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About the Podcast:

In the excitement of seeing an articulated Tyrannosaurus skeleton looming menacingly overhead, observing a majestic tiger slipping through foliage in its habitat, and experiencing the adrenaline rush of a thrilling roller coaster, it’s easy to overlook the work that went into bringing these attractions to life.  Countless hours are lovingly put into each attraction, from the first boardroom brainstorm sessions to the detailed artist renderings to the precise engineering blueprints to first breaking ground to cutting the ribbon.  This podcast is dedicated to bringing these stories to light and celebrating the effort and achievements of the people involved in making these visions a reality.

About the Host:

I grew up in Northeast Ohio with some of the best attractions and institutions at my fingertips: Cedar Point, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and the Cleveland Museum of Art, just to start.  Just a car ride away were the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, COSI, the Museum of the United States Airforce, and the Union Terminal Museum Center in Cincinnati.  Occasional trips to Florida to visit relatives usually involved a visit to Disney World, SeaWorld, or the historic attractions in Saint Augustine.  And my college years included many trips to museums, zoos, and parks both in Ohio and several other states.

But the story of this podcast begins with my first trip to the Georgia Aquarium, in February 2010.  Looking for a meaningful souvenir, I decided on a book called “Bringing the Ocean to Atlanta”.  I became engrossed in the book.  Its large, full-color illustrations of the Aquarium before it was an aquarium, as well as the hard work and careful planning involved in acquiring and supporting the thousands of animals in its care just blew my mind.  The book mentioned a consultant called PGAV Destinations.  I looked up their website and was amazed – people actually got to design and build aquariums, zoos, and museums for a living!  

A year later, I visited the Union Terminal Museum Center with my grandparents.  Once upon a time the Union Terminal was the hub of the Midwest, trains constantly in and out to reach distant corners of the country.  Decades after the railroads fell out of favor, the city renovated the building into three full-sized museums, an archive, and an IMAX theater.  And because of its size the developers could push the exhibit design to the limits.  I went hoarse in my excitement of seeing a full-sized riverboat floating at a dock and then walking through a realistic replica of an intricate cave system – complete with a habitat full of honest-to-god, living, breathing bats.  I wanted, more than anything, to be an exhibit designer and blow people’s minds and touch their hearts, just as mine were.

This podcast is one way for me to live out this dream.  It is such a privilege for me to meet these wonderful, creative people and institutions and be privy to their stories and secrets of the trade.  I love working on this podcast, and I hope you enjoy listening to it.  If you learn something, if you find new appreciation for the behind-the-scenes origins stories, if you’re inspired to visit and support your local attractions, then I consider my job well done.

Thank you so much for joining me.  I’m glad you’re here to learn and explore alongside me!