Category Archives: Metroparks

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.

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 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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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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Guest Post: CLE Parks and Green Spaces

Over the next couple of weeks, I have a few guest bloggers stopping by to share their love for Cleveland. After reading today’s post by Jessica Morris from JAM in CLE, I can’t wait to take a trip to some of the CLE parks she recommends, especially nearby Rocky River Park and Beach.

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Hi! I’m JAM! I’m a fellow CLE blogger and I write about all things positive in our great land of CLE!! A big thank you to Clue Into Cleveland for allowing me to guest post here!

Fun CLE fact: Did you know that CLE boasts nearly 22,000 acres of green space? WOW!! Much of that is thanks to the Cleveland Metroparks (aka The Valley for west siders).  As a mid-size metropolis, CLE offers tons of great outdoor parks, beaches and green spaces to enjoy throughout all four seasons. Find out more about the outdoor spaces CLE offers on Positively Cleveland.

Whether you’re in the mood for hiking, biking, kayaking or sunning (some of my personal faves) there are plenty of fabulous parks and green spaces to access in our city and surrounding areas.

Most recently, I’ve been going to Rocky River Park—which offers public access to Lake Erie, fantastic vantage points and a bit of peace and quiet, in comparison to other public CLE beaches and parks. I’d recommend a nice cup of coffee and heading down there on a Sunday morning to take in the tranquility and beautiful scenery from the bench swings by the water.

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The Clue-Down: 12 Upcoming Cleveland Events

Reminder: You have til Monday 8/19 at 11:59pm to enter the Taste of the Browns Giveaway. You can tweet once a day for extra entries (just leave a separate comment on the post for each tweet).
Cleveland Upcoming Events: This is the last weekend for Literary Lots in Cleveland / artwork by Julia Kuo

This is the last weekend for Literary Lots / artwork by Julia Kuo

There’s much more going in Cleveland than I’m able to blog about.  And while this post still doesn’t capture everything that’s happening, here’s my ‘clue-down’ of upcoming Cleveland events that caught my eye.

THIS WEEKEND

Last Weekend of Literary Lots:  If you haven’t been able to check out Literary Lots this summer, this is the last weekend.  This month Literary Lots turned a vacant lot at Novak Park (Lorain on W. 38th) into a world of creativity for the community. In addition to revitalizing the public space, they’ve offered programming throughout the month that runs til August 18. Today, Friday and Saturday, there will be storytelling, poetry slams, printmaking and other workshops throughout the day. And on Saturday night starting at 8:30pm, all ages are invited to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the lot.  You can see all of their events at literarylots.org/events.

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Giveaway: Go Back to the Future at the #ZOOvies

Twilight at the Zoo 2013

Twilight at the Zoo 2013

Sometimes the weather gods try to ruin the best of plans. Perfect example: Our first Twilight at Zoo on Friday night. However, try as Friday’s monsoon might, it couldn’t stop us from having a wild time at the Zoo!

Fortunately before the rain started, we were able to sample some of the food and drink at the VIP party.  We enjoyed tastings from Mitchell’s Fish Market, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and AMP 150 (their crab and salad plates are pictured above).

We also enjoyed a few sips of Fireball and Firefly Moonshine. The Fireball+Angry Orchard mix was so good that I risked running through the storm for some more – it was worth it.

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