Chicago – December 2018 – The Field Museum

Our major museum visit this trip was to the Field Museum of Natural History. It is known as one of the premier natural history museums in the world, and attracts millions of visitors per year.





We were here to learn about natural history.





As we entered the lobby we stopped by a small kiosk with a display of bugs.





Our first hall major exhibit we toured was the Hall of Ancient Americas. This wing covered both North and South America.

Each region featured pottery, sculptures, jewelry and more, and started with South and Central America cultures such as the Aztec and Inca (and many more)

The final section included the Northern Cultures. While similar to the southern cultures, these featured more large scale sculptures like the totem poles.

The second level featured Griffin Hall – a large dinosaur exhibit.

The most famous is Sue – the most complete T Rex ever discovered. For some reason there was unusual lighting on Sue when we were there.

One the main display the head is a cast of the original, which is in the next room in a display so you can inspect it closer.

We paid a brief visit to the cultures of the Pacific

Our final stop was an Egyptian display, including mummies.

Columbus – December 2018 – Zoo Wildlights

It’s December which means the annual Columbus Zoo ‘Wildlights’ is back.

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We arrived early enough to check out the aquarium.

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The penguin habitat was still open (it closed at 5).

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They apparently were ready to go in for the night as they were honking very loud and often.

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The Reptile Building was open. Most of them were very active.

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The ‘Farm’ was open as well, as it was inside of a barn.

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Finally we passed a sleeping bear.

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A quick stop by the historic carousel…

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And it was sunset.

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Time for the lights.

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The lights are nice, but the animals are always the best part.

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Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 11 Lahaina, Maui

Our trip brought us to Lahaina, on Maui. One of the oldest settlements in Hawaii, it was once the royal capital of Maui Loa.

Today it is a center of tourism (as is most of Hawaii).

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We were anchored just off shore where we had great views of the houses and boats along the coast.

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Another day – another great Hawaiian rainbow.

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Meanwhile the first mate casually monitored the situation.

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While the crew readied the skiffs.

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Once on the skiff, we headed towards shore.

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But first, a dolphin show (not planned, just lucky).

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Once on ground, we made our way to the famed Banyan tree of Lahaina. Planted in 1873, it is the largest banyan tree in America, covering almost 2 acres.

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We took a walk around town…

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To check out some of the historic buildings…

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Including the former prison.

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Some colorful houses.

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And a great mailbox.

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Eventually it was time to leave Lahaina.

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With one last look…

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We sailed off into the sunset.

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Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 10 Zodiac Boat Tour and Historic Kona

Day 10 started out with a Zodiac Boat tour down the coast to another snorkel location. A Zodiac boat is a rigid hull, inflatable boat that can go very fast across the water, as Captain Bill demonstrated.

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Assisted by Chris, the first mate.

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As we made our way down the coast we stopped by some sea caves.

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Despite being formed by lava, they were very colorful.

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We arrived at the bay where the snorkeling occurred. It is the bay where Captain Cook met his demise.

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The snorkeling was great.

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On our return trip we passed more sea cliffs

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Along the way we encountered a group of ‘Spinning’ Dolphins, as this series of photos illustrate.

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After returning to the boat, we made our way back to Kona one more time for a historic tour.

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We toured the Queens summer palace.

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Finally it was time to return to our home for the week.

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Cleveland – November 2018 – A Traditional Zoo

The Cleveland Metroparks is one of the best parks systems in the United States, circling Cleveland in what is known as the Emerald Necklance

One of their main features closer into the city is the Metroparks Zoo, only 5 miles from downtown Cleveland.

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While much smaller than the more famous Columbus Zoo, in my opinion it is nicer in that there is far less commercialization.

The Metroparks Zoo does have a number of themed exhibit areas including the Rain Forest.  This building, as the name indicates, brings together the plants and wildlife of the jungles.

This little guy is a Golden Lion Tamarin, a highly endangered animal from Brazil.

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The bird below is a Scarlet Ibis. The zoo found it was losing it’s natural color, until they added shrimp to it’s diet.

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A Capybara. While he was in his controlled habitat here, we once had the opportunity to meet one up close in British Columbia. The Capybara is known as the world’s largest rodent, but they seem pretty cool to me.

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Bornean Orangutan. So much for that vegetarian diet keeping weight down – this guy can weigh over 300 pounds.

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The Emerald Tree Boa. 8 feet long with fang like teeth!

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We left the Rain Forest and headed up through the main section of the zoo, stopping to check out the elephants.

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Cleveland has some ravines, and the zoo is built in, and up above one. After the hike up the hill we made our way to the Primates, Cat & Aquatics indoor habitat (with some outdoor space as well).

The Mandrill below is a large monkey, weighing up to 80 pounds.

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One of the many Lemurs.

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This cat like animal is known as a Fossa, from Madagascar. Those in the animal business apparently debate if it is more like a mongoose or a cat.

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More Lemurs – the is time Ring Tailed. This is the most common Lemur.

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Another Lemur – I tried to have a staring contest, which I obviously lost.

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But it was time to move over to the Aquatic side of the house. Our first tank we came to gave us this great view!

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And more…

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We headed back down the hill to the African Savanna section for lions…

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And Zebras

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Our final section was the Wilderness Trek. As I always note on trips to the zoo, I am always torn by being in the presence of such great animals, and the fact that they are stuck in cages. But as with the Tamarin without some conservation some breeds would be totally lost.

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New Castle, PA – August 2018 – Living Treasures Wild Animal Park

Early on a Sunday morning we paid a visit to the Living Treasures Wild Animal Park. Located just east of New Castle, Pennsylvania this park has over 70 different animals.

Their claim to fame is you get to get up close to all of the animals, with opportunities to feed many of them carrots or peanuts you buy in the souvenir shop.

As with a zoo, I am always torn to visit places like this – it is great to see the animals but you feel bad for them in their cages. But alas – we went and had a nice time taking photos and feeding them carrots. Feel free to correct any misidentified animals (they do have a nice website with photos and profiles of all of their animals)

Green Winged Macaw

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Magellan Goose

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Egyptian Goose

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Ring Tailed Lemur

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American Alligators

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More Gators

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Scottish Highlander Cattle

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Cockatiel (I think)

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Lovebird

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Kangaroos

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Alpaca

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Prairie Dog

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African Crowned Crane

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Watusi Cattle

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A butterfly (not really part of the zoo – but it was so still on the dung pile it made a great photo)

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Cotton Top Tamarin

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Aldabra Tortoise

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The next two were in the petting zoo – I even took photos of the signs and deleted them. Feel free to update.

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Egyptian Fruit Bats. I took the photo and flipped it over to better see them.

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Chilean Flamingo

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The monkeys knew enough that when you put carrots in their bucket they pulled the chain to get them.

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Fallow deer

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Eurasian Eagle Owl

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You have to scratch where it itches. We had a good time at the park, but glad we were there just when they opened as by the time we left there were a number of people there and the animals I think had had enough carrots for the morning.

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Columbus – July 2018 – Testing the New Lens at the Zoo

Lens envy hit me enough I picked up a new Canon EF 100-400 F/4.5-5.6 lens. With an hour or so we buzzed through the zoo so I could play with my new toy.

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Taken through a dirty window. This new lens is much faster than what I had.

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Another taken through dirty windows.

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The 400mm is enough to pull in some shots.

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The clarity is so much better than my Tamron 150-600mm, although the 600mm does get some really distant shots this won’t.

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Wildebeests from about 100 yards.

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The zoo worker was enjoying feeding the giraffe.

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Vervet monkeys through more dirty glass.

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More shots through the same dirty glass (a recurring theme).

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Camels – finally a non obstructed shot.

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In the bird section.

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An eagle taken through the netting (shown as well).

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With that the last train out of the zoo was leaving. This new lens is great, I am looking forward to sharing better shots on this blog.

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