Monday, September 19, 2016 – Today our staff had a private tour of the new Perkins Wildlife Center with beloved Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH) staff member, Harvey Webster, Director of Wildlife Resources. By the end of the tour, we had affectionately renamed him Cleveland’s Dr. Doolittle!
This new permanent exhibit is Phase 1 of the museum’s march towards it’s centennial celebration (100th birthday is in 2020), and The Plain Dealer’s art and architecture critic, Steve Litt, flatteringly called this new space “the best 2 acres in Cleveland.”
Admission is included in the cost of your ticket into the museum, and the new center fills a spot that was dead space for years – the hillside behind the museum that towers over the winding boulevard of MLK, Jr. below. The elevated wooden walkways are at tree top level, provide amazing views and are fully accessible as you stroll past the live animals in the museums collection. All animals here are rescue animals. Many were wounded and nurtured back to health with human intervention and were too tame or injured to be released back into the wild. Three of the four coyotes in the exhibit were delivered by c-section on the side of the highway by a vet after their pregnant mom was killed by a car!
Perkins features animals indigenous to Ohio including bobcats, otters, birds of prey, porcupines (one with the clever name of Sir Lancelot), red foxes, coyotes, raccoons, rabbits and owls.
And while finding parking in University Circle is often challenging, the museum added a 300 space parking garage to their site, helping enormously with the ease of finding a space quickly.
Another new feature is the beautiful artwork by Viktor Schreckengost, who sculpted a mammoth and mastodon into a 32 ton terra cotta tile. It was displayed at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo until 2008 when they redesigned their elephant exhibit and gifted the sculpture to CMNH. It now hangs above the MLK, Jr./E. 105th intersection as a giant welcoming sign into University Circle. And in one of those wonderful book-end stories, John Nottingham of Nottingham Spirk, who designed the current CMNH logo with the swooping letters that reflects a long necked dinosaur, was a student of Viktor’s at the Cleveland Institute of Art! So the master and the student appear on the same piece of art reflecting 100 years of creative design in CLE!
So while the museum itself has 7 million objects in its permanent collection that are an encyclopedic overview of the biological and cultural diversity of our earth, Perkins is the newest gem that will entice even those who have been dozens of times to return for a visit. And if you are a newcomer to NE Ohio, this is the perfect 1-2 hour stop to entertain your kids (4 seasons a year) if you don’t have the time or energy to do a full day trip to the zoo.
If you’d like to learn more about how Executive Arrangements can share the latest info on all things NE Ohio with your out of town recruits or new hires, call us at 216.231.9311.