Monday, June 27, 1988

1988 Vacation Cincinnati, OH (6/27/1988)

Monday, June 27, 1988
Up again at 7:00. I repacked since now we had more dirty clothes than clean ones. Breakfast of waffles. A prolonged goodbye and Sarah’s cry to “Stay!” was in contrast to her initial welcome! We left closer to 9:00 and made a figure-eight to finally get to I-71 heading south with Kent driving. Noted many Wendy’s places, since Columbus is home to the franchise. Columbus supposedly emphasized the brain over brawn, focusing on education and state government, without any industrial decline. Columbus is the birthplace of James Thurber, and first in scientific and technological progress, with 150 high-tech companies. They were the first with city-wide cable TV, interactive cable TV, 24-hour banking machines, and an electronic newspaper. Columbus is also a very average city with residents representing a demographic slice of America, thus it is a cross section of consumers resulting in being a test market for new products, especially fast food chains!
We drove down to Grove City, going into town to find the house on Columbus Road in which Kent once lived with the Ts and David C.
Grove City house
Still standing, but no more garage. The basketball court was still around the corner. We drove through town, and back to I-71.
We took a short detour to the Fort Ancient State Memorial with a prehistoric Hopewell Indian earthwork, but it was closed on Mondays. We could see some mounds.
Fort Ancient State Memorial mound
As we headed down I-71 to Cincinnati, it was very flat country. The corn was short due to the drought. When it became hilly again, we took I-275 to the second exit to the south in an attempt to follow the Little Miami River. A pretty little river when we crossed it. We got all turned around, and took roads up, down, and around until we came to US-50 in Milford. Kent recognized the location of an old United Dairy place, a creamery in RI terms, now across the street in a new location. Followed US-50 to Terrace Park, where Kent and his family lived for about six years, just before their move to Japan. We found Kent’s old house, now with some new additions, and with new homes built across the street in a former lumberyard. Saw the Elementary School, and circled up to the old mansion where a small circus (John Robinson Circus) wintered. Now the area is a housing development based on “Circus Place.” We also saw a house of a friend, and a wonderful stone Presbyterian church they used to attend.
We left Terrace Park to take US-50 to Mariemont where Kent went to high school for two years. The town has an English Tudor theme to its architecture. Nice median strip with trees. It was a bit early to check into the Mariemont Inn, which was very English Tudor and had a double deck bus for advertising.
We went down the street to a Cincinnati Chili franchise, to have the local original Cincinnati-style chili developed by an immigrant Greek family. Since many imitators have emerged, there are as many chili parlor franchises as there are for hamburgers! Kyle had a 3-way chili with spaghetti, chili and cheese. The rest of us had 5-way chili that also included onions and red beans. The shredded cheese was heaped on top of it all. A small bowl of oyster crackers comes with each serving. Kent also ordered four “coneys,” small hot dogs with chili, onion, and heaps of cheese. We each had one except Kyle who refused to try one, so Kent ate two.
We drove into Cincinnati on US-50/Columbia Parkway, following what was once a canal, and then a subway. Cincinnati is hilly and often compared to San Francisco. Across the Ohio River was Kentucky. Cincinnati was nicknamed the Queen City of the West by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and received accolades from Charles Dickens and Winston Churchill. It is located in a basin surrounded by seven hills, and is on the Mason-Dixon Line, at the midpoint of the Ohio River. Its accessibility improved in 1811 with steamboats, and the Miami & Erie Canal. Trade was in whiskey, pork, and flour, and by 1850 it was the largest pork-packing center in the world, giving it the nickname of “Porkopolis.” German and Irish immigrants came in the 1830s and 1840s respectively.
Due to good directional signs, we easily found our way to the Cincinnati Zoo, where we paid $2 for parking, plus entrance fees of $4.75/adult and $2/child.
Cincinnati Zoo guide
We spent about three hours in the beautifully landscaped zoo with very open and natural-looking habitats for the animals. Saw pink flamingoes, and rare gibbons on islands. A pair of black gibbons had snared a seagull and were picking at it, although they are reported to be vegetarians.
Carnivorous gibbons
Red pandas looked like fat furry foxes. We saw the two white Bengal tigers, one of the zoo highlights.
A pair of white Bengal tigers
Zebras and elands. We went to the 13:00 show at the RC Cola Wildlife Theater featuring birds. A parrot flew in, and hawks and eagles were shown. A baby barn owl hissed at us. A gray cockatoo and his parrot friend talked, whistled, and even sang “Take me out to the ballgame.” A few more tricks, more talking, and a small hawk flew to different parts of the stands.
Golden eagle
We went through the Ape House, seeing baboons, and then through a building where a crowd was shown a short film on the koala, and a koala named Tully. Australia was this year’s theme of the zoo with Australian natives emphasized. Next to the Cat House which was full of a variety of large cats, but no big ones like lions or tigers. Saw the lowland gorilla display, and they were hiding. Passed a memorial to passenger pigeons, as the last couple alive lived here at the zoo until they died in 1910, making the species extinct. Kyle insisted we go to Insect World, and it turned out to be interesting with many displays showing dozens of insects, many camouflaged, so it was like hidden pictures trying to spot them. Learned ways they eat, geography, colonies, etc., then a mini rain forest with butterflies and hummingbirds. The Nocturnal House had bats, aardvarks, and other night animals. There was an area for a camel ride. We breezed through the aquarium after getting frozen lemonade. Saw another white Bengal tiger, and finally reached the bear pits, which great-great-great-grandfather S had built (he was a stonemason). After going through the Bird House, we left about 15:30. They had taken our photos as we entered the zoo, but we didn’t look for them.
We drove back to Mariemont, passing the St Francis de Sales Church the stonemasons built. When nearing Mariemont, you could smell the bakery smells of the Keebler factory. We checked into the hotel, getting two double beds for $58 in a very nice place. We unpacked and showered.
We drove back into Cincinnati again, finding a parking place downtown for $5 near the stadium. We walked around looking for a place to eat, using the central area walkways or “Skywalks.” We could look down on the huge fountain in Fountain Square.
Fountain Square with the
 First National Bank Center (1979-1981)
designed by John W. Galbreath
Decided to eat at Roy Rogers. After eating we walked down to Riverfront Stadium, a huge clean facility with seating for over 50,000 for baseball.
Cincinnati Red baseball ticket
Riverfront Stadium
We were there at 19:00, early enough to watch batting practice on the artificial turf. The game between the Cincinnati Reds and the San Diego Padres started at 19:35. A slow start, and the Reds blundered by batting out of order. After the fourth inning, Kent got us drinks and a pretzel for me. The game did speed up, and we left during the ninth inning, hearing the last minute on the car radio. The Padres won handily at 9-2. Kyle bought a Red baseball cap.

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