The first thing that punches you in the arm when stepping inside Lake Metroparks’ Penitentiary Glen Reservation’s Nature Center is the ingenuity that is behind the venue’s current “The Wild Days of Winter” holiday project.
Maybe “project” is not the correct word but neither is “exhibit.”
Annually the park’s Nature Center – located in Kirtland – is transformed in a people-size game board. In all, 48 wooden plates are snaked through the chamber, color-coded in such a way as to best understand the particular nuances the game intends to convey.
This year’s theme “A Taste of Seasons” is a nifty ploy to educate young people in particular where their food comes from, season y season.
As has been the custom the past several years the brand-new “A Taste of Seasons” is the same thing, only different to the previous walk-through “Candy Land” game that also had a natural slant.
Anyway, while all previous holiday assemblies at the Nature Center featured substantial planning and execution, this year’s “A Taste of Seasons” is (by far) even much more impressive.
The game corkscrews throughout the main auditorium, utilizing virtually every inch, every nook and every cranny though one doesn’t really feel cramped.
If you go – and you should, especially in the company of a child – take note of the impressionistic tone of the “trees,” how the parks system’s staff gave each one’s foliage a seasonal look.
The project obviously takes time to put together and even more to design. The Wildlife Center staff actually begins nearly a year in advance, brainstorming what is the intended goal and how best to accomplish the task with limited funds and an even tighter floor plan.
In any event, “A Taste of Seasons” is well worth the price of admission. And that is even better, given that the annual holiday project is free.
“A Taste of Seasons” runs November 22 through January 4, closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.
Hours are noon to 5 p.m.
On Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m., the parks system will host what it calls a special activity.
The 424-acre Penitentiary Glen Reservation is located at 8668 Kirtland-Chardon Road, Kirtland, Ohio. Its telephone number is 440-256-1404.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.