For those of us living in the snowy lands of northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, the rainforests of Costa Rica may seem very far away.
And the deserts of Namibia? That’s even farther.
For the last two decades, the Metroparks of the Toledo Area and Maumee Valley Adventurers have offered a chance to escape the winter doldrums with an annual Travel Circle series. Every Saturday for the next 13 weeks, local presenters will share their travels to far away lands and exotic destinations.
"It’s a very simple idea. It’s just kind of an old-fashioned, ‘Let me tell you about my summer vacation,’” said Scott Carpenter, Metroparks spokesman. “ … I’m always astounded of where people I know have been and I didn’t know it.”
Tim Kreps, a retired Sylvania schools teacher, is to start the series at the Oak Openings Lodge with photos and stories from his trip last winter to southern Florida. Included in his presentation will be his face-to-face encounter with a juvenile manatee while snorkeling.
“I just think they’re a high-quality winter activity that brings people out,” Mr. Kreps said of the Travel Circle series. “This will be a chance to get down into southern Florida where there is sun, beaches, and sparkly blue-green water.”
The free program is organized by the Maumee Valley Adventurers, formerly Hostelling International/Toledo Area Council. The group is a hiking, biking, and travel club and offers a one-hour hike or cross-country skiing prior to the 2 p.m. Saturday presentations.
Mary Lou Leonard, who organizes the series, said that spectators come to learn about a place they’d like to visit, have already been, or know they may never otherwise see.
And because of the series’ informality — coffee and hot cocoa are served — people can ask questions about their possible next great adventure.
“It’s just fun,” she said.
The travel series includes:
● Saturday: Manatees and the Wonders of Southern Florida by Tim Kreps. Oak Openings Preserve, Oak Openings Lodge.
● Jan. 12: Namibia, Desert Paradise by Richard Weisfelder. Wildwood Preserve, Metroparks Hall.
● Jan. 19: Bicycling In Ireland by Bill Hoover. Oak Openings Lodge, Buehner Center.
● Jan. 26: From St. Petersburg with Love by Tatia’na Gorbuno’va. Wildwood Preserve, Metroparks Hall.
● Feb. 2: Germany and Austria, “The Sound of Music” by Judy Pfaffenberger. Oak Openings Preserve, Lodge.
● Feb. 9: Costa Rica, PURA VIDA: Adventure amid the Beauty by Rose and Andy Kandik. Wildwood Preserve, Metroparks Hall.
● Feb. 16: Cuban Spirit by Bill Potvin. Oak Openings Preserve, Buehner Center.
● Feb. 23: 18 Wheels of Adventure by Scott Grenerth. Wildwood Preserve, Metroparks Hall.
● March 2: Cruising the Mexican Riviera by Connie Bauer. Oak Openings Preserve, Buhner Cen-ter.
● March 9: The Nature and Culture of Wild India by Sally Albert. Wildwood Preserve, Metro-parks Hall.
● March 16: Japan — Temples, Shrines, Mountains & Seahorses by Dian DeYonker and Jim Hawkins. Oak Openings Preserve, Buehner Center.
● March 23: Kenya by Mindy Cross. Wildwood Preserve, Metro-parks Hall.
● March 30: Canoeing in the Minnesota Boundary Waters by Larry Lindsay. Oak Openings Preserve, Buehner Center.
Contact Erica Blake at: email@example.com or 419-213-2134.