Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Visit to Shedd Aquarium Chicago


If I could use two words to describe Shedd Aquarium, they would be, magnificant and mesmerizing. It’s not every day you get to hear balooga whales make sqeaking noises or watch a large sting ray glide by right in front of your face. Mind you, it’s $40 dollars for an adult ticket, but worth every cent. So here is a word of advice, when choosing to drive your car, park in the planetarium parking which is in walking distance of the aquarium. If you get there before 9:30 am, you get the early bird price which is $11 as of the time of this posting. Just be sure it’s not on the day of an event because when we came back to see the plantarium, parking was $49! For obvious reasons, we passed this up and called it a day. These are all the little things they don’t tell you in the tourist websites.



Shedd Aquarium opened on May 30, 1930 and for awhile was the largest indoor aquarium containing 5,000,000 US gallons of water! That’s far greater than your average pool. Just to get a little perspective an average depth for an inground pool is 5 feet. A pool that is 12 ft. x 24 ft. holds 10,800 gallons. Big difference, right?! (Photo of Copperband Butterfly Fish).


To me the Clown Fish will always be Nemo. It just instinctively comes out that way. Do I have any nods of agreement? With such a beautiful spectacule of creation, I’m reminded of how great God is and how detailed he is.

The Wild, The Wacky, and The Exotic:



Red-bellied Piranha that live in the Amazon River Basin. They are mainly scavengers and foragers, but they can pose a minor risk. So is what the movies show true? Here’s the truth, during the wet season, there is plenty of food, but caution is advised during the dry season around April to September when the waters are much lower and food is less plentiful. Above all do not swim with these fish with an open wound! Few of us will tred these waters, but hey, you learned something new!

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Looks like some sci-fi creature. Check out that glare!




Pictures of Exhibits at The Shedd Aquarium


With Lake Michigan being the over view for Shedd Aquarium, it makes sense they would have an exhibit dedicated to it.


The Carribbean Reef exhibit.


The smiling sting ray.




I hope you enjoyed getting a taste of this beautiful aquarium!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Free Things to Do: NC Botanical Gardens at UNC Chapel Hill



As the weather increases in warmth, gardens are coming alive with activity. Before the heat really sets in, my family has been visiting as many local gardens and nature parks as possible. The best time to go to gardens are early morning. If your schedule permits, week days are best. We’ve done exceedingly well at finding the free ones and who wouldn’t go for that? Whether you want a nice morning stroll, want to spend quality time with family, or exerise your photography skills, there are so many options. It was well work the 45 minute drive out to UNC Chapel Hill. It is very well kept and tended for. You won’t be disappointed!!

Website for North Carolina Botanical Gardens at UNC Chapel Hill: 

Visiting hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9 am – 5 pm
Sunday: 1 pm – 5 pm
Closed Mondays and University Holidays.


A spot you won’t want to miss is The Mercer Reeves Hubbard Herb Garden. There is said to be 500 species and cultivars. An important addition to the collection is the rosemary collection from the herb society of Americas. The herb amove is chives which is known for its oniony smell and flavor. I love adding a sprig of it to many different dishes.

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You won’t want to miss the carnivorous plant colection complete with pitcher plants, sundews, and butter warts which are all a part of the southeastern United States.


Herbs attract beneficial insects like this ladybug going for a spin on this cilantro plant.


Other gardens to highlight are the native plant border gardens with a variety of native perennials, shrubs, and small trees. Native plants are vital to our ecosystem. They provide homes for many creatures large and small. They are the plants that have resided here long before any ornamentals were brought in. They may not have the largest and showiest of flowers, but they belong here where as invasives can desimate a habitat literally squeezing the life out of plants. So do your research when choosing flowers!

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What I found most invigorating was the botanical garden’s commitment to using environmentally responsible gardening pratices. They work closely with local, state, and regional conservation organizations. They put to practice their mission which is “To inspire understanding, appreciation, and conservation of plants and to advance a sustainable relationship between people and nature.” When we support gardens, farms, and local places that are promoting environmentally responsible practices, we aren’t making an impact just a day or even a week, we could quite possibly be making an impact for generations to come. For it is one choice that can have a dominoes affect that will inspire other to make positive changes in their life. The NC Botanical Garden at UNC Chapel Hill is inspiring that kind of change.

Please drop me a comment and share with me your favorite gardening spots in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham area. If you know of any sustainable projects locally, I might be able to take a trip there and feature it on my blog.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Historic Tour of NC State Capitol


capitol front

Stepping foot in the North Carolina State Capitol is like entering a whole other era as it is so well preserved with the originality firmly entact. It was completed in the year 1840 with a Greek Revival style of architecture. The Capitol housed the General Assembly until 1963 which they moved into the Legislative Building, but the office of the Governor and Secretary of State have remained. The Capitol proudly holds the title of Raleigh Historic Landmark and sits in the center of Capitol Square. If you desire to visit you can join the 100,000 visitors that come each year. You can be part of public tours at designated times or take a self-guided tour which is especially nice if you like to take your time with photographs and observing.

Capitol tour: 


The Rotunda is a key focal point of the Capitol. Upon entering, you will see the 1970 copy of the George Washington statue by Antonio Canova. As you can see, my visit took place during Christmas which is one of the prettiest times to visit in my opinion. There are several plaques around the Rotunda giving tribute to several important people and events from North Carolina’s history.


The Rotunda has a beautiful ceiling at the top of this three story building.

congressional area

The second floor contains the House of Representatives Chamber and Senate Chamber which comerced there until 1961 when it then moved to the North Carolina State Legislative Building. Both are a tribute to the important decisions made for North Carolina state.


The third floor was my favorite. This is where the State Library Room was located from 1840 until 1888. It has a staircase that leads to an upper level lined with shelves after shelves of books. The collection grew from 2,000 volumes to almost 40,000! It was in 1888 that the overflowing library had to be moved to a larger building that could contain it. Now what remains is a showcase of what it looked like back in the day. The main collection is now located in the Archives and History/State Library building on Jones Street. History comes alive when you get to visit destinations that are preserved in a way that is memorable for all.