Spent 3 days driving around Ohio and sightseeing, in my strange way, with Alex for my first vacation of the year. Headed out early Monday for the first stop, Youngstown Ohio. Youngstown is your typical dying rust belt city. Sean had given me a heads up on a few potential exploration locations, and the first stop was the most promising of them – Republic Rubber. Wow is this place wide open. A handful of buildings, with not much, if any, machinery left inside, but your usual decay level and some interesting dumped debris (namely, a 1968 newspaper about Robert Kennedy’s assassination). Spent a few hours there, before heading out when Alex spotted someone that looked like a cop. After ducking aside and deciding what to do, we figured we’d risk it. Then I saw the cop car, ducked aside again. Went over a debris pile towards the street and thankfully the fence had fallen down, so we got out no problem. Sean later told us a cop had rolled up on him too and didn’t care they were on property. Oh well, even if we had know about Sean’s experience, I probably would have reacted the same.
The day was very hot, 93, we were mighty unprepared with no water, and we hadn’t eaten before getting to Republic, so after escaping we found a Chick fil A for lunch before checking out a few more bust locations. First was an old highschool that we bailed on because of cars parked around, and an old coal breaker that no longer exists. So it was off to Mansfield. We were already going to get into town much too late to visit the Mansfield Reformatory that day, but the 2 hour traffic jam because of an innocent looking car accident that closed all 3 lanes of the highway didn’t help. We went by the prison anyway, so pretty, then found a hotel and some food for the night.
Tuesday was the prison. They offer self guided tours Mon – Fri, closed Saturday, and 3 different guided tours on Sundays. Their website said no “professional photography” and no tripods were allowed on the self guided tours, but they offered a “photographer tour” for 4 hours for $150…no thanks. Stuck to the self guided tour and suffered through low light photo attempts with no tripod. There was no sign at the ticket area about the tripod thing, so maybe if I went again I’d try to bring it and see if anything was said.The lady did immediately ask if we were professionals upon seeing SLRs, but I assured here that couldn’t be further from the truth. Hopefully some photos turn out not blurry. The prison is designed more hospital like, with 2 cell block wings and a central admin/warden section, rather than something like Eastern State with it’s wheel and spoke design. It closed in 1990, and several movies have been filmed there, most famously the Shawshank Redemption, and (I was not aware) Air Force One. It is a pretty nice place, and I recommend stopping by for sure.
After a few hours at the prison, we started on our way to Columbus and Taco Trucks. Had a few issues with that – I had mapped out the 3 that Carolyn had gone to last year, but 2 were not present, and 1 didn’t open until 4:30. Arg. Ended up finding one after consulting the internet again, and stopped for lunch. I love Taco Trucks. Had an el pastor (think gyro but with pork only) burrito that was huge and delicious. I had wanted to go back to the 4:30 opening truck after our next stop, the zoo, but in the end we didn’t. The Columbus Zoo is pretty nice, no San Diego, but a decent size with a nice mix of animals (when they were present in their habitats, which apparently none of the various bears were). We only had about 2 hours before it closed, but it was really all the time we needed. It was way too hot to be walking around so much haha.
So then it was off to Cincinnati for the night, stopping for night shots of the Cincinnati Union Station (designed by BCT architects) before having a bit of an adventure trying to find someplace open to eat late (everything closes at 10 which seems super early to me, even if it was a Tuesday).
Wednesday was the other main reason for the trip (1st being Mansfield) – the Creation Museum in Kentucky…
Here is my fair review of the Creation Museum: It’s a pretty nice place, and very well done. Clearly a lot of money was spent, and it is not some half ass hack job like I sorta expected. It’s pretty large, with a large nice garden outside, and sorta lame petting zoo. And it was very busy. Oddly, they had 2 guys outside that looked like Troopers (but were probably only museum hired security) directing parking and pedestrian traffic, then I noticed a public safety vehicle, and once inside 2 more guards with a k-9 unit…really? Are they really threatened that they need all this security? What’s the dog for, to sniff out drugs or bombs? Is someone really going to suicide bomb them? I just was really surprised by it. They really play up the dinosaur aspect of the museum, which in reality should be pretty small – all based on the idea that god created everything, and noah saved 2 of every animal, thus humans lived with dinos and dinos were saved in the flood…It’s really not a big deal, but there are freaking dinosaurs everywhere.
So the exhibits are based on Genesis, (duh) the opinion that god created everything in the last 6000 years, and then all the “proof” from the bible and earth records to support this opinion. What surprised me was that they actually do sort of show both sides of the coin. They had info graphics with one side being “rational man’s thought” (aka science) and “god’s” on the other. So for example they’d have the time line of the universe being created millions of years ago, and it’s evolution to present day, vs the time line of god’s 7 days of creation (7 right? You’d think I’d know this after today lol). I don’t think I’m explaining it well, but they did show both sides of the issue. They probably did conveniently leave things out on the “rational” side of the coin, but…I respect that they had both sides, because I really didn’t expect it and it would have been very easy to not do it. There were some things I had issue with, just because I don’t think the conclusions they drew were valid from their premise, but I’m sure no one else is questioning it haha.
While the wax dummies were pretty bad, the exhibits were pretty professional, almost Disney-esque. There were 2 video presentations that we didn’t watch, and various short video clips that went along with each part of the exhibit. The museum was solely focused on creation and Genesis, and seemed to end abruptly because of it, with few references to Jesus, no real reference to the rest of Christianity, and surprisingly no effort to convert (maybe they think everyone there is already Christian). I actually didn’t find it to be a complete waste of time and money, it was interesting and entertaining. Though I think Alex was angered more than I was, I really wasn’t that angry haha. Just amused.
Here is my Atheist review of the Creation Museum: it’s sort of sad and upsetting that so many people were there, obviously religious people, believing everything that was shown and likely not questioning the “other side of the coin” that was presented. Some of it was very hilarious, like how obviously the wax statues of Isaiah, Moses and King David were made to look stereotypically Jewish, and all the talk about dinosaurs and humans living together. They just won’t let that go!! It’s so completely unimportant! Their attempts to show the scientific side of things was impressive, but I suspect altered or incomplete figuring that no one will question it. And the most important fault of all….the dinosaur with the saddle, because obviously humans rode dinosaurs, was only for children under 12 years old. Gah!
The gift shop was large, and filled with a ton of books…books I didn’t attempt to even look at, because I know those WOULD make me angry, where the museum did not. We walked around the gardens, which are pretty nice, for a bit but again, it was way too hot out lol. Once I get my pics done up I’ll post with commentary, but at this point, this is all I can really think of to say about it.
Headed home after that, deciding not to pursue any exploring in Cincinnati. A fairly easy but long drive home followed, and now I’ve got one more day of vacation left, then back to work. Time to find some food!