Showing posts with label Gardens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gardens. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Brookgreen Gardens: Lowcountry Zoo

Date of Visit: March 18, 2024

Brookgreen Gardens is a place I have been wanting to take Mik to since we moved to Myrtle Beach almost 4 years ago. When my godmother came to visit us, we made it one of our top priorities of things to do during her visit.

We decided to do the Lowcountry Zoo area first. There are different parking areas and you can park near the farm/zoo area, but we parked in the main parking by the museum shop and walked/rolled over to the animal exhibits. This allowed us to at least see some statues and the garden areas along the way.

We ended up at the farm area as they were getting ready to go through the zoo area and feed the animals. We did not specifically go on the tour as Mik wanted to go at our own pace, which was faster or slower than the tour depending on the animal area.

Mik was glad he did not use his powerchair when we got to the aviaries. It was a tight squeeze to go in with only one door open, but we had plenty of hands and could have easily opened both if needed. His powerchair would have been totally fine for this outing, but I only convinced him to go if we took the manual and he could have his hands free to take photos.

We enjoyed being in the Cypress Swamp Aviary when they fed the birds.

Mik did not so much enjoy getting pooped on by a bird, but at least it mainly ended up on his wheelchair frame by his brakes and casters and not him. Mik pretty much always has wipes in his bag, so we easily cleaned it up after we exited the aviary.

We then took some time watching the otters while the feeding tour moved on. We then ended up ahead of the tour when Mik wanted to quickly go by the stinky foxes. Also, the way the barriers were for the foxes and some of the rest of the enclosures made it hard for Mik to see over/through to see anything, which kind of annoyed him.

While in the Birds of Prey area, we again joined the tour and learned about how the eagles were rescues. The tour ended after this area. It includes the alligators seasonally, but it was still too early in the year for them to be fed, which was actually interesting to learn about their torpor state (later learned the guide used wrong word for the winter dormancy and it’s actually called brumation) more than watching them fed.

By this point Mik was ready to go because he was cold (hands instead of his usual feet and it was my fault for leaving home his gloves that he recently bought to stay in his backpack). Since we were mostly through the zoo, we continued on the trail and went through the Waterfowl Aviary and past the Red Wolf Ridge (none were out easy to spot here) as we headed back to the truck.

The Waterfowl Aviary was our favorite. In particular, Nora and I enjoyed identifying the different ducks and adding some new lifers to our bird lists. I especially had been wanting to see a Ruddy Duck.

Overall it was an enjoyable morning visit. I would have liked if we could have had lunch and stayed longer, but Mik was done for the day because he hurt from sitting in his wheelchair, which we think is from the seatbelt not being able to be tight enough to keep him positioned well (really should have paid attention when Dad adjusted it for him this winter as it seems it needs to be adjusted seasonally). If we had bought tickets, we could have gone back again another day that week and definitely would have, but we had used guest passes which they take when you enter. Hopefully, another time we can go back and see more of the actual garden areas and the statues that are throughout. Definitely plenty more to see and good easy paths for the either the manual or power.

Destination Info:
Brookgreen Gardens
1931 Brookgreen Drive
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576

Saturday, February 10, 2024

McKee Botanical Garden

Date of Visit: January 10, 2024

McKee Botanical Garden was Mik's pick of attraction for last year's Vero Beach trip, but we did not get around to going. Making sure we visited this year was a priority considering Mik was hesitant about the whole family trip this year because last year he felt like he did nothing, which was rather true.

We started our visit to the McKee Botanical Garden with the Hall of Giants, which turned out to be a good place to start as it provides some history of the place. The table make from a piece of wood is also impressive.

Mik liked the nearby Spanish Kitchen, which had a grill that could cook a lot of steaks (100 or something like that, I think) at once.

Next we began walking the paths to find all of the different bird sculptures part that were on display around the garden for the "A Tropical Flock of Avian Avatars" exhibit. We found the paths through the garden easy enough to navigate as mostly packed gravel, but there was some going in the grass and dirt for the sculptures.

The "Sanctuary" sculpture was one of the ones you could walk through. Approaching it Mik did not think he'd be able to go inside, but it was plenty wide enough.

The "Platinum Peahen" was another one you could walk through. This one was do able, but it was a little room for error on the ramp. It probably would have been fine if they had just made that whole entrance a ramp and not partially stairs.

"Lift Off" was over one of the bridges in the watery maze area of the garden.

Mik's favorite part was the colorful Cortada columns.

Overall we enjoyed strolling through the McKee Botanical Garden. In particular, we enjoyed finding the different bird sculptures. Without those, though, not sure it would have been a worthwhile visit as it felt more like just walking through a park rather than a botanic garden as I expect more signage and information to learn about the plants when visiting a botanic garden and there was pretty much none.

Destination Info:
McKee Botanical Garden
350 US Highway 1
Vero Beach, FL 32962

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

U.S. Botanic Garden: Seasons Greenings 2022

Date of Visit: December 20, 2022

This year the Seasons Greenings exhibit had the best format for the trains and the buildings, but it disappointed us with the actual layout of the trains and theme.

We really enjoyed the trains remained outside. However, it was more of a compact design and seemed to have less trains or at least they were mostly longer loops so it was awhile between seeing a train in each area. The main disappointment, though, is that it was the same farming theme as last year with nothing new for the theming and actually seemed to be less.

We also didn't like that the path around the trains was all off the regular paths. While they did have a mat path that made it easy to roll on, the mat did not fix the issue of it not being level, so I had to be careful where we stopped because Mik felt like he would tip over sideways at parts.

We really enjoyed the DC landmark buildings being back inside in the Conservatory. Made it much easier to see them than the windows last year.

Mik's favorite was Union Station, which we're not sure if we've seen before or not.

Before heading back to the hotel, we attempted to check out the Capitol Christmas tree as Dad told us they had finally fixed the issue of not being able to roll up to it by adding a path. However, we were unable to get on to the path because the barricades weren't open wide enough for the wheelchair.

Destination Info:
United States Botanic Garden
100 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20001

Thursday, December 2, 2021

U.S. Botanic Garden Holiday Train Display 2021: Farming Around the World

Date of Visit:
November 30, 2021

Last year we missed our tradition of visiting the holiday train display. Even though we had moved, we had hoped to visit DC during the holiday season and also continue the tradition of seeing Charles Esten at The Birchmere. Charles Esten did play a show, but we did not really miss the trains as they did not do it last year. This year we were able to do both again, although we thought we might again miss the trains as it was not announced until a few weeks before Thanksgiving.

It was different this year as only the outdoor gardens are open, but the train display part being outside is somewhat better. It was easier to go around and see the trains and buildings. The trees of the garden also add to the scenery. Because it is outside and it's winter, though, Mik was cold and ready to go after a few minutes (we had already spent over an hour outside walking there and at the new Dwight D. Eisenhower memorial) and I would not have even been able to spend much time looking around if Dad had not gotten distracted talking to his co-worker who was working that day.

The window displays were disappointing as they were hard to see. Also, hard to compare to how they normally are laid out inside similar to their locations on the National Mall. Dad and I did go back the next day around 4pm to see the lighted displays and they look much better that way.

Lastly, of course, we managed to get a traditional Christmas photo with the Capitol model.

Destination Info:
United States Botanic Garden
100 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20001

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

U.S. Botanic Garden: Seasons Greenings 2019 - America's Gardens

Date of Visit: December 4, 2019

In honor of the US Botanic Garden's upcoming 200th anniversary, this year's Season's Greenings theme is America's Gardens. This year turned out to be probably our least favorite we've seen, but we were happy the Christmas tree is back in the West Gallery and impressed with the Biltmore Estate display there.

We found the different buildings representing gardens and conservatories around the country interesting, but for some reason it didn't seem as if there was as much to look at as usual.

The miniature representing the World's Largest Concrete Gnome in the Reime Gardens in Ames, Iowa was one of the more interesting models.

My favorite was the Carillon from Evening Island, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois.

We also liked the Bartholdi Fountain (US Botanic Garden) model.

Mik could go in this year's tunnel. He didn't want to, but I made him and it was one of the coolest displays with a moon landing model.

Another of our favorites was the Singing Tower (Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales, Florida).

After two years of there being no tree, it was nice to see the tree in the West Gallery back.

The Biltmore Estate model in the West Gallery was the highlight this year.

Of course, we had to get the traditional photo of Mik in front of the Capitol in the Conservatory.

While the theme was our least favorite of the six we've seen, we still enjoyed our annual tradition visiting the Season's Greening exhibit. In particular, we found the Conservatory to feel more festive and brighter this year with the way poinsettias and white light trees were used.

Destination Info:
United States Botanic Garden
100 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20001

Sunday, May 12, 2019

2019 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: Fourth & Final Visit

Date of Visit: May 6, 2019

On our last visit to Epcot together this trip (I went on my own on the 7th to do rides Mik doesn't typically do), we finally got over to the penguin sculpture near Living with the Land.

We started at Taste Track with the Violet Blueberry Vanilla Croissant Doughnut, which was tasty, but makes us miss the savory croissant doughnuts we've had at the Epcot International Art Festival.

Next we enjoyed the Sugar Cane Shrimp Shewer from La Isla Fresca.

One of our favorites was the Crab and Cheese Wontons from the Lotus House in China.

In China, we also enjoyed walking around to the Zodiac Garden to see all topiaries representing the 12 zodiac signs.

Mik finished with the Toasted Pretzel Bread at the Bauernmarkt in Germany, which was another of his favorites.

Destination Info:
2019 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
Lake Buena Vista, FL