Wheeling Park System Is a Treasure
By JOSELYN KING
WHEELING — One doesn’t need to have much money to feel like a millionaire while visiting Wheeling’s Oglebay Park, or neighboring Wheeling Park.
Enjoyment during the spring and summer can be as simple as a walk in the Bissonnette Gardens at Oglebay, a ride on a pedal boat at Schenk Lake, or a trip down the waterslide at Wheeling Park.
One of the best times to visit the Bissonnette Gardens is mid-April, when the tulips are in blooms.
But flowers abound there throughout the warm weather seasons.
Ice cream can be purchased inside the Farmhouse Sweets & Treats shop, and there’s sit-down dining at the Oglebay Garden Bistro.
A step off the garden path takes one into the Carriage House Glass building, where glass produced by West Virginia makers is on display and available for sale. Just a few steps ahead is the Wheeling Civic Garden Center Gift Shop and Palm Room.
Oglebay comes to life with patriotic pride and fireworks displays at Schenk Lake during Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Independence Day weekends.
Throughout the summer, visitors can take advantage of a number of recreational offerings at the parks.
Visitors purchasing an “activity band” for a day at Oglebay may partake in such recreational offerings there as tennis, miniature golf, swimming, fishing and pedal boating.
Those wanting to exercise their mind also can use their activity band that day to enter the Mansion Museum, the Schrader Environmental Center or the Good Zoo at Oglebay.
Additional activities not covered by the activity bands include golf at the Palmer and Speidel golf courses, and horseback riding activities at Oglebay stables.
Autumn is a good time to visit the Good Zoo at Oglebay, where there are as many as 50 different species of animals — 20 of which are considered rare or endangered.
Among the many residents are zebras, kangaroo and red pandas.
Oglebayfest takes place in early October each year at Oglebay, but the fun doesn’t stop there.
Oglebay’s annual Festival of Lights lights up the park with holiday displays each Christmas season. These begin in early November, and last into the new year.
Wheeling Park takes advantage of the cold weather season, providing a skating rink for figure skating and hockey activities.
During the summer, the park also offers pedal boating, miniature golf and swimming, with the Olympic size Wheeling Park pool complete with water slide. Picnic shelters also are offered at the park.