Category Archives: Exploring Outdoors

Cleveland Zoological Society’s Ambassadors’ Circle: A Fantastic Opportunity for Wildlife-Loving Young Professionals

ambassadors circle

If you’ve read Clue Into Cleveland for a while or know me IRL, you know that groups and events for Cleveland young professionals top the list of my passions.

I am incredibly grateful and lucky to have come across PlayhouseSquare Partners after moving to Cleveland because it’s given Scott and me a ton of opportunities to develop professionally and personally.

We’ve met fantastic friends, learned from some great leaders, and had a chance to give back to an institution that means a lot to us. And it’s something that I see not just in Partners, but across many of the city’s young professionals groups.

It’s why I’m so happy that the Cleveland Zoological Society is adding their name to the list of local organizations focusing their attention on the twenty-something to forty crowd.

When Scott and I attended last month’s Animal Attractions, the Zoological Society unveiled Ambassadors’ Circle, their new initiative designed to foster the next generation of Clevelanders who share a passion for animal conservation and wildlife.

Starting in May, the Zoo’s Ambassadors’ Circle will help host a series of events for YPs, including a Wine & Paint (May 7), ZippityZooDoo (June 5), the Twilight at the Zoo VIP Party (August 7) and my personal favorite Date Night at the ZOOvies (August date TBA, but tickets will go on sale June 15).

Just like Animal Attractions, these events help raise money and awareness for conservation efforts while giving attendees an opportunity to cut loose with the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s very own party animals. 

Ambassadors’ Circle members will also get the opportunity to:

  • Participate in Urban Safaris — culture and education programming at different locations around town
  • Support animal care and learning opportunities for over 100,000 Northeast Ohio school children
  • Engage in the planning and implementation of Ambassadors’ Circle activities
  • Receive discounts on select tickets
  • Receive invitations to seasonal exhibitions and celebrations
  • And meet other like-minded animal lovers and young community leaders

The cost is pretty reasonable as well, starting at just $10/month for individuals and $15/month for couples, which includes 4 Zoo passes.

I’m really excited to see what the Zoo continues to offer with this group. For those who join it now, I think you’ll find the experience incredibly rewarding and will have the opportunity to shape the group’s growth.

If you’re interested in joining or learning more about Ambassadors’ Circle, email YP@ClevelandZooSociety.org, call 216.661.6500 x4530 or read the Cleveland Zoological Society’s announcement

Disclosure: I attended Animal Attractions in exchange for previewing the event on my blog. I am also the chair of PlayhouseSquare’s young professionals group. All opinions here are 100% my own.

[UPDATE] GIVEAWAY: Cleveland’s Great Big Home + Garden Show

home and garden show

UPDATE: After removing two duplicate entries and placing the remaining number in Random.org, congratulations go to entry #15 – Laura B! Please reply to my email by 2/4 at 5pm to confirm you can attend.

home show winner

When I’m stuck inside for more than a few days, my eyes drift to those home improvement projects I need to tackle. With the snowy weather, I’ve been eyeing the bedroom and bathroom updates we need to finish.

Fortunately, February’s Great Big Home and Garden Show, March’s Cleveland Home + Remodeling Expo, and my giveaways for both are perfectly timed to my need to tinker!

Mark your calendars for two weeks of home and garden inspiration when the Great Big Home and Garden Show returns to the Cleveland I-X Center February 6 through 15. (And save the date for the Home + Remodeling Expo March 27-29 – I’ll be giving away those tickets later.)

This year’s Great Big Home and Garden Show will include:

Tom Silva (This Old House and Ask This Old House’s), Matt Muenster (Bath Crashers and HGTV’s 2015 Dream Home), and nationally recognized design/build contractor Ramsin Khachi will be among the guests appearing on the combined Main Stage and Loretta Paganini Cooking Stage.

The brand-new Danny Vegh’s Break Room will serve up pub food and give guests a chance to compete in ping pong and other table games.

This year’s model homes include a 2,400 square foot Idea Home by Blossom Homes, a 1,500 square foot Xtend Technologies Entertainment Home with an in-ground pool, and a Weaver Barns house.

More than 1,000 home industry experts and 600 exhibitors will be on hand showcasing their techniques and tips for cooking, gardening, home improvement and more.

My favorite part of every year’s show is the Garden Showcase, and it sounds like this year’s showcase will rock, literally. Northeast Ohio landscapers will tackle some of Cleveland’s landmarks with the theme Cleveland Rocks.

Photos from my favorite garden at last year's show themed around Ohio beer.

Photos from my favorite garden at last year’s show themed around Ohio beer.

See the show features and stage schedule for more details.

Tickets at the I-X Center box office cost $15, but buy them online and save. Online tickets cost only $12, plus take another $1 off by using promo code CLUECLE15 when you check out online.

I’m also giving away a pair of general admission tickets to the event. How to enter: Do one, some, or all five of the entries. A separate comment is needed for each. 

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway
**You must leave a separate comment on this post for each entry**

1) What home improvement or gardening project is on your to-do list this year? Leave a comment on this post with your answer.

2) Follow @GreatBigShow and @ADHicken on Twitter and leave one comment on this post telling me you did both.

3) If you’re a fan of Clue Into Cleveland and Home and Garden Events on Facebook, leave one comment on this blog post letting me know. If you’re not yet a fan, you can become one here and here.

4) Tweet the following and leave one comment letting me know you tweeted:

I want to go to @GreatBigShow. Enter @ADHicken’s giveaway to win 2 tickets to #Cleveland’s home and garden show: http://wp.me/p2Ukr0-2DI

You can tweet once per day for additional entries. Just leave a separate comment each time you tweet.

5) Subscribe to Clue Into Cleveland via a feed tracker like Bloglovin’ or Feedly and leave one comment letting me know you did. This can also include signing up to receive email notifications in the top-right “Subscribe” section of this page.

You have until February 2 at 11:59pm to enter. Random.org will select the winner, which I will announce on February 3. Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry – good luck!

Disclosure: I was invited to attend The Great Big Home and Garden Show with a guest in exchange for hosting a giveaway. My choice to post about this and any opinions are 100% my own.

Cuddle Up at the Zoo’s Animal Attractions on February 5

Animal Attractions Postcard 2015

Over the holidays, Scott and I celebrated our tenth anniversary together. I know that’s not so long for others (I marvel at my parents who have been married for over 45 and together for over half a century). But still, a decade.

All those mushy feelings make getting through the drabness of another cold winter much easier to bear. Because there’s nothing like a little bit of passion to warm the cockles of your heart when temperatures dip into the single digits.

The Cleveland Zoological Society knows what I’m talking about. This February 5th, join them in the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s RainForest for one of my favorite winter events, Animal Attractions.

Animal Attractions is an evening for adults only, featuring food, cocktails, and fun presentations on the birds and the bees … and lions and tigers and bears … oh my. 😉

In addition to the food, drinks, and presentations, some of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's animals will be on hand for up-close meet and greets.

In addition to the food, drinks, and presentations at Animal Attractions, some of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s animals will be on hand for up-close meet and greets.

From 6:00 to 9:00 pm, guests can enjoy a sampling of tastes from these area restaurants:

  • AMP 150
  • Butcher & The Brewer
  • Cleveland Cupcake Company
  • Creekside Restaurant & Bar
  • Great Lakes Brewing Company
  • House of Blues Cleveland
  • Merwin’s Wharf
  • Tremont Tap House
  • Whole Foods Market Cedar Center

I’m happy to see a few of my favorites from previous years’ Animal Attractions on the list (AMP 150 and Cleveland Cupcake Company are always must-stops for me!) plus new ones like Butcher & The Brewer, Merwin’s Wharf and Tremont Tap House.

An open bar from Samuel Adams and Rain Organics Vodka, plus wine tastings round out the evening’s menu.

You’ll also enjoy conservation education with a twist at Animal Attractions. In years past, Scott and I attended a 50 Shades of Grey presentation about the zoo’s elephants and a trivia game on the mating habits of bears.

All in all, it’s a wonderful evening out at one of Cleveland’s most beautiful spots. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s RainForest showcases more than 10,000 plants and over 600 animals from the jungles of Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Dr Chris Kuhar, the Zoo'S Executive Director, will be among the featured speakers at Animal Attractions

Dr Chris Kuhar, the Zoo’S Executive Director, will be among the featured speakers at Animal Attractions

With a 25-foot waterfall, research hut, and other interactive exhibits, the two-acre, two-level indoor space is a wonderful way to enjoy the Zoo — especially when it’s so cold out. Getting the chance to explore it after-hours is definitely another perk to attending Animal Attractions.

General admission tickets for Animal Attractions cost $65. Or save $5 on your ticket and get a bunch of other great benefits by becoming a member of the Cleveland Zoological Society. You can purchase tickets online at www.clevelandzoosociety.org/events/2015/02/animal-attractions.

The Cleveland Zoological Society is also hosting an Animal Attractions sweepstakes on their Facebook page. You can learn more and enter it here: http://woobox.com/ronn89.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend Animal Attractions with a guest in exchange for blogging about it. I’ve attended this event in years past and opinions and the decision to blog about it are 100% my own.

Win 2 Tickets to the Sold-Out Date Night at the ZOOvies

Update: After tallying up all of the entries, removing two non-entry comments, and plugging the total into Random.org, congratulations to entry #9 – Mindy R!

Zoovies winner

Please reply to my email by the end of Monday to confirm you can attend ZOOvies.

Date Night at the ZOOvies may be sold out, but I have 2 tickets you can win

Date Night at the ZOOvies may be sold out, but I have 2 tickets you can win

When I told Scott that we’d be seeing The Great Outdoors at this year’s Date Night at the ZOOvies, he freaked out and started spouting off a bunch of quotes.

I’ve never seen the movie, but when Scott’s face lit up at the mere mention of the movie and he told me it starred one of my favorite comic actors John Candy, I realized I had something to look forward to.

Between the John Hughes script about a camping trip gone comically awry and hijinks from Dan Akroyd and Candy, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has yet again put together the perfect late-summer outing (and birthday-eve for me!).

Zoovies3

The pretzel and candy bars are a great touch to Date Night at the ZOOvies

On Friday, August 22, pack up your picnic blanket and lawn chairs and head to the Zoo’s Savanna Theater for an evening of The Great Outdoors … in the great outdoors!

The movie starts at 8:30pm, with hot pretzels, popcorn, a candy bar, beer, wine, and soda served during the movie, but if you get there early, you can also enjoy light apps and drinks starting at 7pm. The African Savanna and Australian Adventure will be open to tour, as well.

You can read my recap of last year’s ZOOvies for more info, but if you’ve been to Twilight at the Zoo or previous ZOOvies, you know the Cleveland Zoological Society throws a wicked party. 

Just a few of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's party animals

Just a few of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s party animals

I’m still recuperating from the fun we had at last Friday’s Twilight. After last year’s rainstorm, this was my first time actually experiencing all of Twilight at the Zoo. 

The food line in the VIP party was definitely worth the wait – delicious oysters, ceviche, filet, and short rib sliders from Mitchell’s Fish Market, Fleming’s, AMP 150, and Carrabbas’s. While Scott tried his first sip of moonshine, we listened to The Madison Crawl and relaxed under the trees.

After meeting up with Jen and Matthew, we made our way down the hill to the Zoo’s main entrance with the goal of seeing as many bands as possible.

Bon Jovi

Even a short rain shower couldn’t stop Scott

Scott showed his proud Jersey boy roots by rocking out to Bon Jovi tribute band Wanted. We filled up on delicious Reuben Bites as Shady Drive laid down some classic rock. And we cooled down with Joe Bell and the Swing Lizards around Monkey Island.

My favorite band, though, was Craic. Every time we stopped by their stage, the crowd was having a blast, and I will never turn down an opportunity to dance to Celtic rock.

I can’t wait for August 22 for more summer fun at the Zoo. Although Date Night at the ZOOvies is sold out, I have 2 tickets to give away for you and a friend.  You won’t see Groot, but Scott told me to prepare for more talking raccoons.  I hope you can join me!

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway
**You must leave a separate comment on this post for each entry**

1) Leave a comment with your favorite thing to see or do at the Zoo.

2) Follow @CleveZooSociety and @ADHicken on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you did both.

3) If you’re a fan of the Cleveland Zoological Society and Clue Into Cleveland on Facebook, leave a comment on this blog post letting me know. If you’re not yet a fan, you can become one here and here.

4) Tweet the following and leave one comment letting me know you tweeted:

I want to see The Great Outdoors in the great outdoors. Enter @ADHicken’s giveaway for @CleveZooSociety #ZOOvies tix http://wp.me/p2Ukr0-2wD

You can tweet once per day for additional entries. Just leave a separate comment each time you tweet.

5) Subscribe to Clue Into Cleveland via a feed tracker like Bloglovin’ or Feedly and leave one comment letting me know you did. This can also include signing up to receive email notifications in the top-right “Subscribe” section of this page.

You have until Friday, July 15 at 11:59PM to enter. On Saturday, July 16, Random.org will select a winner and I’ll announce the winner’s name on my blog.  Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry – good luck!

Disclosure: I was invited to attend Twilight at the Zoo and Date Night at the ZOOvies with a guest in exchange for blogging about the events. My choice to blog about it is based on how much Scott and I have enjoyed this event in years past.

Twilight at the Zoo: Why It’s a Cleveland Summer Must-Do

The mayflies have come and gone and the July 4th holiday is here. In the Hicken house, this means it’s time to start making plans for the rest of summer.

I don’t care what else I do between now and September — Twilight at the Zoo is my big must-do for this summer.

TWI_general admission party2

After scheduling conflicts kept us from going in previous years, Scott and I made sure last summer’s Twilight at the Zoo stayed open on our calendar.

And it seemed as if the gods would smile upon us for an evening of outdoor music and summer drinking … until the rains came. And, boy, did they come.

But you know what? Despite getting drenched and only seeing a few of the bands perform, Scott and I had a fantastic time with our friends. Plus we had a reason to buy matching safari hats.

(I tell myself that we needed something to keep the rain out of our eyes, but the real reason is that we love safari hats.)

I also got this awesome photo with WhyCLE’s husband:

Twilight at the Zoo rainstorm

The evening was one of the highlights of last summer, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for good weather on August 1, the date of this year’s Twilight at the Zoo.

From 7pm til midnight, stages will be staggered through the Zoo, featuring 18 local bands.

There will be something to satisfy every musical taste – funk to folk, rock to reggae. This year’s bands include:

TWI_general admission party

General admission tickets, which cost $80 per person or $700 for a block of 10, also include free Sam Adams beer, Twisted Tea, wine and soda and a selection of small bites to eat.

Upgrade to VIP tickets ($150 per ticket/$1200 for block of 10) and get access to the VIP party from 6-9pm.  VIP partygoers enjoy priority parking and early entry, an open bar, and catering by AMP150, Carrabba’s, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Mitchell’s Fish Market. 

And don’t drink and drive: Arrange for a designated driver or book one of the Zoo’s hotel/ticket packages with the Cleveland Airport Marriott.

Purchase tickets online or go here for more information.

One other thing … if you’re planning on getting tickets, get them now. This event usually sells out, and if this year’s Date Night at the Zoovies is any indication (sold out yesterday for an August 22 event), Twilight tickets may be gone sooner than later.

Hope to see you there! I’ll be packing safari hat just in case.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend Twilight at the Zoo with a guest, in exchange for promoting the event. Opinions are 100% my own and based on attending last year’s Twilight.

ZippityZooDoo: June 6 at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Reminder: Sunday is your last chance to win 2 tickets to the Silver Spoon Awards.
Tweet daily for extra entries.

Photo provided by ClevelandZooSociety.org, courtesy of Dale McDonald

Photo provided by ClevelandZooSociety.org, courtesy of Dale McDonald

There’s a lot going on at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo right now, as the Zoo shakes off winter and prepares for a summer full of activities. Summer Day Camp starts in less than a month, tickets are on sale for Twilight at the Zoo, and – as I write this – Carousel Works is at the zoo installing the new Circle of Wildlife carousel:

Carousel Works

It’s no wonder with everything going on that Cleveland’s zoo is one of the final nominees in the USA Today 10Best U.S. Zoos contest. Be sure to vote for the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo here!

To continue bringing us more educational and conservation activities, the Cleveland Zoological Society raises money and awareness through zoo memberships, adopt-an-animal programs and fundraising events.

Their next fundraiser, ZippityZooDoo, will be held June 6. It’s the event’s 41st year and is always a wonderful evening celebrating the kick off of the Zoo’s summer season.

ZippityZooDoo starts at 6pm with an open bar and hors d’oeuvres. Enjoy strolling around parts of the Zoo and getting up-close with some of its animals.

Then at 8pm, sit beneath the summer night sky for a gourmet dinner. Check out the menu, which includes olive and goat cheese stuffed mission fig with citrus pomegranate syrup, caviar, and maple citrus glazed airline chicken.

Photo provided by ClevelandZooSociety.org, courtesy of Dale McDonald

Photo provided by ClevelandZooSociety.org, courtesy of Dale McDonald

Dancing to The Element til 11 and a silent auction featuring behind-the-scenes experiences with orangutans, gorillas, and flamingos (among many other prizes) round out the night.

The event’s goal is to raise $300,000 overall for the Zoo. Individual tickets start at $250, which includes valet parking, dinner, dancing, and entertainment. Other ticket levels include preferred seating, name recognition in the program, plus an exclusive VIP pre-party in the African Elephant Crossing. 

Learn more and get your tickets online. You can also read my recaps of the last two ZippityZooDoos here and here.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend ZippityZooDoo but am unable due to a scheduling conflict. Opinions are 100% my own and based on my experience at previous ZippityZooDoos.

Cleveland Anew: Big Spring at Cleveland Botanical Garden

Scott and his grandmother tour the Cleveland Botanical Garden

Scott and his grandmother @ CLE Botanical Garden

In the hustle of the last few months, I forgot that March marked 7 years since Scott and I moved to Cleveland. I think back to that first year, how much fun we had seeing the city the first time and how new every experience was.

With Scott’s parents and grandmother’s recent move to Cleveland, we’re experiencing that feeling all over again. Now that their house is unpacked and they’ll have their first house guests in a few weeks, it’s time to explore!

For their first post-move outing, Scott and I decided to take them to the Cleveland Botanical Garden for Big Spring

Going on now through April 27, the Big Spring Show has transformed the Cleveland Botanical Garden into a larger-than-life paradise. Beautiful displays and family activities such as dressing up like insects and racing mealworms make it a whimsical experience for young and old.

Cleveland Botanical Garden Big Spring

Cleveland Botanical Garden Big Spring

The Hicken house in New Jersey had a stunning garden, so I thought that Big Spring would be a great way to put the long, rough winter behind us and get everyone excited for transforming their new landscape.  

As we entered the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s front lobby, it brought me a lot of joy to see Scott’s mom and grandmother marvel at the oversized flowers, gardening tools, and flower pots:

3 - The Hickens

After soaking in the scents and the light, we headed to the Botanical Garden’s Glasshouse.  First we traveled to the deserts of Madagascar, then the rain forest of Costa Rica. I’m always struck by the beauty of the plants and the butterflies inside CBG, and I was happy to see I wasn’t the only one:

Scott's dad and mom checking out the Glasshouse's butterflies

Scott’s dad and mom checking out the Glasshouse’s butterflies

Scott’s grandmother commented that it was incredible to see butterflies up close that she had only seen in books.

5 - Butterflies

This trip was also my first exposure to the garden’s tropical bird collection. I’d been so preoccupied on previous visits by the glasshouse’s butterflies that I somehow missed their other winged inhabitants.

Not this time!

6 - Garden Birds

Another thing Scott and I missed on previous trips was the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s library. Scott and his mom got lost in their Book Sale while Scott’s dad, grandmother and I enjoyed coffee at the Garden’s cafe.

We ended our trip with a quick romp through the ladybug maze.

7 - Scott and his mom

We’re all looking forward to returning when the weather is just slightly warmer. Scott’s mom remarked how the benches throughout the garden will be perfect for walking his grandmother around. And Scott and I can’t wait for the Garden’s Summer show: Nature Connects: A LEGO® Brick Experience!

Until then, you can catch Big Spring through April 27. Learn more and buy tickets here.

Scott and I look forward to showing off our other favorite Cleveland haunts, though the Garden will be hard to beat.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend Big Spring with my family in exchange for blogging about it. My opinions of the event are 100% my own.

Cleveland Zoological Society’s Animal Attractions

Blogkeeping: Congratulations, entry 7 – Kate, for winning the Boutique Bridal Bazaar giveaway. Please respond to my email by 5pm ET today (1/9) to confirm you can attend.

Animal_Attractions_Identity2014

Animal Attractions at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s RainForest, February 6, 6-9pm

“Baby, it’s cold (really, really cold) outside.”

It’s time to cuddle up — not just because of the cold, but also because Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. (Where did the time go, right? Feels like it was just Halloween.)

That means it’s time for one of my favorite Cleveland winter events — the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s Animal Attractions.

This year’s Animal Attractions will be hosted by the Cleveland Zoological Society on February 6. It takes place inside the Zoo’s RainForest so you’ll be nice and warm to enjoy all of the food and wine and birds and the bees.

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Cleveland Scares: West Clinton Historic Haunts Walking Tour

Giveaway Reminder: You have until Monday, Sept. 30 at 11:59pm to enter the L’Amour du Vin giveaway. Remember to tweet daily for extra entries, and tune into WEOL 940AM on Oct. 1 at 8:10AM, when Dr. Donald Sheldon – EMH president and CEO, and honorary chair of this year’s event – is scheduled to be interviewed.
Our garden gnomes are ready for Halloween. Are you?

Our garden gnomes are ready for Halloween. Are you?

The Halloween decorations and fall flowers have started to go up around the Hicken house, and with October’s arrival comes Halloween festivities.

Cleveland.com has a good list of haunted houses in Northeast Ohio, from zombies galore at Burton’s Undead Armageddon Haunted Forest and Elyria Hauntville’s 3-D zombie paintball hunt to the Mansfield Reformatory and Hudson Haunted House. Then of course there’s Cedar Point’s Halloweekends and Boo at the Zoo.

Personally, I love my Halloween haunts mixed with a bit of history, which is what you’ll find in the Detroit Shoreway Neighborhood next weekend.

Ghoulish tourguides at the West Clinton Historic Haunts Walking Tour

Ghoulish tourguides at the West Clinton Historic Haunts Walking Tour

On October 4 and 5, the West Clinton Historic Haunts Walking Tour will transport you to 1910 Cleveland. Guests will be met by famed former Cleveland Mayor Tom L. Johnson at Cleveland Public Theatre’s Parish Hall (6205 Detroit Avenue).

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Guest Post: AMA’s Urban Picnic with the Cleveland Metroparks

This week’s guest posts are all about enjoying the outdoors in Cleveland! Today, Jessica from Anchored in CLE recaps the recent Cleveland AMA Urban Picnic with the Cleveland Metroparks.

Hi! I’m Jessica and I’m a recent marketing graduate from Kent State. I recently got to check out my first Cleveland American Marketing Association (AMA) event and now I’m here to tell you all about it.

On August 15th, the Cleveland chapter of AMA hosted an Urban Picnic featuring the Cleveland Metroparks.

Image 1Source

The AMA brought in the Cleveland Metroparks’ Chief Marketing Officer, Sanaa Julien and Director of Communications, Sue Allen to discuss their recent acquisition of over 450 acres of lakefront property including Edgewater Park. The event was hosted at the riverfront Rivergate Cafe in the Flats, and attendees were provided drinks and dinner from the StrEat Mobile Bistro Food Truck. The weather was absolutely gorgeous for an evening spent by the river!

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