Cleveland Botanical Garden and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

7/17/13 Wednesday at Wellington, OH (Findley State Park-$27/night)

IMG_0940Our site in Findley State Park.  Very spacious and green.  Of course, part of that is because there aren’t many people here now.

Since the news predicted another heat advisory day (feels like 100 degrees and above), we thought exploring places in buildings (with air conditioning) would be prudent. We also decided to not pack a picnic lunch because we may need to eat it outside in that heat. Thus we began our most expensive day!

On our way into Cleveland, we saw signs that trucks are not allowed on I-90 E (downtown). We’ll have to find out if that includes RV’s. (That night our neighbor explained that it’s because of a weak bridge, so yes our 30,000 lb. Rig would be included. She said it’s not a long alternate route and well marked.)

We ended up parking a couple blocks from the Garden. Later we found out that they do have parking right there, underground. We just needed to follow the signs to the Garden.

IMG_0874 IMG_0878 On our way there we saw this cool building (Peter B Lewis Bldg), part of the Case Western Reserve University. This is all within the University Circle, a cool area with old, low overpasses (no trucks allowed here either).

IMG_0875Cleveland Botanical Garden Glasshouse portion. This is where they represent Madagascar and in another area, Costa Rica, plants and animals (small). The Botanical Garden is $9.50/adult.


IMG_0887Baobob, the world’s largest living water storage tank. 6 of the 8 species are native to Madagascar. Leaves sprout when it’s wet, flowers bloom when it’s dry.


Chameleons change color to communicate with other chameleons, not to blend with their environment. The female will change to black if she is not interested in the male’s attentions. He will leave when he gets that message. Their eyes operate independently of each other: one eye would look forward as the other looked backward. Fascinating. Also, they have 5 fingers on their hands and feet. You’ll notice the “hands” have 2 fingers on one side of the branch, 3 on the other. The “feet” are opposite, with 3 fingers on the side that the hands have 2 fingers.


These tortoises (endangered) are having a chat.

Costa Rica:

IMG_0897 IMG_0898 IMG_0900JuliaD

Didn’t get the name

Blue Morpho.   They had lots of gently floating butterflies in this area. They lend such an air of peace and calm. The Blue Morpho has brilliant blue on the inside of its wings, but was only flying with that part visible, so I couldn’t get a good photo.


Speaking of blue, isn’t this hummingbird beautiful?


Photogenic banana plant.


We took a break from the nice, hot glasshouse, with lunch at their cafe: $6.50 for a salad for me and $6.50 for a ham sandwich for John. Nicely cooled off, we headed out into the blasting heat, to see this lovely reflecting pool.

IMG_0934 IMG_0922 IMG_0924 IMG_0925

Water Lily, Easter Lily and Day Lilies.

IMG_0928Waterfall Garden

IMG_0936In the Topiary Garden. There are lots of other gardens including Herb, Rose, Children’s Kitchen, Inspiration, Woodland and Japanese. Since my camera battery was low, I took fewer photos (to John’s relief), plus we didn’t meander, what with the heat.

Back to release our car from the parking garage for $7. Ouch. All the $13 we got in change were dollar coins! Haven’t ever seen a business use those before. On to Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Thankfully, we found the parking associated with that building ($8 with stamped Hall of Fame ticket). In the garage we just saw signs directing us to the Science center, so we walked outside, in the major heat, looking for the H of F, only to find the Science center! We asked at the ticket booth how to get to the H of F.

P1090003 They showed us a back way, down the escalator, along the water (off Lake Erie) to a back door. Crazy.  By the way, this building was designed by the famous architect I. M. Pei

At the H of F they sweetly accepted my “I’m only 2 weeks away from 65” plea and let me have a senior ticket for $17. John’s adult ticket was $22. Your ticket gets you a colored bracelet for the day.

They have 7 levels, but the best and most is on the Lower Level.

P1090005 P1090004 P1090007Outside of the entrance, though, are exhibits as well. I’m sharing this image of “Rage Against the Machine” van and their instruments because our daughter-in-law, Jamie, really likes this group.

There you can see “The Mystery Train” movie marquee greeting you first. I’d recommend starting there. It gives a nice sense of the early history of Rock and Roll. When you leave the theater, you’ll see write ups on those early influences. There are even spaces where you can choose a group/singer you like, then see who (musically) influenced them. Next is an image of Flea’s (Red Hot Chili Peppers) Electric Bass Guitar. I like that band and John’s brother plays the electric bass in his band.

P1090044 P1090043

Beyond this is a display about Elvis, with a nice documentary showing him before, during and after performances. One major difference we noticed between this Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame (in Nashville,TN) is you hear far more music. This is the 1975 Lincoln Mark IV Coupe that Elvis bought in Memphis to give to Dave Hebler, one of his bodyguards. Notice his EP logo on the door and the TCB logo on the front seatbacks. The day before, he’d bought 13 Cadillacs and gave them to family, friends and a lady who had stopped by the dealership window-shopping for a Cadillac. (The people in Tupelo, MS said he was just naturally generous).


John Lennon’s Acoustic guitar-love the drawings. Their first drummer (Stuart Sutcliffe) was an artist. Maybe he did those drawings. Naturally, one of my favorite displays was of Beatle Memorabilia. Best of all is the documentary, showing the Fab 4 talking about their albums, one at a time. In fact, I told John (impatient to move on) to just go enjoy the rest of that hall, leaving me there to watch this show. Another favorite for us was the movie (30 minutes long) on American Bandstand, where you saw Dick Clark introduce all sorts of singers/artists.

On another floor, I enjoyed the Rick Nelson display and documentary. I’d say there was plenty for all tastes. John pretty much has the same tastes. He also enjoyed the “London” display (Herman’s Hermits, The Kinks). On Level 2 there was a kind of video that consisted of a column of TVs showing different images, at different times, moving in some sort of story, with music that went with it, kind of. It was about how “Video (MTV) Killed the Radio Star” (a song I’d not heard of) and how the Internet killed MTV. Very futuristic set of images from MTV videos, including “Thriller”.

Oh, yes, we learned that they stay open on Wednesdays until 9 pm! So we figured, we didn’t get here until 2:30 pm, that was great news. So we decided to stay until the concert at 7 pm. This gave us time to get an exorbitantly expensive dinner snack ($4 nachos for me, $4 hot dog for John) and watch all those documentarys we didn’t have time for in the beginning. We thought we had 7 floors to cover, we’d hardly get through it all, but found out the upper floors were smaller (note the shape of the building) and had less that interested us. The top 2 floors were primarily The Rolling Stones.

P1090045 As we stepped outside to see the concert, we were hit by a blast of hot humid air. Oh yeah, that’s why we chose to do buildings today! Then we saw Johnny Cash’s personal RV. He wrote in his 1997 autobiography, “I have a home that takes me anywhere I need to go, that cradles me and comforts me, that lets me nod off in the mountains and wake up in the plains: my bus of course. We call it Unit 1. I love my bus. It really is my home too. When I make it off another plane and through P1090047 P1090048 P1090049another airport, the sight of that big black MCI waiting by the curb sends waves of relief through me—Ahh!—safety, familiarity, solitude. Peace at last. My cocoon.” Johnny Cash used this bus for the last 2 decades of his career. He bought the frame of an MCI (40 foot Greyhound bus) and sent it to Land Cruizer Customizer in Columbus, OH. Johnny, June and their son John had their own compartments. He sold it in 2003, just 2 months after June died.

**(50,51) The concert was not materializing at 7:30pm, still setting up, so we decided it was a good idea to just head home. These are shots I took of downtown from between the Hall of Fame and Science Center buildings.

The parking garage was closed, but there was someone there to let us out (whew!). As John is paying, I’m struggling to quickly find Findley State Park in the GPS before he heads out into the street. Thankfully, he knew the general direction to go (I never would have) and the GPS was ready when he needed it.

On our way home, he got hungry. I wasn’t yet (heat, I think). We talked about going to a fast food place in Wellington. Later he said he’d be okay with a sandwich when we got home, since it would be after 8 pm. When we got to Wellington, we spotted a sign on Dimitri’s Corner Diner that said hamburgers were ½ price on Wednesdays. Wow! Couldn’t resist. They were just scrumptious (grilled onions, mushrooms, cheese, lettuce, tomato, fresh beef). Way better than Wimpy’s, for the same total price: $7.50.

When we got home, we got talking to our neighbors, Jim and Karen They had to show us what a cicada looks like. One was smashed in the road, but, even after frying in the heat all day, you could tell how it looked. I’d asked about the sound I heard the other morning. They said these come up out of the ground (leaving ½ inch perfectly round holes) every year. A different kind (with red, buggy eyes) come up every 17 years. Jim figured they would be arriving in this area next year. He’s eager to see it, to witness the deafening sound. I can only imagine. As the light was dying, I noticed embers of light flickering in the grass. Karen noted that, yes, they were fireflies. So lovely. So short a time that they glow. I’m amazed someone would be able to catch them. Karen also told me about red butterflies with white spots (she gave the name, but I forgot) that are all over here right now.

Great ending to a really fun Wednesday!

About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
This entry was posted in Ohio and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s