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Showing posts with label Animals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Animals. Show all posts

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Scenic Safari

Scenic Safari At The Toronto Zoo

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  2000 Meadowvale Road
Date:  May 2020
Website:  www.torontozoo.com

  Since the Toronto Zoo was closed due to COVID-19 we have missed our visits.  The zoo finally reopened. Due to social distancing you can not walk around the zoo but must drive your car through instead.  We were one of the first to sign up for this unique opportunity.  We followed a long line of cars as we slowly made our way towards the front gate and then drove right inside.

Indian Rhino Toronto Zoo Scenic Safari.

  The zoo normally has a zoomobile that circles the grounds.  We mostly followed the same path that it takes with a few added diversions due to there being no pedestrians to worry about.  The first animal we drove towards was the Indian Rhino.  They were outside ready to greet us as we slowly rolled past.  An Indian Rhino can weigh over 1600 kg which is the same as our car.

Long Bridge At Toronto Zoo Over Rouge Valley.

  The next step was a highlight.  We got to drive on the long bridge that crosses over the Rouge Valley.  We kept the car straight and steady as we rumbled across.

White Rhino Scenic Safari Toronto Zoo

The next animal we encountered was the Southern White Rhino.  We had now entered Africa.  We were glad that the rhino was behind a fence as we forgot to check if our insurance would cover us for collisions with a giant mammal while driving on zoo property.

Zebra At Toronto Zoo.

  Usually if you come across something black and white on the road it means to slow down and watch for pedestrians.  One type of pedestrian crossing is called a zebra crossing.  On our Scenic Safari we didn't have to worry about people on the road, but there were a few black and white Grevy's Zebras nearby.

Kopje At Toronto Zoo.

  A kopje is a small, rocky hill that sticks up from the African grasslands.  The Toronto Zoo has one that you can walk through.  Since this is the Scenic Safari that means this time we drove through.

Lion's Den Toronto Zoo.

  It was a bit of a tight fit, but we made it through the lion's den.  We didn't see any lions.   That doesn't mean the lions didn't see us.

Common Eland At Toronto Zoo.
Ankole-Watusi At Toronto Zoo.

  After we emerged from the kopje we passed a group of large antelope called Elands.  We also passed Ankole-Watusi Cattle which have some of the biggest horns of any animal.

Scenic Safari At The Toronto Zoo.

  We still couldn't get over the weird feeling of being in a traffic jam where we usually walked amongst crowds of people.

Toronto Zoo Scenic Safari Traffic Sign.

  There were traffic signs and arrows directing us where to go as we crept around the zoo grounds.  5 km per hour was the maximum speed and no passing allowed.

Scenic Safari Toronto Zoo Flamingos.

  We curved around through the Americas section of the zoo.  We passed a flock of flamingos enjoying the sun.

Fake Coyote At Toronto Zoo.

  We drove around in behind the Australasia Pavilion.  A fake coyote was stationed near where the kangaroo indoor home is located.  This possibly helps keep away other curious creatures.

Red Panda House Toronto Zoo.

  Our safari wound its way into Eurasia where we saw this red panda relaxing in the shade.

Thank You Frontline Workers.  Thank You Toronto Zoo.

  It wasn't much longer until we reached the end of our tour and exited near the zoo's administrative offices.  The whole tour took about one hour and gave us a new view of the zoo.  The only view these days.  Thank you Toronto Zoo and thank you to all the frontline workers.  Here's hoping we will be able to walk through the zoo next time.


Map of Our World
Toronto Zoo

Post # 287

Friday, 15 May 2020

Orchid Oasis

Orchid Wall At Toronto Zoo Greenhouse.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  2000 Meadowvale Road
Date:  Feb 2020
Website:  www.torontozoo.com

  Once a year the Toronto Zoo hosts Orchid Oasis in their greenhouse.  It usually happens during the coldest part of the winter and is a nice change of warmth and colour.

Orange & Yellow Orchid Toronto Zoo Greenhouse.

  Once our camera adjusted and defogged from the warmth of the greenhouse we took a closer look at what was in bloom.

Orchids At The Toronro Zoo Greenhouse.
Orchids At The Toronro Zoo Greenhouse.
 Orchids At The Toronro Zoo Greenhouse.

  There was an endless variety of patterns and colours.

Lady Slipper Orchids At Toronto Zoo.

  One of our favourite flowers is known as the lady slipper orchid.  They usually have petals that stick way out of each side and a pouch (or lady slipper) in front.

An Orchid Mantis At Toronto Zoo.

  While orchids are beautiful they can also be deadly.  Look closely as the orchid mantis hunts its prey by disguising itelf as an orchid.  When unsuspecting insects come too close they get snatched in its outstretched arms and quickly devoured. 

A Green Frog In Toronto Zoo Greenhouse.

Another greenhouse resident was this green frog who had found a better way to spend the winter.  Instead of hibernating in the pond nearby it had snuck into the greenhouse to spend the winter.

Toronto Zoo Orchids.

  In the cold of February it is always enjoyable to go into a greenhouse or pavilion to warm up while visiting the zoo.  It's even better to do it while the orchids are in bloom.

Map of Our World
Toronto Zoo Greenhouse

Post # 286

Friday, 10 April 2020

Easter Island Dreaming

American Museum of Natural History Moai Easter Island Figure.

Location: New York City, New York, USA
Address: 200 Central Park West
Date: Sept 2007
Website: https://www.amnh.org

  Easter Island remains on our bucket list.  It is a small island located about 3220 km west of Chile and received its name from a Dutch explorer who found it on Easter Sunday 1722.  The island is famous for its large stone sculptures called moai.  Just because we have yet to make it to the island, does not mean that some of the island has not made its way to us.

American Museum of Natural History Moai Easter Island Figure.

  At the American Museum of Natural History in New York City there is a plaster cast of a moai statue on display.  The mold was made from one of the real moai during a museum expedition to Easter Island in 1935.  A copy of this cast statue comes to life and was featured in the movie Night At The Museum.  Brad Garrett voices the character that spends most of its time asking for some gum.  Sorry, gum gum.

Easter Island Statue At Sunset Park Las Vegas.

  Las Vegas always tries to copy everything so it makes sense that it has a replica of an Easter Island statue.  The Vegas strip has its own Eiffel Tower, Venice, New York City and even an active volcano among the copied structures.  The strip used to have two Easter Island statues outside the Aku Aku restaurant which was part of the Stardust casino.  The restaurant and casino are no longer around.

Easter Island Statue In Sunset Park Las Vegas

  One of the statues was moved off of the strip and placed in Sunset Park. It sits on an island in the pond at the center of the park.  Not quite Easter Island but it is still an island none the less.

Sea Life London Aquarium Shark Tank.

  London, England  has a few replica Easter Island statues as well as the real deal.  There are replica statues sunken in the shark tank at Sea Life London Aquarium.

Sea Life London Aquarium Shark Tank.

  Sand Tiger Sharks spend their days swimming around while these giant heads keep a close eye on them.  Unlike these replica statues the real Easter Island statues all reside on land although many have sunk deeper into the soil through the centuries.

Easter Island Statue At The British Museum.

  The closest we have ever come to Easter Island is at the British Museum where they have an actual statue that was transported from the island back in 1868.  This statue is called Hoa Hakananai'a.  Easter Island has requested that it be allowed to return home again.  If they let us know, we will gladly accompany it on the ride home and then we can cross another item off of our bucket list.

Map of Our World
Post # 283

Monday, 30 March 2020

Dan's Greenhouse

Front Street Lahaina in Maui Hawaii

Location: Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, USA
Address: 626 Front Street #4
Date: Feb 2017
Website: www.facebook.com/DansGreenHouse

  Front Street in Lahaina is filled with many shops and restaurants.  One of our favourite places to visit when on the Hawaiian island of Maui is Dan's Greenhouse.  We leave Front street and hurry up the stairs to the top floor.  The shop is filled with exotic plants, birds and usually one or two mini-pigs.

Bonsai Plants in Dan's Greenhouse Maui.

  There are Fuku bonsai trees and other plants just waiting to thrive under the Hawaiian sun.  As tourists we were not looking to take a plant home and didn't think customs would let us anyways.  We came to spend a little time with the wild animals who seem to enjoy seeing us as much as we enjoy seeing them.

Black Palm Cockatoo At Dan's Greenhouse.

 A black palm cockatoo was sitting by the window.  It looked as if he was in charge of flipping the OPEN sign at the end and start of each day.

A Female Eclectus Parrot At Dan's Greenhouse.

    In the next window sat a beautiful female eclectus parrot.  These parrots have extreme sexual dimorphism.  The female is bright red and the male is bright green.  Easy to tell them apart, but people used to think they were two different species.

Mini-Pigs At Dan's Greenhouse

  In a small little pen in the middle of the store were two little piggies.  They were so cute and were wearing floral leis.  These are known as Göttingen mini-pigs and grow to be about 35 kg as adults.  The myth of the teacup pig isn't true.  Be careful if buying a pig as a pet as you don't want your little cuddly piglet to end up being a 200 kg plus porker.  These two little guys grew on us while we were visiting, but only in our hearts.

Bare-Eyed Cockatoo At Dan's Greenhouse.

  As we headed for the door, one last bird wanted our attention.  A bare-eyed cockatoo was speaking to us.  It wasn't long before it had hopped up onto one of our shoulders to get a better look.  We spent some time talking with our new feathered friend until the store owner moved it back to its perch.  Good-bye little friends.  That includes all of you pigs, birds and even plants.  After all some positive words never hurt a plant's growth.

Map of Our World
Post # 282

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Ethel M Chocolate Factory & Cactus Garden

Ethel M Chocolates & Cactus Garden.

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Address: 2 Cactus Garden Dr.
Date: March 2020
Website: www.ethelm.com

    Franklin Mars started the Mars Candy Factory in 1911 with his wife Ethel.  Today Mars makes Snickers, Twix, Mars bars and more.  Ethel is the Ethel M from a popular chocolate factory near Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ethel M Chocolates Factory.

    While in Vegas you can take a short drive to see Ethel M chocolate being made in the factory.  It is made in small batches with no preservatives.

Ethel M Enrobing Machines.

  The tour starts with a taste of some chocolate.  So far so good.  You then wander past the machines where the chocolate is prepared.  Next it is more machines that fill multiple molds and create patterns on top of the chocolates and then put them into cases and boxes.

Chocolate Wall At Ethel M Factory.

  The end result is something like the giant chocolate wall at the end of the tour.  Thanks to all the different shapes and patterns you can identify which pieces to eat first when sampling from a box.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberreies At Ethem M's In Las Vegas.

  After our tour we enjoyed a chocolate cappucino and some chocolate dipped strawberries. Very nice.

Ethel M Cactus Garden.

  Next it was outside to take a tour of the cactus garden located just behind the factory.  A little desert after dessert.

Purple Pancake Cactus At Ethel M Las Vegas.

  If you still feel like food, there was purple pancake cactus on display.  We don't think they were very edible.

Ethel M Cactus Garden Joshua Tree.

  There was a couple of Joshua Trees.

Mountains From Ethel M Cactus Garden.

As well as a nice view of the mountains.

Costa's Hummingbird Ethel M Cactus Garden.
Costa's Hummingbird Ethel M Cactus Garden.

  There was also wildlife to be found in amongst the cactus.  Above is a male Costa's Hummingbird that is known for its purplish head if caught in the right light.  Its head feathers also sort of flare out on the sides.  It was sitting surprisingly still for a hummingbird.

A Verdin At Ethel M Cactus Garden.

  A small white, grey bird with a yellow head was all over the place.  We managed one good photo of it as it moved from branch to branch faster than we could get it into focus.  These birds are fairly common in Nevada and are known as Verdin.

Ethel M Cactus Garden.

Ethel M Chocolate Fountain.

  We enjoyed our visit to Ethel M.  A great chocolatier knows that chocolate and cactus work well together late in the afternoon.

Map of Our World
Ethel M Cactus Garden
Ethel M Chocolate Factory

Post # 280