dranthonysblog

April 7, 2012

An afternoon at the Zoo

My parents took the family to many zoos when I was young, from San Diego to the one in Boise, Idaho.   After I was grown, I visited various zoos, including some in Europe and others in Asia, occasionally and usually only as part of the sightseeing that many of us do when visiting new places.  Since I became a parent, zoo visits have become more frequent as our children, like most kids, really enjoy them.  Recently, we visited Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and found it to be a terrific place to spend an afternoon.

It is not a particularly large zoo, nor is it very showy, but it is well-organized, very kid friendly, and not overly expensive, when compared to other area attractions.  One thing that struck me about the place, and you will see it in these pictures, is that many of the animals have a lot of personality!

Also, you can get amazingly close to many of them, which really enhances the experience!

The petting zoo in particular includes many common animals, and some not as much so, that seem to thrive on the human attention or at least do a good job of pretending for their human visitors!

These African Penguins looked like they were at a pool party, with the one in the middle one appearing to strike poses for me.

You are actually able to walk into the Wallaby area and view them with no screen, gate, or fence in between, though there is a member of the staff who keeps a watchful eye nearby.

The Koi were very large but you cannot tell from this picture because there is nothing to compare it to.  I liked this one because the color was so bright!

The Giraffes were very sweet and really enjoyed looking at us!

The Siamang Gibbons were interesting to see, though they were not as close as the other animals.

The Manatees were difficult to see clearly, and more so to photograph well, due to the thick glass and multiple tiny pieces of lettuce (their lunch apparently) that were floating in the water at the time.  Still, they are fascinating to watch and were a special treat for us to see since we have yet to view any in the wild.

This Bald Eagle was unexpected and reminded me why this noble bird of prey was selected to be the national animal as well as appear on the Great Seal of the United States.

This zoo, probably not unlike one located near you, is a wonderful place to visit that is easily forgotten about when thinking of reasonably priced things to do.  To me Zoos, regardless of where you are in life, are terrific places to reconnect with the natural world and forget about your personal challenges, at least for a few hours!

February 16, 2012

A Visit to the 2012 Florida State Fair in Reverse

A new perspective is gained when viewing events in a different order!

The Florida State Fair was Definitely worth the visit and I would urge you to check it out, if you are interested.  As of the date of this posting, you still have one weekend left to take it in for yourself!

The evening was unusually cold for Florida on the night of our visit.

The lights and colors always remind me of fairs past.

Interestingly, not all who came did so for recreation or escape, some came to work!

The rides were plentiful and varied.

There were also animals of all types!

The exhibits and vendors were as you would expect and appeared to be doing a healthy business this year!

A talkative Robot amused the crowd.

There were singers and dancers that did not disappoint the viewers, who themselves were variously eating, talking and watching the show.

We sighted Elvis shortly after we entered the gate, though he was a bit taller than we expected him to be!

The crowds were already gathering when we arrived and I immediately noticed the typical vendors and sights of fellow fair goers quickly blending into the experience.

Some of my best memories growing up were of attending fairs on the west coast, so I was looking forward to visiting the Florida State Fair this year and it did not disappoint!

February 2, 2012

Some of my favorite pictures so far!

Years ago, I was asked why, given my travels, did I not have many pictures, to which I responded that I just was not “into” picture-taking.  Somewhere along the way that changed and I now wish I had started taking them sooner.  I have no illusions about being particularly good at it, nor do I aspire to be a modern Ansel Adams or make half-time on Super Bowl Sunday.  I simply find them fun to take and are even better when shared!

The following represent some personal favorites that I have taken so far…

This one is a sunrise in central Florida.  I have not placed these pictures in any particular order, except maybe for the first and the last ones.

This one is of the Florida State Fair in Tampa last year.   I snapped most of these simply because l found something interesting about the scene.

I captured this picture at a zoo and what struck me about it was that the two animals really seemed to be visiting with each other!

This picture was taken at the moment that Legoland Florida was officially opened to the public last year and confetti was flying everywhere!

This one captured the final lift-off of the Space Shuttle Challenger (my first shuttle launch), which was the third to the last shuttle lift-off!

This picture was taken late at night by a very tired elf who wanted to add some cheer to the season!

I happened upon this view when in Yellowstone three Winters ago and I had to try to capture it!

This one found me on the same trip while I was leaving the park.  He was so close that I could almost reach out and touch him!

I stumbled upon this view (not literally!) while taking the stairs in a hotel in Savannah recently.

I noticed these “Whirligigs” (that is what they are called) while walking the dogs one evening.

One of my kids dragged me outside to see this a couple of weeks ago and I am glad that he did!

I hope you enjoyed the pictures because  I certainly had fun taking them!  In case you are wondering, I used a Kodak EasyShare camera to take most of them.  Also,  I have others posted here if you are interested in seeing some more;  http://bit.ly/y2SmUW

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