The Good Zoo (named after Philip Good) is Wheeling's zoo. It is located in the Oglebay park/resort complex just outside of town. It has both indoor and outdoor sections. Indoors, it has a sloth, frogs, tortoises and a skink. Outdoors it has a number of other animals including a red panda, ostrich, lemur, ocelot, otter, bear, and wolf, as well as farm animals and deer. In addition, the indoor section of the zoo has a model train exhibit and the outdoor section has a train that children can ride. The indoor section of the zoo also shares a building with a planetarium, which has regular shows.
The Oglebay Mansion is the former home of Earl Oglebay, who founded the Oglebay Norton company. When he died in 1926, Mr. Oglebay left the mansion and the surrounding farm (Waddington Farm) to the City of Wheeling for use as a park, now known as Oglebay Park. The mansion is open to the public as a museum, with its rooms still decorated in furniture from the period when the Oglebay family lived in it. At Christmas, the mansion's rooms are decorated for the holidays.
The glass museum at Oglebay features exhibits of glassware, porcelain, and decorative glass items that were manufactured in Wheeling in the surrounding area during the 1800s and 1900s, when Wheeling was the center of one of the leading glass manufacturing areas in the United States. In addition to the exhibits, the museum also has a workshop where live glassblowing demonstrations are performed. On the floor above the museum is a shop named Carriage House Glass, where you can buy contemporary glass items manufactured in West Virginia.
In the Market area of south Wheeling, Independence Hall is this landmark and museum remembering the turbulent conditions which allowed for the creation of a separate state of West Virginia. The people of the mountains west of the Appalachian Chain never did feel that they had much in common with the people in the valleys and plains of Eastern Virginia. Independence Hall was originally built by the Federal Government in the 1850s to be a regional center for the supervision of commerce and trade, but it served as the headquarters of what was first a provision government, and later the capital of the new state of West Virginia. The photo is from "Statehood Day" celebrations in June 1993 - for more, see my travelogue which bears the same name.
Today, US 40 follows the National Road, orginally built is the early 1800's. As a major crossing point along the road, Wheeling has a museum and the remnants of the road. Also, it has the remaining old bridges. This would have been a ferry point, later converted to bridges. The suspension bridge was built in 1849, making it an early addition to the road. The Bridgeton Bridge dates from 1893, thus being a later addition.
In November and December, dozens of holiday light displays are put up around the Oglebay Resort/Park complex. For $10 per car, you can drive around the area and see them. Our daughter Anna loved it.
The best way to see it is to spend the afternoon seeing some of Oglebay's other sights (zoo, glass museum, mansion museum) and then do the lights. That way you are already in the complex, and won't have to wait in the long line of cars that usually forms to get into the light show.
From the official "Palace of Gold" brochure:
"Overlooking Hills and Valleys, Prabhupada's Palace of Gold is reminiscent of a heavenly land. High atop the Appalachian foothills, healthy mountain air carries the sweet fragrant of countless flowers. Only the most sensational varieties of flowers decorate this royal pleasure gardens. Over a hundred water fountains gently splash the cares of the world away. You can even see a swanboat along the man-made lakes."
All this for the low price of admission: when I was there it was just $4.00 for a tour.
The "New York Times" has called Prabhupada's Palace "America's Taj Mahal."
The Palace is open daily for tours by the public. Strolling in the gardens, you can imagine that you are in the foothills of the Himalaya's, and not just a few minutes away from the West Virginia State Penitentiary.
Would you believe that there is a major Hare Krishna temple just outside Wheeling WV? The "New Vrindaban Community" has created an amazing center of Hare Krishna spirituality in the hills of West Virginia.
Prabhupada was a significant Indian holy man who traveled far and wide, seeking the fulfillment of his dream of perfect Consciousness. He helped to establish the New Vrindaban Settlement here in 1968, hoping to seek his dreams brought into reality. Originally, this site was literally used as a dump, but over the course of the last 30 years it has gradually been transformed into the edenic garden that it is today.
Who'da thunk it?
Just north of downtown Wheeling, on SR 2 (Main Street), is a district of impressive brick townhomes, most of which have been restored and renovated. There are some shops and restaurants interspersed among the residences.
This was my neighborhood when I lived in Wheeling in the early 1990s.
If you come to Wheeling, viewing the beautiful Victorian Homes is a must!. Make sure you bring your camera.