know before you go: Cleveland Zoological Society’s Animal Attractions

As a nearby resident of one of CLE’s favorite attractions, I enjoy serving as one of the Cleveland Zoological Society’s bloggers every year. And between blogging for their wonderful events and even working for an organization that hosts an annual event at the Zoo, it feels like I should be paying them rent some times!!

I’ll be moving back in very soon as the Cleveland Zoological Society’s Animal Attractions is less than two weeks away on Thursday, February 6th – inside the Zoo’s RainForest. And after attending in 2012 and 2013, here’s what you should know before you go

know before you go animal attractions

Be ready to eat earlier in the evening.

This year’s Animal Attractions food vendors include:

  • AMP 150
  • Cleveland Cupcake Company
  • Cork & Cleaver Social Kitchen
  • Creekside Restaurant & Bar
  • Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse
  • Great Lakes Brewing Company
  • House of Blues Cleveland
  • Rosander Event Kitchen
  • Vitamix
  • Whole Foods Market Cedar Center

…but be ready to eat in the 6 o’clock hour if you can get their after work in time. The Zoological staff have plenty of other surprises up their sleeves for the evening – you wouldn’t want to be distracted from all the fun!

AMP150 short rib

AMP 150′s short rib offering from the 2013 event. (I might have gone back for seconds… and considered thirds…)

The food and beverage is located in more than one spot – and on more than one floor.

From 6-9pm, guest will enjoy all those restaurant offerings, an open bar and Jacob’s Creek wine tastings. But don’t assume just because there’s a great set up in the cafe area that that means that’s the only spot to find food and beverage. Plenty of those vendors are scattered in the exhibits. So grab a plate and/or a glass to start, then start to wander around!

Get ready to learn something too.

There will also be the opportunity to get to know the Rainforest’s and Zoo’s animal inhabitants, including the following Zoo employees and their presentations:

  • Andi Kornak with 50 Shades of Grey – Part II (all about the elephants)
  • Travis Vineyard with Bear Foot and Pregnant (all about the bears)
  • Jim Nemet with That’s the Way I like It (all about the various education department animals)

Dress appropriately…

…you will be in a Rainforest after all! The event is business casual, so a layer under that suit jacket might not be a bad idea. Don’t forget that it’s 80 degrees inside!

Tickets are still available!

Animal Attractions tickets are $60 for Zoo members and $65 for non-members. Since alcohol is served, you must be 21 or older to attend. Monies raised will benefit the Cleveland Zoological Society and its ability to continue to give Clevelanders a wonderful place to visit.

Purchase tickets at before they sell out!

Stay up-to-date with all of the Zoo Society’s happenings and events – we’ll be talking about Twlight at the Zoo and Night at the Zoovies before you know it…

Disclosure: I was offered two media passes to Animal Attractions in return for sharing this information. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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GIVEAWAY: The Free Clinic’s MicroBrew 2013

Do you love beer? Do you have plans for November 22, 2013? If your answers are “yes” and “no” respectively, then I’d like to introduce you to The Free Clinic’s MicroBrew 2013 event…


The 16th Annual Microbrew Extravaganza - this year on Friday, November 22 at Ariel International - is the signature fundraiser of The Free Clinic’s Associate Board and brings together over 250 beer lovers to support The Free Clinic.

From the event website, features will include the opportunities to:

  • Interact with the region’s best brewers while sampling various handcrafted ales, lagers, porters, stouts and holiday brews.
  • Savor delicious pub-inspired dishes while dancing the night away to live music from Abby Normal and the Detroit Lean.  

All net proceeds from the November 22nd event will help The Free Clinic ”provide safety-net medical, dental and behavioral health services financially barrier free to thousands of individuals each year who might otherwise go without care.”

Pre-sale tickets can be purchased now at the ticketing website for $60 each — or at the door the night of the event for $70.

…or you can win two tickets here on the blog to The Free Clinic’s MicroBrew 2013! Enter via the Rafflecopter today…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You have until this Friday, November 15th at 12:00AM EST to enter. The winner will be announced later that morning. Since this event takes place in Cleveland, make sure you can attend before entering!

Follow The Free Clinic on Facebook and Twitter at @thefreeclinic to keep up with all its happenings.

Who’s ready for some brews? Enter the giveaway today!

Disclosure: In return for offering this giveaway for two tickets to the event, I was offered two media passes to attend The Free Clinic’s MicroBrew 2013 which I cannot use because of scheduling conflicts. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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know before you go: The Feast of the Assumption

Today’s kind reminders:
1) You have until Monday at 12AM to enter the Cleveland Zoological Society’s Date Night at the ZOOvies giveaway.
2) Check me out on the Yogic Investing radio show today at 3:00PM! We’re chatting about Yoga Rocks the Park – you can win two passes to YRP anywhere it takes place in the nation!


HEY CLEVELANDERS! Tomorrow kicks off an important celebration in the Catholic Church – and one of Cleveland’s beloved foodie events: The Feast of the Assumption.

feast cover

Each August for one crazy weekend, Mayfield Road shuts down and the Little Italy neighborhood lights up with plenty of events sponsored by Holy Rosary Church. This year (2013), the Feast runs from Thursday, August 15  through Sunday, August 18.

Being Italian and a life long Clevelander, I’ve attended my share of Feasts over the years – this one to be included on that list. I don’t know everything, but here’s what I can share from my experiences so you know before you go

Bring cash. 
While it is FREE to attend and I’m sure you can find vendors taking credit cards (hello, it is 2013), but just make it easy on yourself by bringing cash for food and beverages. Who wants to hunt down an ATM, anyways?

Make a case to park near Case.
One of the least enjoyable parts about any city festival is finding parking, especially in an area. Get some extra cardio in and park on one of the side streets on the college campus. You’ll feel better about those extra steps after you eat all that pasta.

Walk the street before you eat.
Every year, our crew start at the corner of Murray Hill and Mayfield. We glance up the hill. We glance down the hill. We then walk up the hill. We then walk down the hill. And THEN we make our decision for what we’re all going to split.

feast food collage

Don’t forget about Murray Hill Road.
I think with all the craziness along Mayfield, it’s easy to forget that there are plenty of neat businesses along Murray Hill Road. The old school house has plenty of funky art and fashion spots, and the Murray Hill Market has some great food finds – and some rockin’ roasted corn for sale.

Head to the park for some peace and quiet.
As you can see in the cover photo, the Feast can get BONKERS crazy. The streets fill up fast and it’s easy for some anxiety to build up. That when I head to Tony Brush Park to sit down, calm down and recenter. A few moments (& a few trips down the slide) is all it takes.

Remember this is more than just a foodie event.
The Feast might have a reputation for being a crazy food fest, but Holy Rosary Church does a beautiful job explaining the religious background behind this festival. No matter if you’re Catholic or not, take a moment to understand why this 115 year tradition continues by learning more at the church’s website. There are masses each day, with additional processions and celebrations throughout the weekend.   Need even more info? Click on over to on the Little Italy Cleveland website.

Been to the Feast? What’s your  must “know before you go” tip?

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