Though we took in some high culture on our recent visit to Cincinnati (more to come on that), some of the sights we saw were plain fun—a tour of the Cincinnati Reds stadium, a nighttime horsedrawn carriage ride through downtown, zipping up to the Carew Tower’s 49th Floor observation deck, and enjoying the holiday displays at the Cincinnati Zoo and Krohn Conservatory.
Great American Ball Park
The storied Cincinnati Reds play here, on the banks of the Ohio River. A wonderfully informative and entertaining guide walked us through the exclusive clubs, down to the field, and “backstage.” It seemed a long way from home plate out to the “batter’s eye,” a black screen required in all ball parks after Chicago Cubs fans (ahem!) would sit right in the batter’s line of sight wearing their white shirts when the opposing team was at bat, and change to black shirts when the Cubs were batting. “All the better to see the ball with, my dear.” You knew about this, right? Lots of interesting memorabilia. Loved “the toothbrush” light stanchions.
The GABP is the Reds third ball park. The team started 135 years ago, and from 1912 played at a stadium called Crosley Field (that Mr. Crosley was a great story!), then moved to Riverfront Stadium in 1970, at the onset of “the Big Red Machine” era, then to the GABP in 2003. Our guide asked, “Who is the only guy to have played all three—Crosley Field, Riverfront Stadium, and here?” Puzzled looks and wracked brains among the baseball trivia nuts in our group. Answer: Paul McCartney.
Below decks we passed the room where the umpires get ready and take their breaks, identified with an embossed-letter plaque and—confirming the worst fears of every baseball fan—braille.
We visited the Cincinnati Zoo at night to see the magical Festival of Lights (video clip)—voted #1 zoo lights display in the country–so the only animals we saw were homo sapiens. As to the lights, there are 2.5 million of them. What more need be said? I wanted to ride the little train but was outvoted. Seasonal snax (hot chocolate, s’mores-n-more).
Not to be outdone at the holidays, the Krohn Conservatory has an enchanting indoor display full of toy trains and depictions of the city’s landmark buildings and bridges, created from plant stuff—gourds, seeds, and other natural materials. While its varied greenhouse exhibits would be beautiful at any season, I’m a sucker for model trains, so found lots to enjoy. On display until January 8.
What to Read if You Get Rained Out
- The Machine: A Hot Team, a Legendary Season, and a Heart-stopping World Series: The Story of the 1975 Cincinnati Reds
- Crosley: Two Brothers and a Business Empire That Transformed the Nation