Noon Year’s Eve at the Zoo

On New Year’s Eve, December 31st, we attended the annual Noon Year’s Eve celebration at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, sponsored by Key Bank. When we arrived around 10:30am, we spoke to Mr. Sam Cario, the Zoo’s General Manager of Events and Experiences. He told us that this event is very well attended each year and that he believed that it gave families with young children the opportunity to celebrate the incoming year as a unit and to have an especially good time while doing so.

We also chatted with Mr. Dave Zajec, an accomplished ice sculptor, who was creating a figure of a Sichuan Takin which was described by the Cleveland Zoo Society as “a species of goat-antelope native to the eastern Himalayas.”

Mr. Zajec told us that there were a couple of Takins featured in the Asian Highland exhibit, so we walked over to take a look and found the Takin to be truly a unique animal different from anything we had ever seen; indeed the goat/antelope resemblance was quite adept but we would add “small water buffalo” to the description too due to its sturdy build.

Around 11:30am, the festivities started near the Zoo’s front entrance with Ms. Cierra Larson of Zone Entertainment leading the attendees in exercises like dancing and clapping to such songs as “I Gotta Feeling”. “I want to see some crazy dancing out there,” called out Ms. Larson, “and if you’re a family unit …HUG”

Just before noon, Dr. Chris Kuhar, the Zoo’s Executive Director, spoke for a few minutes about what a good year 2018 had been for Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. He was proud, and rightfully so, of the new additions of the Asian Highland exhibit and the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Welcome Pavilion. Of course, Dr. Kuhar genuinely beamed as he spoke of the animals that had been recently born in the Zoo like three snow leopards and two rhinos.

Soon, the twelve o’clock time was less than a minute away so we all engaged in a “virtual reality” big-screen activity as we chanted 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…HAPPY NOON YEAR!!! as exploding fireworks flashed upon the monitor as part of a skillful simulation. Yes, the Noon Year had arrived to be followed twelve hours later by the New Year, which we managed to stay awake for due to the re-energizing effect of the movie Bohemian Rhapsody which we watched in the early evening hours (Otherwise we would have dozed off, as usual, watching reruns of the Twilight Zone.)