WHEELING - No matter what your pleasure - be it music, fireworks, rock climbing or photography - event organizers with Oglebay Park and the city of Wheeling are providing plenty of ways to celebrate America's birthday this year.
Oglebay is getting the party started a day early, with inflatable rides, a rock wall and "Euro bungee" near Schenk Lake from 1-5 p.m. Tuesday. John Denver tribute artist John Adams will play patriotic music beginning at 6:30 p.m. and continuing through the always-popular fireworks show, as dazzling pyrotechnics will light up the night sky and the shimmering surface of the lake.
The park will offer picnic-style food service from 5-9 p.m., as well. Operations Director John Hargleroad said as always, activity wristbands are available at the Good Zoo and Visitors Center, providing all-day access to the Par 3 golf course, zoo, train, miniature golf, pedal boats, fishing, outdoor pool, tennis courts, Glass Museum, Craftsman's Center, trolley and the Mansion Museum.
Photo by Ian Hicks
Schenk Lake will be the hub for Oglebay Park’s Independence Day activities, which include a Tuesday night fireworks show and other attractions throughout the day and on Wednesday.
Purchase of a wristband includes one free inflatable ride, Hargleroad added.
Also on Tuesday, members of the Ohio Valley Shutterbugs will be at the Good Zoo from noon to 3 p.m. to share photography tips. New exhibits include a spectacled bear and African wild dogs.
"The zoo is sponsoring a photography contest all summer and these helpful hints may be just what you need to take that winning shot," said zoo Director Penny Miller. "They will also be sharing some information about joining the club."
On Wednesday, the zoo's animal care staff will hold Animal Enrichment Day at the Good Zoo, as employees will prepare special red, white and blue treats and special activities to give the animals something fun to explore.
The inflatable rides and rock climbing wall will be open again from 1-5 p.m. Wednesday, and Hargleroad said guided Segway tours will be offered every two hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning at Schenk Lake. Reservations are available by calling 304-243-4090.
After taking in the sights at Oglebay Wednesday, head on over to Heritage Port for the second fireworks show in as many nights, this one accompanied by a free performance from the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. The music begins at 7:30 p.m., and the fireworks begin after dusk.
Symphony Music Director Andre Raphel and company will welcome a special guest to join them on stage - bluegrass artist and mandolin virtuoso Johnny Staats. A West Virginia native, Staats joined his first bluegrass band at age 9 and since has appeared on NBC's Today Show and performed on the Grand Ole Opry stage five times.
But Staats' music never pulls him far from his Sandyville, W.Va., home for long - the husband and father of two still maintains a full-time job as a delivery man for UPS.