Tag Archives: Date Night at the Zoovies

A Birthday of High Flying, Good Eats & The Great Outdoors

First off, whether it was by Facebook, Twitter, email, text, phone call, or in person — thank you for all of the birthday wishes this weekend.

The festivities started early on Friday night with Date Night at the ZOOvies. This was the second year in a row we celebrated my birthday with an evening of food, beer, and an 80s classic under the stars.

Pre-movie dinner at Date Night at the ZOOvies

Pre-movie dinner at Date Night at the ZOOvies

The Cleveland Zoological Society always does a great job with ZOOvies – especially, the pre-movie food. This year, the eggrolls and BBQ sandwiches were the standouts.

However, it’s the movie snacks that are my favorite part. Besides popcorn, beer, wine, and soda, ZOOvies features a pretzel bar with multiple dips and a candy bar stacked with bowls of sweets from BA Sweeties.

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo showed The Great Outdoors, which I had never seen before but Scott kept quoting for the last month.  It was good to finally put a film to the quotes — a film that lived up to the high expectations Scott had set for me.

Scott rests his feet after setting up our chairs at Date Night at the ZOOvies

Scott rests his feet after setting up our chairs at Date Night at the ZOOvies

I loved The Great Outdoors for capturing everything I enjoy about 80s flicks — the family-vacation-gone-wrong-but-it-doesn’t-matter-because-they-still-have-fun; the bawdy humor; Dan Akroyd and John Candy playing off of each other; the sub-titled animal scenes.

I also realized how much I missed hearing John Candy’s voice. There was always a wink and warmth to it.

After eating a plate full of sour gummy bears, I rode a sugar high all the way home from the Zoo, arriving just in time to crash face first into bed.

If you want to learn how you can enjoy the really great outdoors with the Zoo, the Zoological Society’s next featured event is a preview of their upcoming wildlife trips and takes place September 23.

Some of my favorite airplanes from RC Warbirds Over Port Clinton

Some of my favorite airplanes from RC Warbirds Over Port Clinton

Birthday proper was spent fulfilling a lifelong wish. When I was in middle school, I was obsessed with remote-controlled everything. I played with remote-control cars and boats; however, the one thing I never touched was a remote-control airplane. (Mostly, because I’m 100% sure I would have immediately crashed and broken it.)

And I think that made my obsession with them even stronger.  I remember going to a park with my dad and marveling at the beautiful scaled warbirds doing tricks across the sky. Unfortunately, my local hobby shop didn’t offer a lot of flying classes for kids, so I kept myself content with my RC trucks.

When Scott and I found out the Liberty Aviation Museum was hosting RC Warbirds Over Port Clinton on my birthday, we immediately knew it would be the perfect birthday outing.

Classic biplanes, jets, helicopters, aerobatic – RC Warbirds Over Port Clinton featured all kinds of flying machines this past weekend.  Each beautifully constructed, most of which you wouldn’t have known were a model when looking up at the sky.  Here’s a YouTube video from the event:

Best of all, Warbirds over Port Clinton had local RC shops at the show, selling a HUGE range of planes and equipment, including a starter kit whose price had my name all over it. Now if I crash and burn, I won’t feel so bad. And if I don’t crash and burn? I may have a new hobby to enjoy.

After a short nap (at 32, I can’t rock a full day of excitement anymore without a little sleep), we were off to dinner at Spice in Gordon Square.

Spice Kitchen and Bar's Honey Glazed Sirloin

Spice Kitchen and Bar’s Honey Glazed Sirloin

After this year’s birthday dinner, I can’t say enough nice things about Spice Kitchen and Bar. We’ve always enjoyed the restaurant the few times we visited in the past, but our experience on Saturday night was by far the best.

Due to a last minute change in plans, we found ourselves calling Spice at 7pm Saturday to see if they could fit a group of six for 7:45.

A long shot, for sure, but they were incredibly gracious about it and we even lucked out and got my favorite table in the entire restaurant — a gorgeous long wooden table, decked out with wooden tree trunks.

My Honey Lavender Collins went very well with our table setting at Spice Kitchen and Bar

My Honey Lavender Collins went well with our table

As always, the service and food were fantastic. To start, Scott ordered the dumplings, while I ordered the mushroom beignets. I was talking with a friend on Monday about how we would go to Spice just for those beignets and the honey goat cheese creme fraiche they’re served with. If you kept putting orders of these in front of me, I would just keep eating them:

I could eat five orders of Spice's Mushroom Beignets

Fortunately, I stopped myself and saved room for our entrees. Scott’s sirloin featured a hint of honey glaze, wonderfully balanced by the meat’s peppery kick. I ordered the evening’s special – rabbit pappardelle. The rabbit and noodles were incredibly tender. If they offer you a rabbit special when you go, I highly recommend it.

I topped this magnificent dinner with a Honey Lavender Collins and the fantastic company of Jen, Alicia, their husbands and the Morrises in spirit.

All in all, a lovely way to say hello to 32. I’m looking forward to the year ahead.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend Date Night at the ZOOvies with a guest in exchange for previewing the event. Opinions 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!).


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.

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.

Continue reading

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 Random.org…

…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: http://wp.me/pPIgG-1py”  (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 Random.org 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.