Kick off to summer

WHEELING, W.Va. – – Oglebay Institute invites area families to kick off the summer season with a day of family fun and creative expression.

Free and open to the public, “Summer Kick Off 2011” takes place from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Saturday, May 14 at the Schrader Environmental Education Center in Oglebay. Activities include arts and crafts for kids, nature scavenger hunts, campfire and storytelling, glass making demonstrations and a performance of the children’s classic “Aesop’s Fables.”

The first 100 children in attendance receive a drawstring backpack or a lunch bag, as well as a free day pass to Fort Rapids Indoor Waterpark in Columbus.

Organizers say the annual Summer Kick Off celebration is Oglebay Institute’s favorite way to start off the summer season.

“The enthusiasm of the children inspires our staff and gears everyone up for an enriching summer,” Oglebay Institute Director of Marketing Misty Klug said. “This event helps raise awareness about the many ways in which OI is a community resource for families and gives the public an opportunity to experience some of our programming for free.”

Oglebay Institute President Kathleen McDermott added, “We offer a variety of family entertainment and enrichment programs that are very affordable, which is very important during these difficult economic times.”

McDermott said the Institute offers many children’s programs for $10 or less such as nature pre-school days and children’s theatre productions, just to name a few, and programs such as astronomy nights, snake shows and guided nature walks costs as little as $3. She added that summer day camps in art, nature, dance and theater are also affordable, and scholarships are available to help those in need.

“You don’t have to pay big city prices to get big city entertainment,” she said. “By inviting the community to this annual celebration we hope to entice new people to discover all that we have to offer in terms of family entertainment and personal fulfillment.”

Refreshments will be available for purchase at this free family event, and guests can bring a blanket for a picnic on the lawn. Live music and prize drawings are also part of the outdoor fun. OI staff members will be on hand to answer questions about educational and recreation opportunities available through Oglebay Institute as well as inform the public of scholarship opportunities available to participate in the Institute’s summer day camp program.

Oglebay Institute instructors will lead the activities during the Summer Kick Off, which include:

Metal Tooling: Learn about the folk art technique of metal tooling. Using wooden tools, children will press designs into thin sheets of metal to create original pieces of textured art.

Fish Mosaic: Use mosaic tiles in a variety of colors and patterns to design and assemble your own underwater creature.

Campfire and Storytelling: Walk a short distance along the A.B. Brooks nature trail into the woods to the campfire circle to enjoy singing, story telling and marshmallow roasting.

Hot Glass Roadshow: Visit the mobile glass studio and view the artistry of this lost art as skilled glass workers transform molten blobs into beautiful pieces of art glass right before your eyes!

Colors of Nature Scavenger Hunt: Learn more about the natural world as you explore the trails and gardens surrounding the Schrader Center. Stop at activity stations along the way to learn fun facts from nature educators.

“Aesop’s Fables,” performed by Oglebay Institute’s Postage Stamp Players in the lower level of the Schrader Center.

This fun, fast-paced production puts a modern and creative twist on Aesop’s Fables by mixing popular fables such as “The Tortoise and the Hare” and lesser-known fables such as “The Mules and the Robbers.” The lively characters and imaginative storylines all contain an inspiring life lesson to which children can relate.

“Everyone is invited to this community celebration,” McDermott said “Whether you are an Institute member, a regular participant or have never been to any of the Institute programs or events, we hope that you join us for this fun-filled day.”

Located in Wheeling, Oglebay Institute was founded in 1930 through the vision of the Oglebay family. OI offers cultural, educational, environmental and recreational programming for personal and professional growth. The six facilities which encompass OI include: the Glass Museum, the Mansion Museum, the Stifel Fine Arts Center, the School of Dance, Towngate Theatre & Cinema and the Schrader Environmental Education Center. OI also operates Terra Alta Mountain Camp in Terra Alta, West Virginia.

In the event of rain, Summer Kick Off will be moved indoors. For more information on this event, summer camps or any of the activities of Oglebay Institute, call the customer service staff at the Schrader Center at, 304-242-6855 or visit online at