Candy Land Gone to the Birds at Lake Metroparks Penitentiary Glen Reservation

Lake Metro Nov
Discover fun birding facts, activities and more during an enchanted stroll through Candy Land—with an avian twist—at Lake Metroparks.

By Mimi Vanderhaven

One of Mimi’s all-time favorite holiday traditions has nothing to do with tinsel or tree trimming—though it is jolly, merry and bright.

If you’ve never been to Candy Land Gone to the Birds at Lake Metroparks Penitentiary Glen Reservation, you’re sorely missing out.

Perfect for kids of all ages, teenagers, parents and, of course, moi, anyone taking part will be magically transported into a life-sized reenactment of the beloved childhood board game, but with an avian twist. You are the game piece, moving from space to space through an enchanting holiday display of birds, surrounded by colorful habitats.

Presented by Dollar Bank, the free exhibition kicks off Saturday, November 19 and runs through Sunday, January 1.

“After being on hiatus the past three years due to the pandemic, it feels wonderful to be back,” says Wendy Pittenger, who is the exhibit naturalist. “From strollers to seniors, people keep returning to Candy Land. It’s been going on since 1995, so there are memories to rekindle.”

New this year, she reports they are especially excited about the new outdoor Glen Meadow picnic shelter, where several of the weekend activities take place. People can enjoy scavenger hunts, campfires with s’mores, animal chats and wildlife keeper chats. When the weather turns snowy, you can rent snowshoes, too.

“Birdwatching is one of the fastest growing pastimes and I hope that through Candy Land Gone to the Birds, people get a taste of how fascinating birds can be,” she says. “Stewardship and connection to nature are fostered through appreciating the colorful birds around us. In our Nature Store, we sell nest boxes to get people started in their own back yard. It’s a gateway to realizing the importance of conservation and would make a great gift this time of year.”

Penitentiary Glen Reservation is located at 8668 Kirtland Chardon Road in Kirtland. Candy Land Gone to the Birds opens Saturday, November 19, and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Sunday, January 1. It will be closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Admission is free for all ages and registration is not required. For more information, visit