Conference World Tour 2014: Alliance of Science-Technology Centers

October 24, 2014

ASTC Exhibit Hall

This past weekend, over 1,700 science education and museum professionals from 42 countries traveled to picturesque Raleigh, North Carolina for the Alliance of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) Conference.  Over five days, participants attended over 110 educational sessions, witnessed dozens of live product demonstrations, were inspired by two compelling keynotes, dined and danced at a "Party Through Time and Space" at the North Carolina Museum of Sciences, walked an Exhibit Hall teeming with product and service vendors and networked with their peers. Check out our full coverage of the conference on Blooloop, and enjoy the photos below. 

Chee-Kuen Kip of Macao Science Center, Tengku Nasariah Ibrahim of Petrosains and Tit Meng Lim of Science Centre Singapore present "The Evolution of ASPAC-member Science Centers: A Future Look".

Tom Zaller of Imagine Exhbitions and Shawn McCoy of JRA present a product demonstration of "Angry Birds Universe: The Art & Science Behind a Global Phenomenon", now touring the Middle East.

Themed Entertainment Association Party at Crank Arm Brewing.  Photo courtesy John Beckman, Museum of Science and Industry - Chicago.

We'll conclude our Conference World Tour 2014 next month at the granddaddy of them all, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo. If you're attending, visit us at Booth 1354, and if you're not, fret not - we'll have daily coverage of all the people, places and events on our blog, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages!

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Meet the Team Monday: Irene Musgrove

October 13, 2014

Irene Musgrove

Irene Musgrove

As readers of JRA+blog know, we love to showcase our fabulous co-ops!  For this Meet the Team Monday, we're chatting with Irene Musgrove, a design student at the University of Cincinnati's School of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP).

Favorite entertainment experience?
Probably when my boyfriend and I went to see Avenue Q in Chicago. During “The Money Song,” the cast actually passed around hats in the audience for people to give them their money. It was hilarious and confusing all at the same time because we weren’t sure if they were being serious. At the end of the show, the cast announced that the money (and the Ventra card!) that the audience donated would actually go to youth theatre and creative arts programs in the city. That was probably one of the best musical performances I’ve ever been to!

I beat a creative block by …
Going for a run! Whether it’s a 12-mile run or a 3-mile run, my mind goes away from design for a while. Then I have “run-piphanies,” or “a-ha!” moments that I put onto paper as soon as I get done with a run.

My favorite part of the design process is …
Sketching! It’s my ultimate way to get all of my initial ideas for solving design problems from my imagination into some sort of physical space. Some of my strongest design solutions came from selecting from an array of initial sketches and developing them into something great.

My favorite exhibit/attraction is …
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville! It progresses through the history of country music up to today in so many engaging ways, including displays of outfits worn by certain musicians and sit-down educational shows. I especially enjoyed the Johnny Cash educational show and seeing an outfit on display that I remember Miranda Lambert wearing for a CMAs performance!

The best idea in the history of mankind was …
Rail Rapid Transit! After living in NYC and San Francisco, where there’s plenty of efficient public transportation options, I’ve come back to Cincinnati wishing that we had something like that. It makes me sad to see so many cars with only one person in them on the Interstates in the morning and realizing how much daily road traffic and air pollution would be reduced if we had rail transit.

Great segue, Irene!  Later this month, we'll be continuing our "Learning Through Side Doors"  blog series by looking at rapid transit experiences, so stay tuned for that!  But for more information on Irene, check out her portfolio at

Thanks for reading!



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Conference World Tour 2014: Chloe's Adventures in Amsterdam

October 10, 2014

Once again, we've called on our international conference correspondent (and JRA Executive Assistant) Chloe James Hausfeld to cover the ins and outs of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions' recent European Attractions Show, which took place in Amsterdam.  Here are her travel tales:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Stopped at my “trusty” candy store, Natalie’s, at CVG. This has become a ritual of mine before trips, much to my dentist’s dismay.

Sour Jelly Bellies were my choice for this trip.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Keith, Linda and I were too early to check in, so we dropped our stuff at the hotel and headed to the Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre to check on the booth…ready to go in our hard hats and boots.

Can I get 5 takers to dress up with me as The Village People for Halloween??

Much deserved refreshments after setup. YUM!

After we had done all we could for the day, we decided to go for a looooong walk throughout the city.

Flower Market - I loved that you could bring tulip bulbs home to plant, since they aren’t in season.

Delft Shop - Beautiful earthenware

 VERY appropriate for our Owner/CEO Keith JAMES…and others ;)

Basilica - Absolutely breathtaking

Central Station – Wish we had more in the states!!

Clock Tower – Perfect lighting

Met up with great friends; Jim Seay, Sara Ingram, and Joanna Guy of Premier Rides & Gina Guglielmi of IRG Intermark Ride Group, for a fantastic dinner at Momo.

Momo – Nothing mixes with great friends, like GREAT food.

Used the famous Grasshopper as a meeting place to finish the night…

The Grasshopper

Monday, September 22, 2014

Linda and I spent the day supervising the JRA being constructed.

The booth ended up looking great. That’s all that matters. Right??

Finished off the day with a stroll through the area surrounding our hotel, and another fantastic meal at BOCINQ.

BOCINQ – Concierge = 2 for 2

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Day 1 of IAAPA EAS ☺

The day began with the Opening Reception that featured an unforgettable video featuring Karen Staley, Vice President of IAAPA Europe.

Opening Ceremony – Lookin’ good, Karen!!


Dad and I ready to greet people at the JRA booth.

Surrounded by two of my favorite men; Keith James (JRA Owner/CEO, and my preferred title…DAD) & Jim Pattison, Jr. (President of Ripley Entertainment)

Day 1 ended with the floor emptying out into a great luau Opening Reception.

Opening Reception – Partyin’ out with my girls; Genevieve Norris of Seabreeze Amusement Park, and Lauren Wood Weaver of Sally Corporation.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Day 2 began with the IAAPA Leadership Breakfast.

Leadership Breakfast – COOOOOOFFFFFFEEEEEE

Another great day at EAS had begun…

Dan Schultz, JRA COO and I are all smiles and ready to go.

The TEA event was held at Madame Tussaud’s after Day 2.

Shawn McCoy, JRA Vice President, Marketing & Business Development, poses with my hubby, Edward Cullen (AKA Robert Pattinson).

IAAPA’s Young Professionals Event was held at The Heineken Experience. Cheers to the next generation of industry junkies!

Heineken Horses – Beautiful stables

We’re hungry now…The Marriott Hotel concierge did it again!!! Who can find a place open for dinner at 10:30PM for 17 people??

Great lap dinner, of delicious steaks, with fantastic people from JRA, Premier Rides, IRG Intermark Ride Group, Ralph S. Alberts Company, Ripley Entertainment, Harbour Park, Sally Corporation, Universal Studios Singapore, and JN Entertainment & Leisure Consultancy.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Day 3 was another success. It’s always bittersweet to end a show.

Had a great impromptu get together with several of the stragglers yet to go home at the “hoppin’” Palladium.



Until next time, Ms. Weaver...

Friday, September 26, 2014

I was lucky enough to have my husband, Eric Hausfeld (Assistant Controller for David J. Joseph Company), come over for the weekend. Dad and Shawn were still in town for the day, so the four of us went back to The Heineken Experience.


We had phenomenal food all week, but there’s nothing like a great burger when your stomach is craving home…

Hello, Hard Rock Café!

After a much needed nap, we hit the streets again.

Reminded me of The Lock Bridge in Paris from EAS 2013.

And, of course, why not finish Keith and Shawn’s Amsterdam trip in the Red Light District?!

The always busy, Old Sailor.

Always a fun night with Roger Berry (Ralph S. Alberts Company).

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Brunch, followed by a tour of the city…what better way to see it, than on one of the famous canal boat tours??

Amstel Hotel – Famous hotel for prestigious clientele.

The bell tower that Anne Frank heard day in, and day out.

Beautiful houses on the water…they don’t just look like they’re leaning…they were built that way!!


Eye Film Museum – Interesting architecture.

Maritime Museum – LOVED the ship!

Decided to stop at the ever-appropriate “Stoop & Stoop”...Eric and my endearing pet name for one another ☺

And boy was everyone right in saying that the line was well worth the wait at the moving Anne Frank Haus.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Our last day was spent with more walking throughout the incredible city.

Vondel Park – Right next to our hotel…not a bad morning stroll.

Vondel Park Café – “Wish we had some of these in the parks by our house back home!

Van Gogh Museum


Loved the street are in Dam Square.

Pretty much impossible to see, but the most brilliant “patio” I have ever seen is in this picture. If you don’t have a yard/porch/etc., why not create one in the form of a drawbridge door?

Finished our trip with an impeccable dinner at De Waag.


Monday, September 29, 2014
Made it home sweet home…

I think Milton was happy to see me.

I am still impressed that I am alive because a week was spent literally tempting fate while dodging all of the different forms of transportation…but, BOY WAS IT WORTH IT!!! Amsterdam is a great city, and I can’t wait to get back there!!!

See you in Orlando!

Tags: Guest Blog , JRA Team , Outside the Studio

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JRA's Newest Team Member: August John McDonald

October 07, 2014

We our happy to announce that CEO Keith James became a grandfather for the second time yesterday at 2:01 p.m. with the birth of August John McDonald. August is 8 pounds, 5 ounces and 20.65 inches of adorable! Mother Alexis (Lexi), father Emmett, big brother Emmett ("Little E"), auntie Chloe James Hausfeld and grandparents Keith and Patti are all thrilled to welcome this new member to their family.  And we at the JRA office can't wait for his first visit.

One can only imagine what theme park and museum experiences he'll be able to have 20 years from now!

Keith and August

August with Auntie Chloe

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Fun Foto Friday: OkTEAberfest!

September 26, 2014

Blogger-at-Large, Clara Rice here!  Last weekend, JRA and the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA)'s Eastern North America Board played host to OkTEAberfest – the first Cincinnati event in TEA history! Over 30 TEA members traveled from as far away as New York, Sacramento, Orlando, Nashville and LA to attend the two days of events, which included Oktoberfest Zinzinnati and the Cincinnati Comic Expo. And we were excited to show them our hometown on one of its busiest (and sunniest!) weekends.

The group began their visit with one of the most highly anticipated Oktoberfest events – the 8th Annual Running of the Wieners! Dachshunds raced across Cincinnati’s Fountain Square for treats, glory, and a case of beer for their owners while adorned in hot dog bun costumes (and occasionally, Tyrolian hats).


Notice her dachshund-patterned shirt.  Genius.

After the races, I was happy to introduce some of our out-of-towners to their first Cincinnati chili experience…

“What a fun event,” said The Nassal Company's Melissa Ruminot, pictured above in authentic Skyline Chili attire. “I was able to get a true sense of what Cincinnati is all about: from the cultural aspects of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, to wiener dog races, Comic Expo, and Skyline Chili. It was fantastic and well worth the trip.”

The afternoon took on a more contemplative note as the group toured the National Underground Freedom Center. Recently celebrating its tenth anniversary, the Freedom Center chronicles the stories of those who fled across the Ohio River in the 1800s, while emphasizing the struggles for freedom that still exist today. The tour, sponsored by The Nassal Company, was co-led by a Freedom Center docent and JRA’s Rob Morgan, offering an informative balance of content and design process.

Following the tour, the group returned to JRA’s office for an informal discussion on the challenges and opportunities surrounding culturally sensitive projects and topics. The panel included JRA’s Dan Schultz, LF Creative Group’s Rodney Heiligmann and The Nassal Company’s Marc Kish.

Friday’s festivities concluded with a JRA-sponsored wine reception at one of my favorite local haunts, the Plum Court Wine Room, followed by dinner in Cincinnati’s newly-revitalized Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. As you can see, folks definitely soaked in the city’s nighttime vistas.

Plum Court Wine Room

Walking through Washington Park on the way to dinner.  At dusk.

Saturday began with “From Page to Park: Transforming Comic Characters Into Blockbuster Attractions”, a panel discussion featuring JRA’s Shawn McCoy and Adirondack Studios’ Michael Blau at the Cincinnati Comic Expo. The panel answered the question, “how do you create an authentic attraction experience from a cherished intellectual property like Harry Potter or Transformers?” Shawn and Michael’s remarks attracted a sizeable crowd, and much to my surprise and delight, several young people in the audience approached me afterwards inquiring about TEA NextGen membership!

From left: Shawn McCoy, Michael Blau, Yours Truly.

After the discussion, the group was free to explore the Comic Expo, and they ran into a few well-dressed characters. Patrick Jeffers, a NextGen member, was even able to have a “Doctor Who” moment.

I myself had one mission – to get a hug from Henry “The Fonz” Winkler…

…Mission accomplished. ☺

The group moved from superheroes to suds on the “Bootleggers, Brothels and Booze Tour”. The tour began at Arnold’s, Cincinnati’s oldest saloon, and meandered its way through Downtown streets before arriving at an authentic, turn-of-the-century brewing cellar (fun fact – before prohibition, Cincinnati housed 2,000 saloons!).

Our tour guide was certainly dressed appropriately for the weekend!

Gerke Brewery Cellar

For the grand finale, attendees were treated to a VIP Oktoberfest Experience, featuring complimentary brews, a German buffet and a prime view of the World’s Largest Chicken Dance, led by former boy banders and Cincinnati natives Nick and Drew Lachey. Some folks definitely got in the Oktoberfest spirit:

Celebrating Oktoberfest (and OkTEAberfest) with Michael Blau.

Teutonic times and beautiful weather were enjoyed by all. “My wife and I had a great time: I got some good business accomplished, and we got to spend time with fantastic TEA folks, including the NextGens,” said Larry Howard of Christie Digital Group. According to newly-minted TEA NextGen member, Hannah Motz, the weekend provided valuable one-on-one time with company members: “Everything from the wine tasting to the Comic Expo were great opportunities to meet professionals in an industry that I am growing to enjoy more and more.”

For additional photos, check out the TEA Facebook page, and stay tuned for news of the next Cincinnati event, coming in Summer 2015!


Tags: JRA Team , Outside the Studio

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