The Montreal Botanical Gardens is one of the finest, if not the finest, botanical gardens in North America. It has a large number of specialty gardens, such as a Chinese Gardens (covered in a separate posting), as well as numerous thematic gardens – including one dedicated to poisonous plants!
Overall the gardens are amazingly beautiful, and well kept.
As you make your way down Airline Drive in Houston, passing by signs in Spanish for restaurants, shops and auto repair facilities, the last thing you would expect to see is two acres of some of the best Asian themed photo ops around.
Lucky Land in Houston is this Asian themed attraction that is a visual overload. Nida Lee is a flea market owner who bought, among other things, a former attraction known as Forbidden Gardens and moved the collection to her flea market. The results are a photographers dream – resulting is a long posting!
The park is set up in various villages, including Panda Village. These life size statues are scattered amongst the landscaping in various poses.
The landscaping and artwork throughout is well done, and very colorful.
There are statues scattered everywhere in the park.
One of the highlights is the large scale near perfect replica of the Terra Cotta Army of China. This alone is worth the trip!
Along the perimeter they have some larger size statues of the soldiers.
Their collection of miniature villages complete with people is extensive as well.
The visual buffet continues….
The Happy Buddha – note the smaller one’s belly has been rubbed for good luck so much the finish is worn off.
Just when you think you are done, you find this section with transformer like sculptures.
Lucky Land has to be one of the best places we have seen for a ‘Roadside America’ type attraction. It is well done, well kept and thoroughly entertaining.
With Avery Island’s location in southern Louisiana the main agricultural business is sugar cane.
With the year round warm, wet weather it is the perfect climate for nature to grow. In the late 1800s the son of the founder of Tabasco sauce, Edward Avery McIlhenny, created the botanical gardens known as Jungle Gardens.
The gardens cover 170 acres of Avery Island.
There isn’t a large number of different plants, flowers and trees, but the gardens are well laid out, and immaculately kept up.
As with most of Louisiana, water is always nearby.
Including this nice pond, with a warning sign to not feed the alligators (which seems like anyone would know that).
We did NOT feed this alligator.
The turtles were safely out of harms way.
A few buildings remain from the early days of Tabasco pepper growing.
This drive is appropriately named Wisteria Lane, as you make your way under the Wisteria arch.
The highlight however is Bird City. In 1895 Edward raised eight egrets in captivity, releasing them in the fall for their migration. The next year they returned with more egrets.
Ever since then thousands of egrets return to Avery Island in the spring and reside there until late summer.
When we arrived for the Tabasco tour we were one of the few who opted to purchase combination tickets for the factory tour and the gardens. It was money well spent!