Category Archives: Metroparks

Cleveland Zoo Continues Rocking the Summer with Twilight at the Zoo

After transforming the Zoo into a festive patio party, the Cleveland Zoological Society continues to rock this summer with Twilight at the Zoo, August 2.

After transforming the Zoo into a festive patio party, the Cleveland Zoological Society continues to rock this summer with Twilight at the Zoo, August 2.

I can’t believe summer is already halfway through. On the one hand, it’s mid-July and Labor Day feels like it’s around the corner. But then I also feel like the Cleveland Zoological Society’s ZippityZooDoo was just yesterday. Their annual summer kickoff was so much fun that it’ll be hard to forget any time soon.

Decorations from the peacock-themed ZippityZooDoo

Decorations from the peacock-themed ZippityZooDoo

As Scott and I walked into the Zoo on June 7, we were met with a landscape of blues, purples and greens. Giant (fake) peacocks were perched above on trapeze swings and sounds from The Orchestra welcomed us to the gorgeous patio party.

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So You’re Moving to Cleveland?

Giveaway Reminder: You have until Monday, June 24 at 11:59pm to enter to win 2 tickets to one of Live Nation’s summer concerts at Cain Park or Jacobs Pavilion.
Scott's grandmom takes a break from househunting and exploring the neighborhood

Scott’s grandmom takes a break from househunting and exploring the neighborhood

When I first started my blog, it was because I wanted to show my friends and family back home why I loved living in Cleveland so much.

I found myself going back to Philly and talking nonstop about Happy Dog or West Side Market and eventually decided it’d be better to show it through pictures and posts.

While we’ve had plenty of loved ones visit over my 3 years of blogging, I didn’t know we’d actually convince someone to move out here. Now I’m happy to say Scott’s parents and grandmom have decided to retire to Cleveland from the Philly area.

We spent this past Sunday looking at houses in our neighborhood and Scott’s mom and grandmom have been passing the time this week getting to know more of Avon Lake.

As they plan on moving to Cleveland, my in-laws' tour of Avon Lake this week included a stop at the aquatic rec center at Bleser Park

On my in-laws’ tour of Avon Lake, the aquatic rec center at Bleser Park

Which got me to thinking: I tend to blog a lot about upcoming events or where to take a guest when they visit. But what about if you knew someone who was moving to Cleveland – where would you tell them to go for their everyday things?

I’ve started to make a list of a few things I remember struggling with when I first moved here, but I want to hear your suggestions.

Check out my list below and then leave a comment. If your suggestion is tailored specifically for a eastside, westside, downtown or suburban resident, mention that in your comment. And a special thanks to Kimberly, Alicia and Kate for their suggestions.

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Guest Post: BEaLittleWeird Visits the Miller Nature Preserve

While I’m out of town this week, I’m happy to have BEaLittleWeird and Bite Buff guest blog for me. In today’s post, Brian shares his recent visit to the Miller Nature Preserve in nearby Avon, Ohio.

Miller Nature Preserve

When Amanda asked me to submit a guest post for her blog I was a little surprised. You see, Amanda and I know each other IRL. We both work in the same office and we both happened to move to Cleveland from out-of-state in order to follow our jobs. But whereas Amanda is a woman-about-town, visiting the local Cleveland-area establishments and enjoying all Cleveland has to offer, I’m pretty much a hermit.

I’m married with two children. My wife works two part time jobs and I work a full time job M-F 6-3. By the time I come home from work my wife is usually on her way out the door and we pass like ships in the night. We don’t get to spend a lot of time together as a family so when we are together we usually just hang out with the kids or do some stuff around the house together.

But, I accepted Amanda’s request as a challenge to leave my hermitage and venture out into the great big world outside my door. My destination: two blocks away to the Miller Nature Preserve.

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Cleveland Zoo Society Celebrates 40 Years of ZippityZooDoo

Cleveland Zoological Society ZippityZooDoo

Each June, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo kicks off summer with a fantastic dinner, cocktails, and dancing under the warm night sky.

More than just a party with the animals, ZippityZooDoo has also been raising money for the last 40 years for the Zoo’s educational initiatives – making it Cleveland’s longest running benefit.

For instance, the live auction at last year’s ZippityZooDoo raised over $51,000 in Zoo scholarships – providing Summer Day Camp scholarships, free lunches, and ZooBus trips to 25,000 students.

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Cuddled up at Cleveland Zoo’s Animal Attractions

Cleveland Zoo Animal Attractions

10th Annual Animal Attractions at the Cleveland Zoo Rainforest

Ever wonder how Willy, the Cleveland Zoo’s 13,000-lb bull elephant, gets along with Kallie, Martika, Shenga and Moshi, the herd’s female elephants? Want to know more about mating behaviors of the Zoo’s other creatures big and small?

At last week’s Animal Attractions I got my fair share of answers to the birds and the bees at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

Hosted by the Cleveland Zoological Society, Animal Attractions raises money to support the Cleveland Zoo and its various programs.

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Animal Attractions at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s Animal Attraction

Each year when October rolls around, I marvel at the number of birthdays that fall during the month.  And then I do a little math, count back 9 months, and it all makes sense to what people were doing a lot of the previous February.

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo understands that couples like to get close(r) this time of year. So escape the cold and cuddle up at the 10th annual Animal Attractions on Feb. 7.

From 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. in The RainForest, the Cleveland Zoological Society hosts a series of fun and educational presentations about what makes hearts go a-flutter at the Zoo.

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Morning Tea and a Date Night at the ZOOvies winner

Update: If you want a second chance to win Date Night at the ZOOvies tickets, check out Poise in Parma today. She’s hosting a giveaway through Sunday, August 19.


Did you know G4 plays back-to-back episodes of Quantum Leap at 3 in the morning? I didn’t, until today.

I hate waking up before my alarm clock, but I’ve got 2 posts I’m putting together today and at least I was able to enjoy a young Scott Bakula while I work. Between him and Doctor Who, I like my men with a side of time travel.

As I enjoy a cup of Irish Breakfast Tea, I want to start the morning off by announcing the winner of the Date Night at the ZOOvies giveaway.

So let’s cut to the chase! After counting up the entries and plugging the total into…

…the winner is Sarah @ Cooker Girl. Congratulations (happy blog-iversary, by the way)! Email me at clueintocleveland (at) gmail (dot) com.

If you didn’t win, not to worry!  Tickets are still on sale for the Aug. 24th event at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  For $30 per ticket or $50 for 2, enjoy entry to the Zoo, drinks, light appetizers and a viewing of The Breakfast Club. The evening starts at 7pm and you can buy your Date Night at the ZOOvies tickets here.

I’ll be back later this afternoon with a post higlighting a handful of events that will keep your stomachs full and palates happy throughout the next few months.

Why 2 updates today? This weekend I’m heading out of town to spend a week with my parents and sister in Virginia and there is too much going on in Cleveland right now to wait til I’m back. So today you’re getting a double dose of Clue Into Cleveland!

While I’m gone, I’m happy to have a few local bloggers guest post for me. But before then, come back this afternoon for one last blog post about a number of feasts hitting Cleveland this fall.

It's a Date! Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's ZOOvies Giveaway

Win 2 tickets to the Cleveland Zoo’s newest event Date Night at the ZOOvies!

Last Friday night, Cleveland descended on the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for Twilight at the Zoo. The sold-out crowd enjoyed drinks, food from restaurants like AMP150, hanging out with the Zoo’s animals and rocking out to 18 bands.

Best of all, the event – which was presented by Cleveland SCENE magazine and hosted by the Cleveland Zoological Society – raised $560,000 for one of Cleveland’s most-popular attractions!

If you missed Twilight at the Zoo or didn’t get your fill of the Zoo that evening, the Cleveland Zoological Society is giving us a second chance to party at the Zoo this August.

On Friday, August 24, the Cleveland Zoological Society is hosting its first-ever Date Night at the ZOOvies.

The Zoo’s newest event starts at 7pm and will feature an evening of animal encounters, networking, drinks, and a classic movie under the stars.

At the ZOOvies and other Zoo events, you can get up close and personal with some of the animals like this owl.

From 7-8:30 p.m., guests will be able to stroll through the Australian Adventure and African Savanna exhibits while enjoying Great Lakes beer, wine and light appetizers. Plus, many of the Zoo’s animals will be out and about to meet.

When the sun goes down at 8:30 p.m., guests are invited to bring a blanket or grab a seat in the Zoo’s outdoor ampitheater to enjoy a classic film.

For their first Date Night at the ZOOvies, the Cleveland Zoo Society took to their Facebook page and polled fans on which movie they wanted to see. The winner, as chosen by Facebook fan votes, was John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club.

Tickets are $30 for one person and $50 for 2 (which includes entry to the Zoo, plus drinks and the film).  Buy your Date Night at the ZOOvies tickets here.

And as promised a couple weeks ago, I’m also giving away a pair of tickets!

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s Australian Adventure – one of my favorite exhibits – will be open to guests during Date Night at the ZOOvies

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway

**You must leave a separate comment on this post for each entry**

1) What’s your favorite movie from the 80s? I love everything John Hughes; however, my personal favorite 80s classic has to be Back to the Future. Leave a comment below with your pick for your favorite 80s film.

2) Like “Cleveland Zoological Society” and “Clue Into Cleveland” on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you did both.

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

4) Twitter users can get an extra entry each day for tweeting: “Clue into @CleveZooSociety’s new Date Night at the ZOOvies! Win 2 tickets by entering @ADHicken’s giveaway:”  (Each day you do this, you must leave a new comment.)

5) Subscribe to receive Clue Into Cleveland blog posts in your inbox or Google/blog reader and leave a comment letting me know you did. This can also include signing up to receive email notifications in the top-right “You’ve Got Mail” section of this page.

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

***Disclosure: I was provided 2 tickets by the Cleveland Zoo Society to give away to a reader.  I was also invited to attend Date Night at the ZOOvies; however, I’ll be out of town and unable to attend.  As always, the opinions I share are 100% my own. ZOOvies logo courtesy of the Cleveland Zoological Society.***

2 Ways to Party at the Cleveland Zoo this August

When Scott and I attended the Cleveland Zoological Society’s ZippityZooDoo last month, we had so much fun we didn’t want to leave at the end of the evening. We even tried to hide among the meerkats:

For obvious reasons (Scott’s too tall), our disguise didn’t work and we had to say our farewells to the elephants and flamingos and head home.

Fortunately, after the success of their summer kickoff, the Cleveland Zoological Society is bringing not one – but two – late-night parties to the Zoo this August.

On August 3rd, one of the city’s biggest summer events rocks the Zoo: Twilight at the Zoo.

From 7 til midnight, 18 Cleveland bands will perform throughout the Zoo.  Presented by Cleveland Scene magazine, some of the bands handpicked for the evening include Almost Famous, Disco Inferno, Otis & the Shoreway Saints, as well as the Journey and Bon Jovi tribute bands Arrival and Wanted, respectively.

While enjoying the music, guests will be able to explore the Zoo’s exhibits after dark and enjoy complimentary beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres.

General admission passes are still available – however, if you plan on attending, get them soon because VIP tickets are already sold out. Tickets cost $75 (a block of 10 is available for $650) which includes entry at 7pm, drinks til 11 and music til midnight.

Tickets for Twilight at the Zoo are available here.

If you’re looking for something more intimate, the Zoo is holding its very first Date Night at the Zoovies on August 24th.

From 7-8:30pm, the Zoo will host an open-bar happy hour with light appetizers throughout the Australian Adventure and Africa sections of the Zoo.

Then at 8:30, The Breakfast Club will play in the Amphitheater (I don’t care what anyone says – Emilio Estevez is still my favorite Sheen). Seats in the Amphitheater are first come, first served so guests are encouraged to bring a blanket.

Tickets are $30 for one person. If you’re planning on making it a Date Night, they’re offering 2 tickets for only $50.  I’ll also be giving away a pair of Zoovies tickets in the next few weeks – so check back for that giveaway!

Tickets for Date Night at the Zoovies are available here.

If these events are as fun as ZippityZooDoo, I’m thinking that next time around Scott and I will need to try hiding out with the giraffes.

Note: All photos (with the exception of the meerkats) are courtesy of the Cleveland Zoological Society. Images from last year’s Twilight at the Zoo are credited to Dale McDonald. Also, I don’t really condone hiding out in the Zoo  — the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo actually hosts an assortment of Overnight Programs for anyone who wants a sleepover in the wild.

Cleveland Zoological Society's ZippityZooDoo Recap

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo lights up for ZippityZooDoo

When an opportunity comes along to visit the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo after the sun goes down, I’d be hardpressed to pass it up.  After a holiday party there a few years ago, I knew I couldn’t miss their ZippityZooDoo when I first learned about it.

Hosted by the Cleveland Zoological Society, the ZippityZooDoo is Cleveland’s longest-running benefit. For this year’s event Zoolin Rouge, the Zoo brought a little bit of Paris to Northeast Ohio.

ZippityZooDoo’s theme Zoolin Rouge came alive in the beautiful tented patio

After work on Friday, Scott and I drove over to the Zoo. As we walked through the main entrance, we were stunned by its transformation into a Parisian-inspired patio.

Under the giant tent that spanned the length of the walkway, rich fabrics and feathery centerpieces filled the view – a striking and opulent contrast to how the Zoo looks during the day – while music from The Orchestra filled our ears.

Once we found our table, Scott and I did a bit of exploring – meeting some of the zookeepers and a few of their animals. The African Elephant Crossing exhibit was also on full display as one of the elephants splashed around in the pond (a rare sight we were told later).

Dining with the elephants

ZippityZooDoo centered around a 5 course feast inspired by French elegance. Things started off with a few hors d’oeuvres – our favorites being the duck prosciutto fava bean crostini and vichyssoise complemented with a small flower petal.

This was followed by the main event – the seated dinner. Overall, I found the different flavors of the 5 courses worked very well together – from the fresh tomato cucumber salad to the hearty peppercorn steak served with a saffron risotto gruyere croquette.

Smoked Salmon Caviar

Scott and I both agreed, though, that the best course of the evening was the smoked salmon caviar accompanied by a dill crème fraiche. Salmon dishes tend to always win out for us – especially smoked salmon. Served between the salad and the blood orange sorbet entremet, the rich savoriness of the caviar was perfect in its flavor and sequence.

The cheese plate that concluded the dinner was a refreshing touch.  After a large dinner, the last thing I wanted was a heavy or too-sweet dessert. Marie Antoinette may have liked her cake, but I would choose cheese and chocolate as my dessert any day of the week!

ARAMARK catered ZippityZooDoo’s dinner and although I know they mostly deal in food services, I was blown away by the quality of food and the preparation that went into the catered evening.

Lavendar vichyssoise

With the good food came great conversation thanks to our tablemates. Scott and I thoroughly enjoyed making friends with Roy, one of the most young-at-heart people I’ve ever met (who I think has me convinced to endure a 14-hour flight and take a trip to Australia), as well as hearing about the Zoo’s future plans from their Operations Director.

And, of course, I’ll never turn down an evening with PoiseinParma and Hansmatic!

Alicia and I with the Zoo’s flamingos

The highlight of ZippityZooDoo, though, was learning about the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s educational programs.  The purpose of the evening was to raise funds for the Zoo’s programs. During dinner, a spirited MC led pledging for the Zoo’s school initiatives raising over $50,000 in less than an hour.

These funds will allow the Zoo to continue its mission of not only being Northeast Ohio’s most popular tourist attraction, but also a valuable resource for active inquiry-based learning through programs like:

Although I knew education was a large focus of the Zoo, I hadn’t seen how much of an impact the institution has made on children and teachers until ZippityZooDoo.

Many of the Zoo’s animals came out to play like this armadillo

We may have to wait another whole year for the next ZippityZooDoo; however, there are many other opportunities in the meantime to support the Zoo’s education and conservation efforts. From donating to becoming a member, check out the Cleveland Zoological Society to learn how you can help the Zoo continue offering these services year after year.

At the end of the evening Scott and I didn’t want to leave so we figured we’d hide out with these meerkats – think it worked?

Disclosure: I was offered one ticket to attend ZippityZooDoo in exchange for blogging about it. The opinions expressed here are my own. Scott purchased his own ticket to attend.