Dating from the late 1800s, the Carlos Thays Botanicall Garden is a beautiful setting for the plants, trees, sculptures and buildings that make up the 17 acre urban oasis. It is located just off the Plaza italia.
Springtime in Argentina means the flowers are in blown, as are the spectacular purple Jacaranda trees! A good day to spend in the parks of the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires.
Our Saturday continued with a tour of Greenlawn Cemetery. While nowhere close to as impressive as Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, or even Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Greenlawn is the final resting place for numerous famous Ohioans including 5 governors, as well as a number of military sections for the various wars since the mid 1800s, among the 150,000+ people buried here.
Columbus’s favorite son – famed aviator and more – Eddie Rickenbacker.
Just south of downtown Houston is Hermann Park, and the McGovern Centennial Gardens. It is a small, well thought out space with flowers, plants and statues.
The statues featured great Latin American leaders, as well as (strangely) Scottish poet Robert Burns!
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!
City Park in New Orleans is a perfect place to escape the hustle of the city and relax. It is larger than Central Park in New York, with a number of attractions throughout, including the New Orleans Botanical Garden.
There is an impressive piazza just across the street.
The street itself is lined with Live Oaks, complete with Spanish Moss.
The Arrival Garden is colorful, with the flowers growing up the wall.
There is a nearby sculpture garden, as well as sculptures scattered throughout the gardens themselves.
The walkway was in full bloom.
Most of the gardens were destroyed by the flood waters from Hurricane Katrina, but with donations and volunteers from all over the country it has recovered nicely.
The Train Garden is designed to represent New Orleans in the early 1900s. It has over 1300′ of track, and on weekends they run the trains.
The Yakumo Nihon Teien Japanese Garden was completed by the Japanese Garden Society of New Orleans.
Throughout the gardens are well placed sculptures to accent the flowers and plants.
City Park is home to more Live Oaks than any other urban space in the country.
A view inside the Conservatory of the Two Sisters.
A final look back towards the gardens.
And the Arrival Garden becomes our Departure Garden.
As a spectacular bonus just across the street is the Casino Building, which is being restored. Just outside on this beautiful day was the Cafe du Monde beignet truck!
No need to fight the crowd in the French Quarter, we had wonderful, warm, powdery beignets in the relative calm (along with 30 4th graders on a field trip!) of the park.
The Gulf Coast Gator Ranch is located in the swamps of southern Mississippi, near the town of Moss Point. They specialize in raising alligators for commercial use, but they also retrieve ‘nuisance’ alligators from golf courses, etc.
Their ranch is surrounded by a levee and fence to keep the wild alligators away from their alligators. Because their gators get lots to eat they grow to impressive sizes.
They lurk about in the ponds and nearby grasses.
You can buy ‘gator chow’ and throw them over the fence to the gators.
They are everywhere!
Some just hang out on land enjoying the warm Mississippi sun.
Our host, and boat captain – Captain ‘Frog’ – brought out a baby alligator for us to hold.
It was time for part 2 of our morning – an airboat ride!
Just outside their ranch we found this guy keeping an eye on us.
Fortunately he was just hanging around for a snack as well – marshmallows.
As we headed out into the swamp we passed by even more gators.
The black waters of the bayous were beautiful. Captain Frog was very knowledgeable about the plants and flowers of the swamp, and the traditional uses, as he grew up in the swamps of Louisiana. He had the perfect Louisiana accent to go with it.
We would ride for a while then stop and check out the wildlife and surroundings.
At times Captain Frog would pick up speed as we went sailing through the grasses with ease.
There is an amazing amount of beauty in the swamp.
This might look like a pile of brush, but it is an alligator nest, where the female gators place their eggs.
For good measure we passed a couple more gators on the way back to the dock.
It was great to ride along with Captain Frog – we learned about the swamp, saw lots of gators, and had a good time blasting around in the air boat.
Gulf Coast Gator Ranch is a highly recommended stop if you are in the area.