Estes Park Aerial Tramway

One of the fun things we did while we were in Colorado was to take the Estes Park Aerial Tramway. It’s an older tram and fairly small, which probably makes more fun.  My older kids had been on a tram several years ago at Sandia Mountain in New Mexico, but not all of them even remember it, so this was a new experience or at least seemed like a new experience for a couple of my kids, and they loved it!

There was a beautiful view from the top and a picture just does not do it justice.

View from the top of the Tram

But the favorite part of the tram experience was that the gift shop at the top sold peanuts that could be fed to the animals that lived right outside their door. You’ve never seen such fat birds and squirrels, or at least I never had.

Feeding Fat Squirrels in Estes Park

Feeding Fat Squirrels in Estes Park
If you wanted to learn the ill effects of feeding wildlife, this was a great place to study it. The animals there were fat, demanding and way to comfortable around people, but I guess as long as they stay in the back yard of that gift shop, all will be okay, other than that they will have heart disease from being obese.

Museum of Glass

If you are ever in Tacoma, Washington, I have two tourists stops to recommend: the Point Defiance Zoo and the Museum of Glass. This post is not about the zoo though, it’s about the Museum of Glass. (Hence the title.)

The museum of glass is one of the neatest places to visit. Some of the art pieces are almost like eye candy, they are just so colorful and pretty.

Glass Exhibits outside of the Museum


There is a bridge next the museum that goes over the highway, and has all sorts of interesting pieces of art. The above picture shows a pair of art pieces. The two pictures below show the ceiling that looks like it is full of colorful jelly fish made of glass.

Ceiling in Glass Bridge

Ceiling in Glass Bridge

Along the bridge is a wall a glass vases of so many sizes, colors and designs, that it is just stunning.

Glass Bridge


You also get to watch glass blowing. They actually have a glass blowing institute in the museum, so there are very good artists in there teaching students their different techniques. It’s very interesting (and warm).

Watching Glass Blowing

My favorite exhibit at the museum (a traveling exhibit, unfortunately) was the Paul J. Stankard exhibit. (Click on the link to see some of his pieces.) They are so much prettier in real life though. The next time it’s back at the museum, I will definitely go.

High Desert Museum

We love the High Desert Museum. There is so much to see in natural history, native history and pioneer history there and sometimes other types exhibits too. We have a lot of fun learning about all three of the permanent subjects exhibited there. You’ll probably guess by the snow in the picture, that this was not from yesterday, but it was from a fun day. (Actually we did visit there just a couple of weeks ago, but I still need to get those photos off of my camera. So that post will have to be some other day, maybe for Christmas.)

High Desert Museum Sign

Snow at the High Desert Museum


When we made this visit several months back, we were fortunate that they had a temporary butterfly house in the museum. We had so much fun watching the butterflies. A butterfly landed on JD’s finger. That was quite a treat. It sat there for several minutes and we enjoyed it immensely.



Butterfly on His Hand


There are a few more pictures in my Flickr album from that day at the High Desert Museum, that you can look at if you’d like. Just click here.


Point Defiance Zoo

For G’tums birthday, (which was more than a little while ago,) he wanted to go to the zoo. So we took a day and visited the Point Defiance Zoo.

We have two zoos that are within an hour of us, and we usually like to visit the Woodland Park Zoo, but we decided that for a change we would visit the Point Defiance Zoo. Personally, I like the Woodland Park Zoo better. There are just a lot more and interesting animals to see at the Woodland Park Zoo. However, the Point Defiance Zoo has a few exhibits that Woodland Park doesn’t have. The Point Defiance Zoo has a fun aquarium to visit, with lots of tanks to peer into as well as touching tanks where the kids can touch sea stars and more. The Point Defiance Zoo also has the best wolf exhibit. While Woodland Park does have wolves, I have never once been able to see them there. They are always hiding. At Point Defiance, there are lots of wolves in the wolf exhibit, and you are just pretty much guaranteed to see some wolves. So there is my comparison of the two zoos, if you are in the Puget Sound area and trying to choose a zoo to visit.

Here are a few pictures from our day.

There were tiger cubs that were rollicking around when we there. And even though I wouldn’t want to meet them without a piece of glass between me and them, they sure were the cutest things ever.


Tiger Cubs Playing

Here is one of the many beautiful wolves that we saw. That was definitely my favorite part of the zoo. (And I’m a little proud of this picture, because even though the copyright has my husband’s name on it, I took it. He’s the real photographer around here, but whenever I get a winner, I’m proud of it!!)


As my dad always says, “The best part of going to the zoo is watching the people.” So here are some people pictures.

My beautiful daughter and me.

Mom and Daughter at the Zoo

A rather fussy little girl getting a free ride on the shoulders of her handsome daddy.

Dad & a fussy girl

My very own monkeys climbing on the playground equipment in the zoo.

Practicing his monkey skills at the Point Defiance Zoo

PointDefiance (7)

On top of the jungle gym - Point Defiance Zoo

What a fun day! And definitely it was a happy birthday for the birthday boy of the day.

Oregon Caves National Monument

We took a trip to Oregon Caves National Monument and brushed up on some of our geology. Unfortunately, we were not able to see the bats, but we were able to have a very interesting tour through the cave, and the kids were able to earn another Junior Ranger Badge.

A view into the cave.

Oregon Caves

A view of some of the stalactites.


This is called flowstone. It’s kind of pretty. You can tell how it got it’s name.


The next picture, even though it is out of focus, was very interesting to me. If you look closely, you can see graffiti on the rocks. These are the signatures of some of the early explorers of the cave. One of the interesting things about this graffiti is that a new layer of rock has formed over the top of the graffiti. What’s neat about that is that there are dates in some of the signatures, so the geologists have been able to measure the thickness of rock that has formed over the graffiti and then look at the date and therefore calculate the rate that the rocks in that cave are forming.

100+ year old graffiti

Here are the kids saying their Junior Ranger Pledge. (This is their least favorite part of doing the Junior Ranger programs, because a lot of the rangers ask them to promise to eat their broccoli or to tell their mother how beautiful she is or to give the ranger a chocolate cake or some unrelated thing like that and .)

Junior Rangers at Oregon Caves

Seattle Aquarium

It was a beautiful day in Seattle. There is nothing like a beautiful day in Seattle. And they are oh, so precious.


This was the same day that we visited Pike Place Market. When we were finished at the market, we made our way down to the Seattle Aquarium. This is the view from the pier outside the aquarium.

Seattle Ferris Wheel

One of our favorite things about the aquarium is the touching pools.

Baby Touching Sea Anemone

The Seattle Aquarium is a really great attraction for the Puget Sound area, because it’s mostly indoors. So all during the rainy season, or whatever you call it around here, you can visit and stay dry. Just so you know what an important issue it is, the Woodland Park Zoo offers free parking October through March and charges for parking the rest of the year. I usually go when I have to pay for parking, and can’t find parking either. But the aquarium is a great place to get a membership, because it’s fun to go there no matter what the weather is like.

Cousins at the Aquarium

Pike Place Market

Okay, I have a reputation of posting things that happened a long time ago, because I’m just now getting around to posting them on my blog. I have a few of those, from the summer (and older), but I just have to post a few of the photos to my blog, because I love them. So here it goes.

Awhile back, (I’m not telling how long ago, that would be embarrassing) we visited the Pike Place Market for the first time. Well, honestly, I’m vegetarian and I can’t stand the smell of fish. (Sorry, if that’s your favorite food.) So while, I’ve gone close to Pike Place before, I’ve always steered clear. But we had family visiting, so we decided that it would be good to take them to Seattle to see the landmarks of Seattle. Pike Place was the place of choice. You know what? I had a blast, and I didn’t even smell the fish all the time. (I did some of the time, and I just buried my face in my collar.)

The first couple of pictures will probably give away when we were there. There were the most beautiful bunches of tulips. It was amazing.

Pike Place Tulips

Pike Place Tulips (2)

And check out the produce. Wouldn’t you love to have that around the corner from your house, so you could run pick up some of that produce whenever you felt the need. I would. My mouth watered at the sight of that. Well, it would have if I hadn’t been able to smell the fish right then.

Pike Place Produce

Pike Place Produce (2)

And yes, there was fish. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see any of the famous fish throwing, but that was partly because I kept my distance from that part of the market.

Pike Place Fish

Fish and all, I really enjoyed it Pike Place Market. I want to go back. (I will wear a turtleneck even if it’s summer so that I can bury my nose.) It is just a really neat experience. I saw all kinds of local made crafts, photography, soaps, candles, canned foods, you name it. It was a fun place to visit.

Animals in Everglades National Park

Of course, birds are our favorite to see in new places, but we saw some very interesting animals too. Reptiles definitely ruled the day. We saw very few mammals. I’m not sure if we saw any mammals while we were in the Everglades National Park. We couldn’t even think of any squirrels that we saw there. Oh, I remember now, we saw some dolphins. We weren’t able to identify which kind though.

Here are a few pictures we caught. (Captions: Top-American Alligator; Middle-Congregation of Alligator Hatchlings; Bottom-American Crocodile)

American Alligator

Congregation of Allegators

American Croc

Here is our list from Everglades of non-bird animals that we saw (both reptiles and mammals.)

American Alligator (and a congregation of hatchlings)

American Crocodile

Florida soft-shell turtle (in pond)

Common Snapping Turtle

Unidentified Sea Turtle

Unidentified Dolphin

Birds in the Everglades National Park

We were very excited to take some time to visit the Everglades National Park. We left the rainy Pacific Northwest to soak up some much needed Vitamin D and whatever else we gain from real sunshine.

We saw so many things at the park, that we just can’t find in the Northwest that it was a real thrill. We went on a (long and slow) canoe trip in search of manatee and other mangrove swamp wildlife. We saw—drum roll—a Great Blue Heron and a Belted Kingfisher. I don’t know if you can hear a little disappointment in my voice—both of those birds live in the Northwest. And, besides that, we had already seen a Belted Kingfisher between every pair of telephone poles along the highway. Oh, well, it was nice to get some sun. (And actually, we rarely see the Kingfishers around here, so I rather like them.)

Okay, for real, we did see a lot, but most of it was just along the side of the road.

Here are a few pictures that we managed. As always, there are a few pictures we wish we would have gotten of exciting things we saw, such as the Rosette Spoonbill. But we got some pictures that we are pretty excited about too.

Tri-colored Heron

Tri-colored Heron with his fish

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron watching intently for his next fish

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret checking his hairdo in the mirror.

Great Egret

Great Egret standing pretty

American White Ibis

White Ibis protecting her nest


Cormorant with swimmer’s hair.

All of these pictures were taken at Shark Valley in the Everglades National Park. And most of them were actually taken while we were waiting on the very slow process of getting through the ticket booth. It was an amazing stop that day. If you’re a birder, and in that area, I highly recommend the stop.

Last, but not least, I want to show our very special bird that we got to see on this trip. We were all hoping that we could see this bird on this trip. It is quite rare and, oh so pretty. Check out the feet on this guy. We saw it at the same location.

Purple Gallinule

Purple Gallinule

Here is our bird list from the Everglades

Purple Gullinule Northern Mockingbird
Pied-billed Grebe Glossy Ibis
Green Heron Cormorant
Black-crowned Night Heron Rosette spoonbill
American Crow Black vulture
Little Blue Heron Turkey vulture
Anhinga Little Blue Heron
Snowy Egret Great Egret
Great Egret White Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron Blue-winged Teal
Belted Kingfisher Green-winged Teal
Tri-color Heron Common Grebe
White Ibis American Coot
Common Gallinule Fish Crow
Cardinal Osprey