By Sara Fincham, Customer Service Representative —I find myself frequently asked to provide directions to different places within Oglebay Park. Perplexed patrons whose GPS devices navigate them to the park but not within it, individuals that have come for programs and events, or families who are out exploring the beauty and nature of our Park often land at the Schrader Center. “Are we at the Zoo?” is a frequently asked question. On March 22, the Tederous family found themselves in that very situation.
The girls – mother Kelly and children Grace, 12, and Maria, 6, – came through our doors and stopped at my desk. Beginning their week long spring break, they were looking for Wilson Lodge and were lost within the Park. I detailed the directions in a simple sentence and then showed them our always-eager animals. Although they touched the American toad and the Midland Painted turtle, there was one serpent that seduced their senses – our Eastern Chain King Snake.
Kelly was rapt with the reptile, but Grace was reluctant and Maria was absolutely appalled! They left for the Lodge saying they would be back for more at the Schrader Center. On the following Friday, they kept their commitment and came back to browse our building. This time Kelly and Grace were eager to embrace the King Snake, and Maria wasn’t as repulsed by the reptile, and happily they helped me feed the birds.
As our staff was in the midst of our spring Maple Sugaring program and offering trail tours and tastes of the syrup that had been tapped in the Park and boiled down to four gallons, they came back Saturday to learn the history of syrup making and enjoy a pancake breakfast with some of our maple syrup!. I took the tour with them, along with husband/father Neal, and learned a lot about their family over our pancake breakfast. From Columbus, Ohio, Kelly is a teacher, Neal and Grace bond over birding and Greek Gods, Grace also enjoys dance and art, and Maria is crafty and can put on a praise-worthy puppet show! They sadly said their goodbyes on Saturday, but not before they returned to the Schrader Center for more hands-on time with the snakes. Not only did they change their minds about snakes, they were carefully considering having one as a family pet! With all that Oglebay Institute does to inspire the imagination via earth and art – they made a wrong turn to exactly the right place!
Come visit the Schrader Center to learn more about our native animals and plants, relax in our bird cafe, take a hike on our trails, sign up for summer camps and programs or chat with our knowledgeable staff. For more information, check us out online at OIonline.com or call 304-242-6855.
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