Cincinnati/Newport: 2015


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Saturday, February 21, 2015: At the start of a blizzard, we headed over to Cincinnati for the weekend. Our first stop was going to be our friend Morgan's store, M. Hopple & Co., but it had just been closed due to the bad weather.
Fortunately, there was a Chuy's right across the parking lot and it was completely deserted, something we've never seen happen to a Chuy's before, so we enjoyed some lunch there.
Our next stop was the Newport Aquarium, across the river from Cincinnati in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We were relieved to find that it was still open.
We never grow tired of aquarium tubes.
Look at those fish right over our heads!
We saw Port Jackson sharks, ...
... a scrawled cowfish, ...
... a scrawled filefish, ...
... an emperor angelfish, ...
... a raccoon butterflyfish, and some stripeys. Seriously, that's their name.
We also saw an Achilles tang, ...
... a French angel (slightly less colorful than one we saw in Aruba), ...
... and a Banggai cardinalfish with some sort of hermit crab.
This large, white, squished fellow is a Giant Pacific octopus.
This orange Decorated Warbonnet sure is adorable.
A still life of anemones.
Crab of some sort. Looks delicious!
This was an entire wall of paddlefish.
This gigantic dude is a Japanese spider crab.
These are epaulette sharks.
We had to get a photo of this because this is one of Jill's pet peeves -- getting the terms poisonous and venomous mixed up. Here's some book-larnin' for you, faithful reader.
This red lionfish joins the many others who have been photographed and documented on this website over the years.
Here's a scary-looking Gaboon viper.
This is a big-tooth river stingray. Who knew that stingrays lived in rivers? We didn't until this very moment.
This tortoise with a bizarre head is called a matamata.
Here's a pleco, ...
... and here's a royal pleco. The plain pleco was more impressive, if you ask me.
Here's an electric eel, ...
... and a mugger crocodile.
This very patient alligator is named Mighty Mike. He was nice enough to pose with child after child for photographs.
Here's a better look at how big he is, ...
... and here is making friends with more children.
These spooky beings are Snowball and Snowflake, two white American alligators.
We headed back through another acrylic tube.
We got a good look a a couple of African moonys (moonies?) ...
Here's a puffer or boxfish or something similar, with a few rays in the background.
Who can resist a jellyfish exhibit?
Especially when cool lighting is involved?
These were some of the coolest and best-named jellyfish we've ever seen: upside-down jellyfish.
This tank was huge and had lots and lots and lots of sharks and rays in it. Sharks are awesome.
Penguins! We didn't linger long ...
... because we've seen a lot of penguins around the world.
After our fantastic visit, we stepped outside again, where the blizzard was in full force, ...
... and the ground was now covered with snow.
We checked into our hotel and then went across the street to Ei8ht Ball Brewing, ...
... where we immediately ordered a sampler from ...
... their very extensive menu of beers.
We were joined by our friends Stephanie and Ben, and we had a great time hanging out with them for a while.
After we parted ways, we went off to explore the Party Source, which is the large party supply and liquor store that surrounds Ei8ht Ball. Look at this impressive selection of meads, including our favorite, Viking Blod, front and center.
We found a bottle of Justin Blåbær, a blueberry-flavored Berliner weissbier, from Evil Twin Brewery in Denmark, and last enjoyed with our friend Mike in Raleigh two years earlier.
There was a whole cart of Wilks & Wilson mixers. Debbie used to work with the Wilson half of Wilks & Wilson.
We marvelled at the beautiful rainbow display of party cutlery and napkins, ...
... and again at the display of party decorations. This is now officially Debbie's happy place.
Next up: Hofbräuhaus!
It was time to get our German on, and we certainly did.
After servings of delicious food like this, who had room for dessert?
We didn't, so we got some strudel and Black Forest cake to go.
Sunday, February 22, 2015: No trip to the Newport/Cincinnati area is complete without a visit to IKEA in West Chester. We squealed in delight to see the Icehotel display when we arrived, because we love all things Icehotel.
You can beat IKEA's breakfast deal. It's rare that we can get there early enough to enjoy it.
We were on a mission to buy stuff for our granddaughter, and these colorful sets were on our daughter's shopping list.
In order to get a sense of the actual size of this playtent, Tom was kind enough to pose next to it. Once approved by Jill, it came home with us as well.
After dropping some cash at IKEA, we did some more shopping at Jungle Jim's, then we headed to Oldenburg, Indiana, and visited Wagner's Village Inn.
Their fried chicken was highly recommended by a friend so we enjoyed a delicious family-style chicken dinner before heading home.

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