Thursday, March 24, 2016

Outside Dreams

Yesterday's spring snow was weird. The dividing line bisected my city, so that my home got lots of flakes but none sticking, where my shop had enough for my staff to scrape off and brush off their cars at the end of the day, and the southern suburbs actually got three inches or more. It was bizarre, but I didn't mind the fact that I didn't have to shovel. Spring snow is always wet and heavy snow, and I wasn't really in the mood to deal with it.

One of my favorite places to go is the Como Zoo and
Conservatory. This wonderful zoo is still no-charge, but is
extremely popular and well funded through donations. They
are constantly rebuilding and expanding their exhibits. The
polar bears got a new home/exhibit a few years ago. Polar
bears are perfect for our winter weather, but they need the
colder waters for our hot and sticky summers. 

I was out in it, though (between housework and writing), so I thought I'd look for some reminders of things that we can do outdoors when the weather gets nice once more. Here's a quick photo blog for all of you on this Thursday morning.

The other major attraction in Como Park is the
Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. This wonderful
building opened in 1913 and, again,
is no charge to the public. It's many rooms of plants along with
koi fish winding through waterways create a world of delight. 

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is in the far western
suburbs (you drive past Prince's studio to get there - no, it's not
purple). Although the spring is usually sparse since the plants are
just waking up, the summer and the autumn seasons are filled
with color and texture. It's a great place to spend a day with
a camera. 

Nearby, next to the St Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota, is the
Gibbs Farm of Pioneer and Dakotah Life. This cool working farm has structures
from the 1800's through early 1900's furnished appropriately. It is a working
farm, so livestock is cared for and there are events throughout the summer.
You can just see the roof-line of a soddy on the left - that's a log structure built
into the prairie soil with a soil roof. It's almost invisible. 

As a final offering today, I present Historic Fort Snelling. Located on
the bluffs overlooking the junction of the Minnesota and Mississippi
Rivers, Fort Snelling was built in the early 1820's. It was an active,
staffed fort for more than 120 years, and the Fort Snelling National
Cemetery is the final resting place of more than 180,000 soldiers and
is still actively used today. The restoration of the Fort brought it back
to the appearance it had in the 1820-1830 era. 

If you are interested in additional information on any of these locations, I've embedded links to pages in each caption that you can follow. I'm looking forward to a few seasons without snow so that I can take advantage of my "day off" time and maybe visit a few outdoor places over the summer. Today, it's still too cold, though. Happy Thursday to all! Do you have special places in your city/town that you love to visit? Share with me in your comments. I love to explore.

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