
    • There is a sidewalk from the parking area to the playground
    • Multiple access entries (stairs, pipe climber, and chain ladder)
  • Misc
    • Rubber flooring under play area
  • Broken equipment
    • None to note

View of lake from one parking area

View of lake from one parking area

View of the playground coming from one of the parking areas

Newer play area to the right coming from one of the parking areas

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Playground: Good Zoo, Wheeling, WV

GPS: 40.096943, -80.666360
Address:465 Lodge Dr, Wheeling, WV 26003

Visit Day and Time: Wednesday May 3, 2017 from 1:33 pm until 1:39 pm
Temperature at visit: Cool
Crowd level: We were the only visitors at the playground there were a few families in the zoo in general

  • Pros
    • Low/No crowds
    • Plenty of Adult Seating 
    • You have to pay zoo admission to use this playground (so no one just hanging around without a purpose)
  • Cons
    • You have to pay zoo admission to use this playground 
    • Some broken equipment
    • Some parts of the structure have large drop offs
    • It is a little hard to see the kids when they are playing on the backside of the playground
  • Trash Info
    • Low (a bottle and a food wrapper)
    • Trash cans available 
  • Shade Info
    • Shade trees for the adult seating area and the small kids play area
    • Not much shade directly over the main playground
  • Adult Seating
    • Four benches
    • Picnic tables very close 
  • Swings
    • 2 little kid swings
  • Slides
    • Large tube slide (very fast my toddler ended up on the ground the first time out, I caught her early the second time)
    • Large open air twist slide
    • 2 mild straight slides (side by side)
    • Small straight slide for little ones
  • Access
    • 2-3 tenths of a mile walk from zoo entrance (if you exit the main building and head right
    • Kids need to do a little climbing to get on the equipment
  • Misc
    • Lots of active climbing for your kids so they need to be aware not fall off the areas where there are high entrance and exits 
  • Broken equipment
    • One of the logs on the side of the swinging bridge is damaged
    • Older kid play area is older but very functional
Entrance coming from the long way (standard zoo path)

General view of the playground (the white tube slide is super fast)

General view from the adult sitting area

Side view

Note the broken post on the right part of the platform before the sway bridge

Due straight slide

Fast tube slide and note the picnic tables in the back

Adult sitting area and trash cans

Little kid play area

Little kid swings (only swings available)

Little kid play area
View from the little kid area

Monday, May 1, 2017

Playground: Dallas Pike, WV

GPS: 40°00'53.3"N 80°31'37.3"W

Visit Day and Time: Sunday around 3:01 pm until 3:47 pm
Temperature at visit: over 80 degrees (Hot for the end of April)
Crowd level: We were the only park visitors
  • Pros
    • Low/No crowds
    • Good line of sight from the adult seating to the play areas
  • Cons 
    • Lots of boring bees buzzing around and some wasps
    • Some broken equipment
    • Getting to the tube slide could be difficult without help for little children
  • Trash Info
    • Low (pair of socks and a couple other pieces food wrappers)
    • There was a trash bag tied to a pole (that had some trash it)
    • Some minor writing on the interior of the higher club house
  • Shade Info
    • Adult seating in the sun
    • Open air slide in the sun (it was hot to touch the day we were there so my toddler preferred the tube slide
    • The club house area is covered 
    • The tire swing is under the play structure
    • There was some shade in the swing area because of the club house
    • The picnic area is covered
  • Adult Seating
    • Wood bench with movable back to sit facing the playground or the basketball court
    • Wood bench (no back)
    • Composite bench glider
    • Picnic tables at the shelter (6 tables)
  • Swings
    • 3 standard swings
    • 1 baby swing
    • 1 tire swing
    • 1 rope disc swing
  • Slides
    • Open air gentle grade slide
    • Tube slide (access to this slide is difficult for little ones to do on their own)
  • Access
    • Climbing chain ladder
    • Pipe ladders
    • Tunnel to climb from one platform to the other
    • Pipe handle/stair to access the tube slide (could be difficult for little ones to do on their own)
  • Misc
    • Telescope 
    • Lower level play house (might have been a sandbox at some point)
  • Broken equipment 
    • Steering wheel in the club house
    • Baby swing was in need of repair but functional
    • Rope disc swing seat was pretty worn
    • One of the benches back support was gone

View from the parking area
Shelter (I think this is associated with the Dallas Pike community center)

View from the far side of the playground 
Swing area
Basketball court
View from the newer bench area
View from the clubhouse are near the tube slide
View of the area where you enter the tube slide (note the yellow pipe is what my toddler used to climb to the platform)
View from the clubhouse (note the broken steering wheel area)
Parking area

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Carriage Ride at Fort Wilderness

My husband and I took trip to Disney World to celebrate our 10th anniversary December 2014.  We did several "horsey" things and I am going to review them over the next several posts.

Check out the first post here.
This is the second post: Carriage Rides

We actually did the Holiday Sleigh Ride at 9 pm at Fort Wilderness.  We had dinner at the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue at 6:15 pm.  There was about an 45 min gap between the time the show was over and the start of our sleigh ride, so we walked around the general area and visited the gift shop and just enjoyed the quiet of the evening.  Be aware that we went in December and it things were closing as we were waiting to walk around.  If I remember correctly I think we had to wait a little longer than we thought.  The ride was nice it was cool but there was a blanket in the sleigh so it was comfortable.  We had a ride that was timed to be during the fireworks so we were able to see some of the higher fireworks over the trees but was not a great view.

The campground was all decorated up for Christmas and it was surprising how many RVs had major holiday decorations set up.  Our driver said it gets even more festive the closer you get to Christmas. The ride was a nice quite trot around the campgrounds, it was odd to be passed by some of the large buses but the horse was comfortable and the driver well trained, so it felt very safe.  This was the end of a long day and quite a romantic ride so we really just enjoyed the ride.  I only have one picture that I have found and for some reason the driver did not realize we would like to have the horse in the picture too.

Holiday Sleigh Ride
The driver indicated that the horses are the same horses that pull the trolley down main street and they all just rotate around and have days off like other cast members.  Generally the "horsey" staff seem very broad in their job duties as our driver had just helped bathe and groom Cinderella's ponies for the parade earlier that day.  He indicated that they started getting them ready at about 3 pm for the evening parade.

On a side note this reservation is paid at the time it is booked so be aware that it will hit your credit card as soon as it is processed.  There is a sign on the sleigh that tipping is not permitted, however, I always tip my sleigh/carriage drive when I do this type of thing so I tipped him as I would anywhere else I take a carriage ride.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Horseback Riding at Fort Wilderness Review

My husband and I took trip to Disney World to celebrate our 10th anniversary December 2014.  We did several "horsey" things and I am going to review them over the next several posts.

First is Horseback riding at Tri-Circle-D Ranch
Check out the second post here (Carriage Ride at Fort Wilderness).

We ate at Crystal Palace at 9:55 am then spent a little bit of time in the park.  We had a reservation for the 1:30 pm ride (and were asked to arrive 30 min ahead of time).  We left Magic Kingdom at noon with the plan to take a boat to Fort Wilderness then the bus to the check-in station.  This was not the right choice, it took an hour and a half to make this trip.  We actually saw our ride departing as our bus pulled past the stables.  Not to worry Disney understands how this happens, probably much better than we do as visitors.

This is how Disney handled the situation, the check-in Cast Member called my cell phone while we were traveling to the check-in station.  I did not see the call until we were almost to the check-in.  The cast member told me at check-in it she had called to see if we needed assistance in finding the location or determining how to use transportation to get to the check-in area.  When we were late she just bumped us to the 2:30 ride without issue or financial penalties (before we even spoke with her).  Knowing this now, I would recommend not scheduling to do the last ride of the day in-case you have issues getting to the corral.  We did have to wait a while but it was fine, we took the time to get something to drink use the restrooms and watch the horses in the corrals.  There were picnic tables there to sit while we waited.

Picnic Tables in the waiting area
How we should have gotten to the check-in location, since the check-in location is at first bus stop for Fort Wilderness we should have taken the bus from Magic Kingdom to Fort Wilderness.  I am sure it would have been quicker.  Also check your phone periodically when you are trying to make it to a reservation and are behind, Disney wants to help you.

Once we checked in and it was closer to the time to ride we put our stuff in a free locker by the corral.  It's pretty small so just be aware of that, but there were multiple lockers so we could have used a couple if needed. They do not allow cameras to be used while riding.  They did take some pictures for use before the ride and I got some of my husband as he was on his horse before me. They utilize a very safe mounting area where the horses are lead up to a fairly high platform, the rider walks up about 3-4 stairs.  Then the rider just puts their foot in the stirrup and swings his/her leg a crossed, very safe for the horse and the rider.  Everyone in our group had helmets on, I can't remember if that is a requirement or a choice, as I never ride without a helmet and would encourage everyone to do the same.  There were maybe 4 other riders and 2 guides.

They will tell you more about the horse you are riding if you ask. My husband was lucky enough to ride the horse that plays Maximus.  Maximus had participated in a photo shoot earlier in the morning to be used during the Christmas parade on TV. Maximus has to start getting prepped for the shoot at 4 am that morning so he was still very white and super soft.  Don't worry, the horses have set work schedules like other cast members and they get days off,  I think they got about 2-3 days off a week.

The ride was a nice 45 min walk.  We saw some deer on the ride.  It a nice flat sandy trail that you ride.  The one thing I did not like was being told not to let the horses eat stuff along the trail, why is that so bad you ask?  Well the main reason is an invasive poisonous plant that can cause the horses to colic.  The guides indicated that they routinely trim the plants back away from the trail but having a horse that is colic prone at home, it was not relaxing trying to avoid a plant you did not know what looked like.  I think Disney might want to have a sign created with some images to help people know what the plant looks like.

When we got back to the corral we tipped our guide, like we would at any trail ride, patted our horses good bye gathered our things out of the lockers and headed by bus to the barn area near the boat dock, more on that in the another post.