flamingo gardens – part deux

While the first part of my Flamingo Gardens trip was lots of fun, and a lot more interesting than I ever expected, it was the second part of the visit where this sanctuary really impacted me.  The animals….

I mentioned in the previous post that Flamingo Gardens houses animals that may have been injured and as a result can’t be put back into the wild.  In addition to owls and possums (did you see my last post?), they also have a permanent exhibit of two Florida Panthers, two large alligators, a pair of bobcats, several turtles, a black bear, and river otters.

I realize this doesn’t sound like much (it’s no San Diego Zoo), but on the day of my visit, the bobcats were out walking around, the alligators were moving too, the bear was playing with a chew toy, and my personal favorite, the otters were playing like it’s going outta style 😉

This pair of beautiful bobcats, were awake, walking around and much smaller than I expected!  A bobcat’s average weight is between 13-30 lbs, so they’re not “large” cats.

DSC03899.JPGThese guys were the highlight of the visit.  If you’ve ever seen otters playing around, you know why.  They were so active, and SO playful.  Three adults and three pups ran back and forth, tussled above and under water, and played to the audiences’ hearts.DSC03766DSC03771DSC03772A pair of large tortoises fascinated me.  The rings on their shells!!!  DSC03812DSC03813DSC03821.JPGDSC03820Of the two alligators, one was 17′ long!  (That is HUGE folks….HUUUUGGE!)DSC03754DSC03763DSC03895I couldn’t get a good snap of the bear, but he (or she?) was really animated.DSC03829.JPGAfter walking through all the animal exhibits and through the botanical gardens, I went BACK to watch the animals again.  They were just so wonderful!DSC03760DSC03786DSC03887The other attraction I haven’t mentioned yet, is the Wray Museum House.  Floyd and Jane Wray originally purchased this land and developed it into a citrus grove (most of which had to be torn down due to disease).  When they passed away, they left instructions that the place be left as conservation land.  And their heirs have done just that!

The house is decorated in period furniture pieces, and docents walk you through, giving historical tid bits as they go.DSC03709DSC03710DSC03714DSC03720DSC03721If anyone is in the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area and has a few hours to enjoy this place, I HIGHLY recommend it.  How can you say no to a place where the mascot is a 7′ high pink flamingo??DSC03911DSC03908DSC03849DSC03846DSC03866DSC03698DSC03879

Looking back through these photos put such a big smile on my face.  This is My Sunny Moment.  I hope you all have a great day!

 

flamingo gardens

I love being a tourist.  Especially in my own state.  And, (in my humble opinion), Florida has a lot to offer in that department.  Not just mouse ears, thrill rides and beaches, but interesting, educational, beautiful, fun things to see and do.  If you tell me about something fun to do in my own backyard, I’m in, full force!

I have read about Flamingo Gardens, located in Davie, FL, in guide books, and seen flashes on it on my Pinterest account (Pinterest knows I like to visit places around Florida), so it was natural for me to take the day and scout it out.  I left the husband behind, and had the whole day by myself to explore leisurely.  Located on the southeast side of the state, near Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, it’s an easy place to get to, located just two miles off I-595.

Flamingo Gardens sounds like a cheesy road-side-tourist-trap type place, and honestly, when I pulled into their parking lot, I was afraid that was what I was in for.  But once you get past the simple facade, what you find inside is truly wonderful.

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I was lucky enough to visit on a Wednesday, when practically no-one was there.  Well, except for these colorful guys who greeted me as I walked up to get my ticket.

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Flamingo Gardens is a not-for-profit wildlife sanctuary and botanical gardens.  Inside, they have a lot to claim for themselves.  To start with, they have the largest collection of Florida Champion Trees in the state.

Champion trees are the largest of their species, and this place has twenty of these babies.

DSC03609DSC03612A tram ride (included in your ticket) takes you around the entire gardens – a significant 60 acres of trees, bushes, flowers and shrubs.  One was leaving right as I walked by, so I hopped on and listened while the driver took us on a 20 minute tour of the place, and detailed the history of what Flamingo Gardens was and how it came to be.DSC03625.JPGDSC03621DSC03864DSC03624They have a HUGE banyan tree (not native to Florida, but still so pretty).  It was like something out of a fantasy novel with somewhat creepy tentacle-like arms stretching to the ground from all the upper branches.DSC03854DSC03850On the grounds, lots of flowers were in bloom.  This huge orchid plant hung from one of the large trees, which caught everyone’s eye, and camera.DSC03703DSC03872DSC03874After the tram tour was over, I walked over to the first wildlife show of the day.  Flamingo Gardens provides a home to animals and birds that cannot otherwise survive in the wild (due to injury).  Two times a day, you can see their Wildlife Encounter Show.  I got to see these three charming friends during the first show.DSC03649DSC03627I know, I know…a possum, but she was sooo cute!   I think my cat needs a sibling.DSC03629

This poor fella lost an eye to a gunshot.DSC03646

This king snake was pretty good sized as you can see, but was quite friendly.DSC03653After the show ended, I continued to explore.  Nearby the wildlife show pavilion is a free flying aviary, full of native birds.  Just watch where you step.  Free flying also means free falling (poop that is).DSC03660DSC03664I managed to make it through the aviary, untouched by falling fecal matter, and proceeded to check out where the resident owls were napping.DSC03678DSC03680DSC03675DSC03679And a bird of prey cage.DSC03684

I’m going to wait and tell you about the rest of the animal exhibits in my next post.  (I took so many good pics I want to share and talk about!)  This place was THAT cool, it warrants two posts.  Catch up with you soon!

 

 

spring has sprung

Around the country, the weather has been very unusual for spring.  One day it’s warm and the sun is shining.  The next day it’s snowing!

South Florida has had some very nice weather as of late.  (Sorry North East & Denver!)  This has lead to some really gorgeous flowers in the past 3-4 weeks.  I finally had the time (and gumption) to get out and snap some photos of these vibrant plants.  (And believe me, the bougainvillea IS on point.)

So, whether you’re looking out the window at white stuff, sun and green grass, or brilliant blossoms like me….enjoy the color below.  Spring is here!!!

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Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea glabra)  Let me tell you folks….when these bushes are in full bloom, they are STUNning.  The color pops are out of this world, and everywhere you drive, you will see these intensely colored blossoms.

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This set of plants have been around for a loong time…as you can see with the size and quantity of blossoms.  When you walk under the pergola these are growing around, you feel like you’re in a fairy tale!

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These little yellow lovelies were a cheery spot in the midst of a green spray.

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Dombeya – Tropical Hydrangea.  These trees have beautiful pink clusters of flowers…and are great pops of color to the area.

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The smell of the blossoms of this Plumeria tree are AM-azing.

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Even the aloe plant outside my front door got into the action.

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And last but not least….the most exciting one of all…Of course I saved the best for last 😉

My orchid is budding!  In a short time, I’ll be having beautiful orchid blossoms on my porch!  Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted when they finally open up!

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Have a beautiful spring!!