The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts tagged ‘Zoo’

Chincoteague Vacation – Day 2: Annapolis, MD to Chincoteague, VA

On Sunday, April 7th, at 7:10 am we departed the Best Western Annapolis and continued our drive to Chincoteague, VA.

We crossed over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge about 10 minutes later.

Our first stop at 9:00 am was at the Salisbury Zoological Park in Salisbury, MD.  We arrived just as the zoo was opening.  

Salisbury Zoo – East Gate Entrance

We spent a couple hours walking around this wonderful, free zoo.  I created this slideshow to share with you some of the birds and animals that we saw, while at the zoo.

This was Bob’s first time at the Salisbury Zoo; it was my second visit.  My first visit was more than 30 years ago in August 1982.

Our second stop was for lunch at Subway at the intersection of Routes 13 and175.

After lunch, we crossed Route 13 and took Route 175 to Chincoteague Island, VA.

Our third stop was at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, located on Assateague Island, VA. 

Located on the East Coast along the Atlantic Ocean in Maryland and Virginia, Assateague Island is the largest, natural barrier island ecosystem in the Middle Atlantic states region that remains predominantly unaffected by human development. The Virginia portion of the island is designated as the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with the exception of 448 acres in the refuge’s Toms Cove area maintained by the National Park Service.  These 448 acres are part of the Assateague Island National Seashore.  The Assateague State Park and the Assateague Island National Seashore are located on Assateague Island, MD.  This year marks our fifth visit to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the Assateague Island National Seashore, located on Assateague Island, VA.

Admission to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is $20.00, which is good for multiple days.  We didn’t have to pay the admission fee, as I purchased a National Park Service senior pass in February 2018, when I turned 62 years old.

We rode our bicycles on the Woodland Trail.   The Woodland Trail, which takes you through a pine forest, is 1.6 miles round trip, paved and wheelchair accessible.  The trail is open to both walkers and cyclists.  A couple years ago many of the pine trees were damaged by a southern pine beetle infestation. 

We went for a bicycle ride on the Woodland Trail. This boardwalk leads to an observation platform from which you may see wild ponies.

We looked for wild ponies from this observation platform. We didn’t see any ponies.

Leaving the Woodland Trail, we rode our bicycles on the Beach Access Road to the Assateague Island National Seashore and back to the Woodland Trail parking lot.

 

We saw two horses and riders at the beach.

 

Egrets are popular at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

We watched one egret, as it was hunting, standing immobile or wading through wetlands, to when it suddenly took flight.

Great Egret Hunting

Great Egret, Lift Off

Great Egret in Flight

Great Egret in Flight

We watched another egret standing in a tree.

Great Egret in a Tree

We rode our bicycles a total of 4.16 miles on Woodland Trail and to and from the beach.

We arrived at Tranquil Shores, our Airbnb rental, at approximately 3:00 pm–1 hour before check-in time. Tranquil Shores is located on Chincoteague Island, VA.  I telephoned our host shortly before we checked in to see if an early check in was possible (and it was).  Tranquil Shores was our home away from home for 5 nights.  I will publish a separate blog post pertaining to Tranquil Shores in the near future.

An hour later the car was unpacked.  At 4:40 pm we left to pick up some groceries.  We shopped at Food Lion at the intersection of Routes 13 and 175.  We picked up dinner, breakfast foods, snacks and beer. 

Tonight’s dinner was rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and, for dessert, cheesecake.  We purchased a sampler cheesecake platter, which lasted us through four dinners.

We watched a couple episodes of NYPD Blue and then went to bed. As a side note, we started watching NYPD Blue on Amazon Prime in early February this year.  NYPD Blue is an American police drama set in New York City, exploring the struggles of the fictional 15th Precinct detective squad in Manhattan.  The series was originally broadcast on the ABC network, debuted on September 21, 1993‚ and aired its final episode on March 1, 2005.  Bob says this was one of his favorite TV shows.  We both saw the series, when it aired.   We may or may not have seen each episode, though.  I certainly do not remember each episode’s story line.  There are 12 seasons, 261 episodes.  We watched Season 9 episodes, while on vacation.

Please check back soon for more blog posts about our Chincoteague vacation.

Grandpa Bob and Grandma Linda’s Special Day with Harper

Bob and I spent one-on-one time with our granddaughter Harper this past Saturday.  We like spending time with both of our granddaughters at the same time, but we also treasure the one-on-one times that we have with this as well.  We spent one-on-one time with Harper’s sister, Juniper, in late April.  This past Saturday was special time with Harper.

We picked up Harper at her house around 8:30 am.

We arrived at the Erie Zoo at 10:00 am. The line to get into the zoo was long — longer than I have even seen it.  It was Big Equipment Day at the zoo, but it wasn’t crowded like this last year!  We decided to come back later in the day.

Leaving the zoo, we drove to the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC).  The highlight of our visit to the TREC was being on top of the observation tower.  We rode the elevator to the top of the 75-foot tall tower.

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Harper on top of the observation tower
The bit of blue you see in the background is Lake Erie.

IMG_20170603_104621Harper and I on top of the observation tower
Lake Erie and Waldameer are visible from the top of the tower.
(photo by Bob)

Inside TREC, we quickly walked around the exhibits.  Harper pushed buttons on some of the exhibits and showed some interest in other exhibits.  We probably spent half an hour or less inside the TREC.

From TREC we visited Presque Isle State Park. We made two stops on our drive around Presque Isle: at North Pier Lighthouse and at Waterworks Playground.

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Harper enjoyed walking with us on the pier to the North Pier Lighthouse.

The Waterworks Playground is located adjacent to the Rotary Pavilion and across from Beach 7 (Waterworks Beach).  Bob and I have passed by this playground many times.  I always thought it would be a good playground at which to take our granddaughters.  We didn’t take Juniper here during her one-on-one time with us because it was raining.  It is a very nice playground, but the climbing ropes were somewhat scary for Harper.  A bumble bee flying around didn’t help either!

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Harper on one of several climbing ropes.

IMG_20170603_121130This is all the further Harper climbed.
She was frozen in place.  I helped her down.

From Presque Isle State Park, we drove to the local McDonald’s Restaurant and ate lunch.  After lunch, we returned to the zoo.

It was 1:30 pm, when we made it back to Erie Zoo. There was still a line at the entry gate, but the line was at least a quarter of what it was at 10:00 am.

We had a good time at the zoo seeing the animals, riding the Wildlife Carousel, and riding the train. I put together a slideshow that highlights our day at the zoo.

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Also a video of the zoo train as it departs, with Harper and me on board.  We are in one of the last cars; you should see Harper waving at Bob, who was recording the video.

Please click here, if you are not able to view the embedded video of the Erie Zoo train.

It was 4:15pm, when we left Erie Zoo. We stopped at Country Fair for cold drinks, before making our trek back home.

We returned Harper home at 5:45 pm. Juniper was excited to show me that she got her fingernails painted. While Bob and I had one-on-one time with Harper, Stacey had the same with Juniper. Stacey said that she and Juniper had a good day, except for the hour she spend arguing with Juniper over why she can’t go to the mall. Harper and I had “a moment” too. She was not going to sit with me in the zoo train; she was going to sit behind Grandpa, not me, on our way home.  Harper was mad at me because Grandma wouldn’t let her sit on top of the bronze statue’s head at the zoo. Through no effort on my part Harper did sit with me on the zoo train, and she sat behind me on the way back home.  Life with 5-year-olds….

It was a long, but fun, day.  I think our next family adventure will include both of our granddaughters.

Grampa Bob and Gramma Linda’s Special Day with Juniper

We picked up Juniper, our almost 5-year-old granddaughter, at “Big Grandma” Chris’s house shortly before 9:00 am on Saturday, April 29, and left en route Erie.

In Erie we spent the day visiting the Erie Zoo, visiting the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, driving around Presque Isle and eating a late lunch at McDonalds.

We arrived at the Erie Zoo around 10:20 am. We lucked out by securing a parking space right in front of the main entrance to the zoo. I suspect our luck had more to do with Saturday’s weather (chilly and rainy) than our early arrival. After showing our membership card and ID at the gate, we were admitted into the zoo. We saw all the animals without getting too wet. We only got a quick glimpse of baby Otis (new orangutan) before mama orangutan covered herself and baby with newspaper and a sheet. A highlight of our Zoo visit was seeing a kangaroo and a baby wallaby and its mama on the walking path, rather than far from us behind the wood rail fence.  Juniper rode both the Wildlife Carousel and the train. Bob rode the carousel with Juniper, and I rode the train with her.  I put together this slide show to highlight our day at the zoo.

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This digital slideshow made with Smilebox

Before leaving the zoo, we purchased two bags of cotton candy, one for Juniper and the other for Harper. We spent approximately 1-1/2 hours at the zoo. We might have been there for a longer time if the playground was still there. The playground was removed recently. A new playground will be installed by late May.

From the zoo we drove to the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC). The TREC, which opened its doors in May/June 2006, is the gateway to Presque Isle State Park. Its entrance is across from Waldameer Park.  Bob and I hadn’t been there in a while, and it was Juniper’s first visit. There are more child-related activities there than we remembered. Juniper enjoyed her visit.

As we entered the lobby of the main entrance the first things to catch Juniper’s eyes were three floor-to-ceiling towers.  Each tower was filled with carved wooden scenes about Presque Isle.  Each scene had movable parts!

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Three Towers of Carved Wooden Scenes About Presque Isle

Erie200702_009One of the many carved wooden scenes

The next thing that caught Juniper’s eye was a HUGE fish.

XZ290886Memories and Monsters Exhibit

The “Memories and Monsters” exhibit has the visitor walking through the middle of a HUGE fish into a small theater area.  This exhibit takes you back in time to the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s when things were very different on Presque Isle.

Near the big fish was a hands-on room, especially designed for preschoolers.

_XZ90895Hands-On Activity Room

Do you wonder what everyone is looking at through the windows?

XZ290889There is a bird feeding station outside the windows.
The bird feeding station was visited by a turkey the day we were there.

Before leaving TREC, we stopped at the gift shop. Juniper picked out two streamer toys, one for her and one for Harper. I found a picture of the same or similar toy for sale on Amazon.

When we left TREC, we drove around Presque Isle.

It was after 1:30 pm by the time we completed our drive around Presque Isle. We stopped at McDonalds, located near Presque Isle, for a late lunch.

As we were leaving McDonalds, I telephoned “Big Grandma” Chris to let her know that we were running behind. We were supposed to pick up Harper at Chris’s house and take both girls to “Little Grandma” Sue’s house, where they would be spending the night. The plan was to pick up Harper and arrive at Sue’s house between 3:00 and 4:00 pm. As we were running behind, that wasn’t going to happen. Chris ended up taking Harper to Sue’s house, and we dropped off Juniper there shortly before 5:00 pm.

What a wonderful day we had with Juniper!  We are looking forward to a similar experience with Harper in a few weeks.

 

Equipment Day at the Zoo

Bob and I took our granddaughters to the Erie Zoo yesterday. We arrived at the zoo around 11:30 am. We used our grandparent membership that I purchased recently for admission to the zoo. Grandparent membership provides free admission to the zoo for two named adults sharing a household and all of their grandchildren under 18.

We didn’t know it at the time we planned this trip that it was Equipment Day at the zoo.

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Thanks to Chick-Fil-A,
children received decorative hard hats as they entered the zoo.

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There were several big equipment pieces around for kids to sit in,
honk the horn, and get their pictures taken.

In addition to checking out all the heavy equipment and seeing lots of animals at the zoo other activities included: riding the Wildlife Carousel and running through water spraying out of a sunflower.

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June said that she really liked riding the polar bear
and wants to ride it next time we go to the zoo.

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It was a humid day.  The water was very refreshing.

The girls also played in the 3-floor tower play land.  June surprised me by coming to me to say she was done playing at play land. She had climbed to the third floor only a few times. I suspect the humidity got to her.

Our visit with the orangutans was a highlight of our zoo trip.  The orangutans were somewhat active, moving throughout their enclosure.  The girls got to see mama orangutan, papa orangutan and baby orangutan.

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I believe that if June could have she would have carried this carving home with her.

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Harper and June looking at one of the parent orangutans.

Our last activity was a ride around the zoo on the train.

20160604_183215516_iOS 4x6All aboard!

20160604_184129873_iOS 4x6For the first time we saw a deer and several bighorn sheep, while on the train ride.

What a nice day we had at the zoo with Harper and June!

Erie Zoo Visit

Yesterday was our granddaughters’ Head Start class field trip to the Erie Zoo. Grandma Chris and I accompanied Harper and June to the zoo.

Chris, Harper, June and I arrived at the zoo around 11:15 am.  Here is a map of the zoo that I snipped from the Erie Zoo’s official page.

ErieZoo

We entered the zoo via the Front Entrance.  We walked through the zoo, in as much of a direct path as possible, to the South Entrance.  Directly outside of the zoo is a picnic area.  The field trip included lunch, which was set up at one of the pavilions. Lunch included hot dogs, carrot sticks, potato chips, chocolate chip cookie, and milk.

_LG21718 4x6Eating lunch

We ate our lunch sitting on the ground, in the sun, with Cale and Destiny and their three children.  The oldest of their three children is in Harper’s Head Start class.

We spent the afternoon in the company of Cale and Destiny and their children. Together we climbed mystery mountain, saw the animals, rode the Wildlife Carousel, played in the Children’s Adventure Play Area and rode the train.

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Harper runs across swinging bridge at Mystery Mountain.

_LG21726 4x6The girls enjoyed walking on the rocks at the Children’s Adventure Garden.

_LG21730 4x6Harper and June with Grandma Chris on the Wildlife Carousel

_LG21740 4x6The girls with a couple greater-than-life penguins

_LG21741 4x6Children’s Adventure Play Area

The Children’s Adventure Play Area was very crowded.  I had never seen so many people in the play area!  All five girls had a good time playing inside the multistory play structure.

 

_LG21744 4x6All five girls

_LG21753 4x6All five girls at Kiboka Outpost

13275274_10209371925436720_638930875_oDestiny took this picture of all five girls, holding hands, walking through the zoo.  How cute is that!

Chris and I had a pleasant day at the zoo, and the five girls had a very good time together.

Our Thanksgiving Vacation – First Two Days

Bob and I married in September 1998. Our first Thanksgiving was spent in Virginia with John (Bob’s brother) and Dorothy. During the next eleven years, we would spend five more Thanksgiving holidays with John and Dorothy. Of the remaining six years we spent three Thanksgiving holidays in New Hampshire with Cynthia (Bob’s sister) and Larry, one Thanksgiving Day at my parents’ home, one Thanksgiving holiday in Niagara Falls, Canada, and one Thanksgiving Day at home. Since 1998 each Thanksgiving Day was spent with family, except in 2008. Bob and I ate Thanksgiving Day dinner that year at TGI Friday’s in Niagara Falls, Canada. This year Bob and I spent the Thanksgiving holiday in SE Pennsylvania. We ate Thanksgiving Day dinner at the Concordville Inn Restaurant in Concordville, PA. I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Let me begin at the start of this year’s Thanksgiving vacation.

This year’s Thanksgiving vacation began on Tuesday, November 23. We got an early start to the day. It was not yet 6:30AM when we departed Warren en route our hotel in Concordville, located in SE Pennsylvania approximately 30 miles outside of Philadelphia. Our first stop was in Clearfield at the Dutch Pantry, where we ate a full breakfast. We made only one other stop, for gas, en route our hotel. We arrived at the Best Western Plus Concordville Hotel at approximately 1:00PM. We stayed at this hotel last year, over Memorial Day weekend, when we visited Longwood Gardens for the first time. The hotel is set back from the road with a pond and trees. The hotel is surrounded by busy highways (Routes 322 and 1); however, when on the hotel grounds it feels like you are in the country. Our hotel room was similar to the room we had last year, but larger. The room we had last year was large too, so this room was especially large! The bathroom was large too. It had a shower AND a jacuzzi. The jacuzzi was not expected; it was a nice bonus! Furnishings included a king-size bed, two night stands, a chair with an Ottoman and a side table, love seat with small coffee table, color TV sitting atop a 3-drawer dresser, a desk and chair, microwave, refrigerator and sink. Our room was located on the fourth floor at the front of the hotel.

This was the view from our hotel room.

The hotel lobby was decorated for Christmas.

The hotel lobby was decorated for Christmas.

We relaxed in our hotel room until approximately 3:15PM, when we left for dinner. We ate dinner at Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant. We each ordered Chicken Parma (breaded chicken filets topped with Pomodoro sauce, fresh basil and melted provolone over spaghetti), served with a side salad and rolls. Bob had one beer; I drank ice tea. The staff kept apologizing for the chaotic state in the restaurant. We didn’t notice anything unusual. Apparently some of the waitresses were sent home early, as it wasn’t busy. Soon after they left, it got busy. Our meals were delicious. We felt that the service was excellent. We felt well looked after! We spent rest of the evening, after dinner, relaxing in our hotel room.

On Wednesday, November 24, we enjoyed a complimentary hot breakfast at our hotel. We each ordered a made-to-order omelet, along with bacon or sausage. A host of other breakfast goodies were available as well. After breakfast we drove to Brandywine Park in Wilmington, Delaware. The park is located less than 20 miles from the Best Western Plus Concordville Hotel. We enjoyed a walk along the Brandywine River, while we waited for the Brandywine Zoo to open.

I like how the sun’s rays show through the branches of the tree and how the sunshine makes the water glisten.

Brandywine Park waterfall

One of several bridges that cross the Brandywine River

Josephine Fountain

There are many, many Japanese cherry trees on the grounds behind this fountain. I would love to return to Brandywine Park in the Spring!

The zoo opened at 10:00 AM. Brandywine Zoo dates from 1905; it is Delaware’s only zoo. The zoo is small, and admission was only $4.00 each. According to its website, the zoo is home to 150 animals. It is a nice zoo; however, I did not find it conducive to taking photographs. Each animal was housed in a cage. I find it difficult to photograph an animal through bars and exclude the bars in the photograph!

Our Thanksgiving Vacation - First Two Days
(click on image to enlarge)
Top row (l-r): Andean Condor, Swift Fox, Serval
Middle row: Pygmy Goat, Llamas, Rhea
Bottom row: Capybara, Wood Duck, Bobcat

Soon after leaving Brandywine Zoo four helicopters appeared in the sky above us.

CBS-3 Philadelphia Helicopter

At first we didn’t know what was going on. We soon learned that a tractor-trailer had overturned on Interstate 95, spilling its load of gravel on the roadway.  Not wanting to be involved in a traffic snarl, we decided to explore more of Brandywine Park.

The Sugar Bowl

The Sugar Bowl, so named because of its lid-shaped domed roof, was originally constructed in 1902. It once stood as the entrance to the Brandywine Zoo. The Sugar Bowl is being reconstructed.

Vietnam War Memorial

We are thankful that when we left Wilmington that we had no traffic problems. We ate a late lunch at McKenzie Brew House in Concordville, PA. Bob enjoyed a couple brews, while we dined on McKenzie wedges and a wood oven pepperoni pizza.

a McKenzie Wedge

Wood Oven Pepperoni Pizza

We returned to our hotel after lunch. We spent rest of day in our hotel, relaxing. We didn’t have to go out for dinner, as we had leftover Chicken Parma from Tuesday’s dinner in the refrigerator.

In my next blog post, I’ll write about how we spent Thanksgiving Day.

Wild Woods Animal Park

On Sunday (September 19th) Bob and I visited Wild Woods Animal Park in nearby Clarendon (Cherry Grove), PA. We visited the animal park with Bob’s daughter, Stacey; Stacey’s boyfriend, Mike; Mike’s parents; and Stacey’s mother and stepfather. According to its website, Wild Woods Animal Park “is a biological park (infancy stages) nestled in a haven of natural woodlands that is dedicated to the continuing survival of wild species through education”. All of the animals in the park appear to be well taken care of and loved by John and Pam Pape.

John and Pam took us on a private tour of the animal park. At each animal enclosure the animals were fed, and John and Pam provided information on each animal. What I liked most about this animal park was the interaction between wild animals and John and Pam.

One of Three Black Bears

Porcupine

Gray Wolf

John Pape and Raccoons

Two Skunks

An Aadvark

Pam Pape with Bobcat

John Pape with Priscilla, a white Siberian/Bengal Cross Tiger
Priscilla was born in early August, this year.

John Pape and Priscilla

 

Wild Woods Animal Park is home to the annual Seneca Native American Festival. The fifth annual festival was held this year during Labor Day weekend. Bob and I have not yet attended this festival; however, we definitely hope to attend the festival sometime.

If you live in the Warren, PA area or if you ever find yourself in this area, a visit to Wild Woods Animal Park is a must. You will not be disappointed!

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