WHEELING, W.Va. – If you open a map of West Virginia and decide to take a day trip, you can find some unique places. Unusual, unique and sometimes weird and wonderful things can be found in our home state. Our first stop on Roaming West Virginia brought us to Wheeling, located in Ohio County.
Wheeling was founded in 1769. Trading along the Ohio River made it a popular border town and later it was called the capital of West Virginia.
National Road, the first highway in the country, was created by a convention act and reached Wheeling in 1818 from Cumberland. Md. National Road was the main trade route and therefore Wheeling became known as the & # 39; Gateway to the West & # 39 ;. "
People will recognize the wire suspension bridge that spans the Ohio River. The wire suspension bridge opened for traffic in 1849. It was the longest free span bridge in the world. Simply more than 1,000 feet. The bridge still serves local traffic and has been designated as a national monument.
The next stop is Oglebay Resort and the Good Zoo.
The concept for a zoo in Wheeling was conceived in 1971 by Larry and Barbara Good as a memorial to their seven-year-old son Philip. In 1972, money from the Good family, the Wheeling Park Commission Trust Fund, the Federal Appalachian Regional Planning Commission and the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation set up money for the zoo.
The zoo was opened in 1977 and shows animals from North America and endangered species from all over the world. The zoo is one of the few AZA institutions that receives no donations, support from the state, city or province and only works with earned income.
"When we plan the zoo and our exhibits, we try to prioritize endangered or rare species with which we can help, manage in human care or help with conversational programs in the wild," said Joe Greathouse, director from the zoo.
Greathouse said that passion drives the staff to care for these animals. In 2016 the zoo collaborated with West Liberty University on the start of a new major zoo science, in which students were trained to become future zoo managers, curators and educators. The major is one of only four in the United States and the collaboration between the zoo and the university is the only formal collaboration between an AZA-accredited zoo and a higher education institution for such a major.
"The majority of our team is strict here because of the passion to care for these animals, to help preserve these rare species and to teach guests what you can do at home to preserve some of these species," said Greathouse. .
Recalling your childhood memories or making memories with your own children or grandchildren will be easy as soon as you visit the Toy and Train Museum on the Krugerstraat. It is an oasis that moves into a restored Victorian school building. The museum staff said we are all children in our hearts.
"We are completely involved with things, old school types, which we can show" hey, children still enjoy playing with dolls and slot machines and geotracks ", so that's a bit of a break. Many families, which is so nice, "said Lynn Maguire, staff member.
You get hungry after all the sights that you see. So why don't you visit a place known for its burgers? Avenue Eats is located a few kilometers from most important attractions of Wheeling.
Avenue Eats & # 39; Diner Burger, was recognized by Thrillist as one of the "33 best burgers in America." The owners also have a bakery and catering a few blocks away from the restaurant. Desserts such as cupcakes, cheesecake and ice cream also form the menu.
"It is our family business that we decided to create in Wheeling to get a taste of what it could be like to eat in a small restaurant, perhaps outside of a big city." said Laura Graves, co-owner.
"As well as people recognize us for our food, our service is also the best in the region, our servers know our people and our people know them and become an extended family," Graves said.