Showing posts with label nature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nature. Show all posts

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge: Centennial Trail

Date of Visit: January 8, 2024

Last year on our Vero Beach trip we visited the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge and Mik stayed back at the resort. This year since we had done it before and knew the trail was accessible, we were able to convince him to come.

The first part of the trail is a paved path. This part goes by a pond.

The last part of the trail is a boardwalk style with planks listing all the different National Wildlife Refuges. As Pelican Island was the first one, this trail celebrates the Centennial and history of the National Wildlife Refuge System and lists all of them on the planks as it leads to the Observation Tower that looks out to Pelican Island. Mik did not like the bumpy feel of this part of the trail. It seemed that the writing on the planks made it bumpier as he found the areas without the words smoother.

Overall we have enjoyed Pelican Island National Refuge as a family we have visited different parts of it, but this visit with Mik was not the best. The trail is good accessible-wise, but Mik really did not like the boardwalk part and was disappointed that that day we did not see many birds. Last year and the other day we visited this year, we did see more birds including close up, so understandable that he was disappointed as this day there were not many to see even with binoculars.

Destination Info:

4055 Wildlife Way
Vero Beach, FL 32963

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Walt Disney World: Animal Kingdon - Kilimanjaro Safaris

Date of Visit: January 4, 2015

Somehow we haven't done the Kilimanjaro Safaris with Mik since 2007 and he doesn't really remember going on it. Thus, while he didn't want to do any of the other Fastpass+ we had that day, he did end up having Mom bring him over to meet up with us and do the Kilimanjaro Safaris.

About where the Fastpass+ line joins the regular line for boarding, they send you over to the loading area for the wheelchair vehicle. The wheelchair vehicle has a spot in the front with two half rows next to the wheelchair, which worked out just right for our group of 5 (and a half).

Overall Mik enjoyed the ride as the tie downs kept his chair very stable and he enjoyed seeing the animals.  His only problem was that it seemed almost all the wildlife was on the left and the wheelchair spot is on the right, so he had trouble seeing over the people sitting on his left and seeing the animals. Now that we know, we would probably just not have anyone in our group sit in the first row because then he would be able to fully enjoy the safari.

Destination Info:
Disney's Animal Kingdom - Kilimanjaro Safaris
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Monday, November 30, 2015

U.S. Botanic Garden: Season's Greenings 2015 - Pollination Station

Date of Visit: November 30, 2015

We originally were going to visit the exhibit on Thanksgiving, but we decided to instead take advantage of Dad's off day to get his help putting up the Christmas tree and go ourselves during the week, especially since Dad had already previewed the exhibit. Mik ended up not being happy about this change because today turned out to be cold and rainy. However, really the weather only got to him because when we got to L'Enfant we found the elevator to street level barricaded off and had to get back on the Metro and ended up walking from Archives (We used Federal Center SW on the way back, which really is actually the closest to the Botanic Gardens.). Very same thing happened when we went last year...

This year's theme for the model train exhibit is "Pollination Station." It features a variety of plants and pollinators as part of the display.

Mik enjoyed the train exhibit, but he couldn't pick a favorite because it just wasn't as interesting as last year's theme to him. My favorite part, though, was the bats on the cactus.

Near the end there are two different paths to take. One is a shorter one I guess meant for kids because it's so short even I had to duck. Mik wouldn't go through it because of that even though he was short enough sitting in his chair and I think he really would've liked the miniature scenes in there.

Mik's favorite part was actually the tree we happened to find in the Tropics area.

We also both found the tree in the West Gallery to be way better set up than last year. Last year the display was off in the corner, but this time it's prominently in the center. This allows you to walk all the way around the tree and better enjoy it.

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

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Shenandoah National Park: Limberlost Trail

Date of Visit: May 13, 2015

Limberlost Trail is the one accessible trail in Shenandoah National Park. It technically is not entirely accessible, but mainly because it is too steep to meet the current ADA standards. However, we've certainly been on less accessible trails. Even the trail we did a few days before this at the Natural Bridge was tougher than this one.

There is a nicely detailed explanation of the trail on the sign by the trailhead. It explains how part of the trail is up to current ADA standards. Thus, if you start that way, you can do a there and back instead of the whole loop if the rest of the trail seems too difficult. However, it actually is kind of easier to do it the other way as a loop because this makes the most steep parts downhill.

The path is mostly crushed greenstone. Normally probably wouldn't use the freewheel for this type of trail, but with the caster being so messed up at that time even the it was helpful for even the smoothest of surfaces.

There is also some boardwalk as part of the trail.

The bridge is where it is no longer recommended for wheelchairs.

It's really not that steep, though, with the main thing being that going this way it ends up being 9 to 12% uphill near the end.

Overall it's a decent trail in that it is very accessible. However, Mik thought it was not any more interesting than what he could see on the rest of Skyline Drive. Having done other trails the previous day with Dad and actually getting some better views and seeing waterfalls, I'd have to agree that this particular trail is kind of boring. Apparently, it has a lot of mountain laurel, though, so it might be more interesting when they're in bloom.

Destination Info:
Limberlost Trail
Milepost 43 Skyline Drive
Shenandoah National Park, VA

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Virginia's Natural Bridge Park

Date of Visit: May 12, 2015

The Natural Bridge is something I've been really wanting to see since reading about it in the 1940s Virginia: A Guide to the Old Dominion. While it was out of the way, it ended up making a good thing to add to our Skyline Drive trip.

You start at the visitor center, which has a ramp entrance off to one side. You also need to make sure you go out that same door because you can't get to the ramp from the other doors.

The path down to the natural bridge has steps, but they run a shuttle that has a lift. The regular stop involves steps out the back of the visitor center, so they call them to do a pickup in front of the visitor center when needed. They don't do tie downs, so Mik transferred to a regular seat on the way down. On the way up he decided to just stay in chair and didn't complain at all. It's just a short drive up and down the hill and they go slow, so really it is a rather smooth ride.

The trail from the shuttle to and under the natural bridge is a paved path. The Cedar Creek Trail continues on to a waterfall after that. This part of the trail is gravel and a little steep near the first bridge, but we has no issues until we got to the lost river. Of course, the free wheel was a big help, especially since one of Mik's casters is currently totally messed up to the point the freewheel was useful even for the paved path.

The Cedar Creek Trail goes past a Monacan Indian village exhibit, a saltpeter mine, and a lost river. We skipped the exhibit because we weren't interested. The saltpeter mine has a very smooth bridge over to where you can peek in a little.

The lost river was the one part of the trail that was tough as the bridge over it isn't level with the ground. It wasn't that hard, but we did wait for Dad to catch up to make sure we didn't do something like at Pipestone.

It is worth going over the bridge because the trail is just as good as before the bridge and it is a nice viewpoint of the waterfall, especially considering Mik didn't get to see the other falls Dad and I hiked down to in Shenandoah National Park the next day.

Destination Info:
Virginia's Natural Bridge Park
15 Appledore Lane
Natural Bridge, VA 24578