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Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Cairns Tropical Zoo

A Crocodile Billboard At Cairns Tropical Zoo.

Location: Cairns, Australia
Address:  Captain Cook Highway, Palm Cove
Date:  May 2012
Website:  www.crocodileadventures.com

  Cairns Tropical Zoo closed in 2016.  The zoo was owned by the same family that owns the nearby Hartley's Crocodile Adventures so when the zoo closed a lot of the animals were transferred there.  We were lucky enough to have visited Cairns Tropical Zoo in 2012 and had some great experiences. 


  We visited the zoo over two days and started one morning by having "Breakfast With The Koalas".  We were served a full buffet breakfast and also had a very special visitor.  A koala came into the dining area on a small wagon with a tree attached.  We got to see the koala up close and he seemed just as interested in checking us out as we were in him.  Forget about breakfast, if you start your day off with a koala it is bound to be a great day.


  The same keeper that kept an eye on the koala during breakfast also had a supporting role in the crocodile feeding we watched later that day.  The keeper had told us over breakfast that he prefers working with crocs rather than koalas.  As for us, we will take cute and cuddly over cold and chompy any day.  The real star of this show was an almost 4 meter long saltwater crocodile that lunged out of the pool to take a bite at a chicken or anything else it could grab.

Freshwater Crocodiles At Cairns Tropical Zoo

  Australia has saltwater and freshwater crocodiles and so did the Cairns Tropical Zoo.  Freshwater crocodiles have a long thin snout and usually eat insects or fish.  There is no known human death caused by a freshwater crocodile attack.  The same cannot be said of their saltwater cousins.

A keeper Holds A koala while a wombat watches at Cairns Tropical Zoo.

  Two other animals that are cousins are koalas and wombats.  A keeper talk explained what these two marsupials have in common and how they differ.  Wombats are a lot more aggressive said the keeper as she showed us a big bandage on her leg.  Koalas don't mind being held.

Koala At Cairns Tropical Zoo

  It was at Cairns Tropical Zoo that we held our first koala.  The koala didn't seem to mind as far as we could tell.  Someone put the koala near our arms and it grabbed on.  We put one hand under its butt so it could sit comfortably.  Photo! Photo! Photo! And then the koala would be transferred to the next waiting arms.  Photo! Photo! Photo! And then back to a little tree for the koala.  All the time it had the same expression on its face while we had huge smiles.

A Big Green Frog On A Toilet Seat.

  Australia is known for having many deadly and unusual creatures.  The reptile house had an exhibit where a big green frog was siting on a toilet.  Remember in Cairns to lift both the lid and the seat, then tap the bowl for good measure before getting down to business.  You never know if a frog, spider or snake may have claimed your toilet as its new home while you were away.

Central Netted Dragon

    This central netted dragon is a reptile that is only found in Australia.  He was a cute little guy.

Cassowary Cairns Tropical Zoo

  This next bird is sometimes called the world's deadliest bird.  The cassowary is a large flightless bird that can stand over 6 feet tall..  With a hard casque on its head and three toed feet with sharp dagger-like claws it is not to be messed with.  If you saw one walking around you might feel like you were watching a dinosaur.

Barking Owl

  During a bird flight show we were introduced to a barking owl.  It has a call that sounds like a dog barking.  It also had bright yellow eyes that can look right into your soul.

A Kangaroo Up Close At Cairns Tropical Zoo.

  No Australian zoo would be complete without kangaroos.  Cairns Tropical Zoo had its share of kangaroos.  We found ourselves surrounded by a mob (a group of kangaroos) looking for snacks.  The kangaroo above was the biggest of the bunch and must have been the mob boss.  We enjoyed ourselves so much that could have spent a few days at this zoo.  Oh wait, we did!

Map of Our World
Cairns Tropical Zoo

Post # 262

Friday, 30 August 2019

Hornets Buzz At Canadian International Air Show

A CF-18 Hornet Takes To The Skies Over Lake Ontario.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  210 Princes' Blvd.
Date: September 2014
Website:  theex.com

  Each Labour Day weekend in Toronto thousands of people crane their necks and look to the sky.  They shield their eyes and squint as they stare into the sun.  They also jump when they see something shoot past followed by an almighty roar.  The Canadian International Air Show rips up the sky over Lake Ontario once again.  This post pays tribute to one of our favourites, the CF-18 Hornet which is the loudest thing at the lake this weekend.

The CF-18 Hornet

  The CF-18 is the Canadian Forces version of the American fighter aircraft the F/A-18 Hornet.  It can travel up to Mach 1.8  (1,814 km an hour).  Mach 1 is the speed of sound.  At that speed, if the performing hornet kept on going it would be traveling through Saskatchewan an hour from now.

Lakeshore Boulevard Traffic During The CNE
 
  If we left during the show and drove our car, we would probably still be stuck on Lakeshore Boulevard trying to merge onto the Gardiner Expressway an hour from now.

A CF-18 Horner Hovers Over Lake Ontario During The Canadian International Airshow.

  Now running at such high speeds and using afterburners uses a lot of fuel so running at Mach 1.8 the jet would probably be out of fuel in less than 20 minutes.  Afterburners are an exhaust system that increases thrust of the aircraft for takeoffs, increased speed and quick maneuvers.

A CF-18 Hornet Flies Upside Down

  Whatever the science is behind how these machines work, we like them because they are fast and they are loud. The CF-18 Hornet also likes to fly upside down, hover in place and point straight up and fly into the sun.

A CF-18 Hornet Dressed For Canada 150

  Sometimes they like to get all dressed up for a special occasion like Canada's 150th Birthday.  It is always a special occasion when the CF-18 Hornet flies overhead at the Canadian International Air Show.  It is sure to get your attention.  Watch some video highlights below.



Map of Our World
Canadian International Air Show

Post # 261

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge

Leonard P Zakim Bridge Over Park

Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Address:  Zakim Bridge I-93
Date: September 2010
Website: www.leonardpzakimbunkerhillbridge.org

  The Big Dig was an ambitious project in Boston.  It took the elevated roadways that ran through the city and moved them underground.  It cost billions of dollars and ran well over budget.  Construction started in 1991 and finally finished about 10 years later than anticipated in 2007.  Still, it was an example of long term thinking that changed the face of Boston forever.  We think for the better.

Rose Kennedy Greenway

  As part of the project,  the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge was built over the Charles River and the Rose Kennedy Greenway (above) was built where the old highway once stood.  Both projects were named after prominent figures from Boston.  Leonard Zakim was a civil rights activist and Rose Kennedy was the mother of president John F Kennedy along with 8 other Kennedy children.

Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge

  The Zakim Bridge has become a recognizable Boston landmark.  It was the widest cable stayed bridge in the world at one point.  In the movie Zookeeper, Kevin James climbs the bridge on the back of his gorilla friend Bernie.  They are trying to find the taxi Rosario Dawson is taking to the airport and stop her.  Thanks to the Zakim Bridge and the Big Dig getting to the airport in Boston is easier than ever. 

North Washington Street Bridge & Zakim Bridge

  We have stayed at the Marriot Residence Inn in Charlestown on more than one occasion and had a view of the Zakim Bridge from our room.  The closest bridge is North Washington Street Bridge and the Zakim Bridge is behind it.


  We often took a shortcut through the Charles River locks to get from our hotel to the subway.  It was also more fun, especially when a boat was passing through.

A Close Up Look At The Zakim Bridge

  You can also get a nice close-up view of the bridge by day.

Zakim Bridge in Boston At Night.

  And by night.

Zakim Bridge At Sunset.

    When the sun sets the upside down Ys that hold the cable and support the bridge stand out against the sky.  The Zakim Bridge and parkland created by the Big Dig make walking around Boston a pleasant experience.  You almost forget that underneath your feet hundreds of cars are rushing through tunnels trying to get across the city.

Map of Our World
Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge , Charles River Locks
Rose Kennedy Greenway

Post # 260

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge

The Rockhound Gemboree.

Location: Campbellford, Ontario
Address:  Ferris Provincial Park
Date: Aug 2019
Website: www.visittrenthills.ca

    On the August long weekend we took a road trip to Bancroft, Ontario.   We went up in search of precious gems.  The Rockhound Gemboree was being held in Bancroft that weekend and we hoped to find something special.  We didn't find exactly what we were looking for but also didn't leave empty-handed.  We managed to get a few gifts from the show.

Rockhound Gemboree in Bancroft Ontario

     The Gemboree is the biggest gem and minerals show in Canada and Bancroft is often called the "Mineral Capital of Canada".   The Bancroft community centre, curling rink and hockey rink were filled with vendors.  A lot of the sparkling rocks had come from nearby areas. 

The Granite Restaurant in Bancroft Ontario.

  After attending the show we headed across the York River and stopped at The Granite for lunch.  We both had wraps and shared some truffle root fries which were delicious covered in parmesan cheese.  In a town known for minerals the restaurant was aptly named.

People Crossing Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge.

  Our journey continued south west towards Ferris Provincial Park.  Ranney Gorge suspension bridge is located on the western side of Ferris Provincial Park and offers some great views over the Trent River.

View South From Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge.
 View North From Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge.

  To the south you can see the river cutting through the gorge.  To the north is a small waterfall.

Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge.

  The metal bridge hangs 30 feet over the river and is 300 feet long.  As people walk on the bridge you can feel it moving beneath you.

An Osprey Flys Over Ranney Gorge Ontario

 After making it safely across the bridge we noticed several large birds circling above.  Closer inspection revealed the markings of an osprey.  The brown face mark that goes across their eyes and then curves up onto the back of their necks is the most obvious identifier. Osprey love to fish so the nearby river passing through the gorge is a great place to spot one.

Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge.

  We crossed back over the bridge once more to continue our trip home.  We had tried our luck hunting for precious minerals, enjoyed a nice meal and swung over a gorge.  All in all it was a beautiful day.


Map of Our World
Rockhound Gemboree
Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge
The Granite

Post # 259

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Safety Orange Swimmers

Safety Orange Swimmers In Lake Ontario.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  Harbour Square Park
Date: July 2019
Website: annhirschstudio.com

  S.O.S usually stands for Save Our Souls and is a cry for help.  In Boston, in the fall of 2016 it stood for Safety Orange Swimmers.  It is still a cry for help.  The art exhibit included 22 bright orange people holding onto inner tubes.  It was created by artists Ann Hirsch and Jeremy Angier.

Harbour Square Park Safety Orange Swimmers

  The art exhibit will be in Toronto until September 2019.  It now includes 25 orange swimmers.  Each person represents more than one million refugees.  There are estimated to be nearly 26 million refugees risking their lives crossing oceans and dangerous terrain to reach safety and freedom for their families.

Safety Orange Swimmers Lake Ontario

  The orange figures all look identical and are only torsos.  As they get caught in the wake of a boat you can clearly see that there is no mid section or legs attached.  The figures cling to their inner tubes but are anchored so they do not drift away further into Lake Ontario.

Safety Orange Swimmers In Toronto.

  The artwork represents people who are so desperate to flee their country that they leave everything behind and  risk death by drowning or dehydration as they cling to homemade rafts.  A boat approached and we imagined what these orange people would be thinking as they faced an uncertain future in a new land.

A Boat Approches Safety Orange Swimmers

Map of Our World
Safety Orange Swimmers

Post # 258

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Hello Kitty Grand Cafe

Hello Kitty Cafe Entrance Irvine Centre California.

Location: Irvine, California, USA
Address:  360 Spectrum Center Drive
Date: June 2019
Website: www.sanrio.com

  Hello Kitty was created by company Sanrio in 1974 and since then she has appeared on everything from pencil cases to electric guitars.  Hello Kitty products generate billions of dollars every year.  People just can't get enough of that cute little kitty with no mouth.  That includes us.  When we heard that California had a Hello Kitty Cafe where we could also have tea, we made our reservation right away.

Inside the Hello Kitty Cafe Irvine Center California.

  The Hello Kitty Cafe is located in the Irvine Spectrum Center.  The Irvine Spectrum Center is located about 1 to 3 hours drive (Welcome to LA!) south of Los Angeles.  Once you arrive you can load up on Hello Kitty shaped cookies, cakes, macarons and more.

Picture of Desserts at Hello Kitty Grand Cafe

  The cafe is decorated with drawings of desserts that feature Hello Kitty.  Some of them were available and very similar to what was pictured.  Anyone can purchase items from the cafe but you need a reservation to have tea in the Bow Room.  There are only about six tables in the Bow Room so book ahead.

The Bow Room At Hello Kitty Grand Cafe

  The Bow Room is located through a door at the back of the cafe.  If you have a reservation you are welcomed into this room, while everyone else looks up from their Hello Kitty cookies to try and sneak a peak.  It is called the Bow Room after the little pink bow Hello Kitty always has in her hair.  Sorry Pochacco but this is not the Bow Wow room.  Only Hello Kitty is featured, none of her large group of Sanrio friends.

Hello Kitty Tea Place Setting.

  We were seated at our table for two.  We had place settings of gold cutlery, pink tinted glasses and a Kitty shaped plate.  We each had pink sugar shaped like Hello Kitty herself.  How sweet.

Hello Kitty Bow Room Tea Pots.
 Hello Kitty Tea Cup.

  The tea cups and tea pots all had a gold Hello Kitty on them and of course a bow.  It was too cute.

Hello Kitty Coconut Cream

  We started our meal off with a fruit salad topped with coconut cream.  It had a Hello Kitty face inside a heart on top.

Tea Service At The Hello Kitty Grand Cafe.

  Hello Kitty's backstory claims here real name is Kitty White and she comes from England.  For this reason we hoped she knew a thing or two about high tea service.  She did not disappoint.  We enjoyed everything.  We were served 3 tiers of scones, quiches, sandwiches and desserts.

Hello Kitty Square Cake At Hello Kitty Grand Cafe.

  We devoured everything in between sips of tea.  One of the last desserts we ate was a square cake with a frosted Hello Kitty on top.  Sorry Kitty but looking cute will not stop us from eating you.  Same goes for you Hello Kitty shaped sugar.  Into the tea cup you go.

Hello Kitty Bow Room Irvine California.

  The Bow Room serves cocktails in the evening.  But it also looked like you could have your tea around the Hello Kitty silhouette bar.  We enjoyed the Bow Room and our visit immersed in Hello Kitty.  As we left the cafe we passed a Hello Kiity near the entrance.  Goodbye Kitty.......for now.

Hello Kitty At the Hello Kitty Grand Cafe.

Map of Our World
Hello Kitty Grand Cafe

Post # 257