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Of course, the whole reason Trey, Leslie, and I went to Ohio was so that Trey could attend a professional soccer match between the Columbus Crew and the visiting Chicago Fire.

Chicago Fire 1, Columbus Crew 2

I have to admit that I had more fun at the soccer game than I had thought I would. The atmosphere was enjoyably electric, and even the soccer match was unusually exciting so far as soccer games go. (The first goal was scored within the first 9 minutes, preventing the 0-0 tie I was expecting.) The Columbus fans were friendly and reasonably well-behaved, the exception being their children. Those little bastards went largely unsupervised and seemed to enjoy throwing their Pepsi cups and other trash between sections. Clearly, they are future Ohio State University students.

Naturally, with no preference between teams, I chose to root for the Crew. Trey claimed to have no favorite MLS soccer team, but Leslie insisted that he is secretly a Chicago Fire fan. The Chicago fans made the Columbus children look like amateurs, throwing smoke bombs and bottles on the field. There was even a fire in the parking lot after the Fire lost, an event I don't consider a coincidence. I'm sure that Trey felt like he was attending a Philadelphia Eagles game.

So that was my first soccer game. Would I do it again? Yeah. Maybe next time, we can go to a stadium that serves Coke.

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After leaving Sandusky, Trey, Leslie, and I headed south to Columbus. With some time to kill before the soccer game would start, we decided to follow a lead provided by our party planner, Brian. We headed directly towards the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, or as Brian described it, "Jack Hanna's zoo." This nickname is a little misleading; as I was disappointed to learn, you won't find Jack Hanna in any of the cages.

Yeah, we're out there having fun in the warm Columbus sun.

It was well over 90° in the midday sun, and most of the animals were smart enough to be lounging in whatever shade they could find. Naturally, our first objective was the polar bear enclosure.

The polar bears are very pleased that the Columbus Zoo is attached to the Zoombezi Bay water park.

Surprisingly, the polar bear was one of the only animals in the zoo that seemed completely indifferent to the heat. Perhaps that's because they had their own water park, fully stocked with toys and snacks. The other bears at the park, including the sun bear (seen below), had to settle for water misters. Personally, I'd take a swimming pool over a Willy Water Bug any day.

View of the Midway during an Icee break.

The zoo was full of exotic animals I'd never seen before, but from the pictures I took, you'd think it only had bears. There are red pandas, Asian lions, West Indian manatees, and Komodo dragons, to name just a few. But really, the highlight of the zoo was the great apes, the gibbons, gorillas, and bonobos. Many of the zoo's primates are very human, some making a sincere attempt to communicate with the visitors, while others just pointed and laughed. Generally, I'm no fan of the ape, but I have to say that the Columbus Zoo's apes acted more human than some of the visitors.

More pinks in Ohio.

Even with every creature great and small napping, the visit was still very much worth the time and expense ($15 per person, plus $7 parking). In hindsight, I wish we had more time to spend.

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To be continued...

 

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