Wednesday, March 13, 2024

March 13, 2024~ Myakka River State Park


Myakka River State Park is one of Florida's largest, oldest, and diverse natural areas. Birding, hiking, canoeing, leisurely enjoying a tram ride through the fertile marshes, boat tours, available campsites, bike and canoe rentals, picnic area, Lazy Gator Cafe......... this 58 square miles of wetlands, prairies, hammocks and pinelands is worthy of a visit. BEWARE OF ALLIGATORS!!!!! (State Road 72, Sarasota, FL)

I don't think I would be crazy enough to ever want to photograph wildlife in this muck below!!!!

We enjoyed walking over the bridge to the lookout point. The weather was perfect, few crowds, and NO MISQUITOES.
Yes, LOTS of alligators! (Photos were taken with my LONG LONG lens!😁)

March 13, 2024~Sarasota, South Florida National Cemetery

 *Florida has nine National Cemeteries, all part of the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS. The VA's National Cemetery Administration maintains 155 national cemeteries in 42 states and Puerto Rico. The largest military cemetery in the US is, of course, Arlington National Cemetery, containing over 400,000 headstones and spans 639 acres. 

The cemetery is open to the public daily. Here, within the cemetery, sets a 2,800-seat outdoor amphitheater that holds scheduled events throughout the year. Patriot Plaza was dedicated on June 28, 2014. 

"The Plaza features commissioned art that honors veterans, inspires patriotism , and embraces freedom."

The entire cemetery was one of peace and reflection. "The interment area provide for nearly 15,200 casket gravesites, including 14,800 pre-placed crypts, 8,600 in ground cremains and 7,200 columbarium niches." 

What a reminder of ultimate sacrifice this 295-acres provided.
Indeed, our nation's heroes!

Take a moment to say "THANK YOU" as you watch my 18 second video below.
If you are in the Sarasota area, stop by for an hour or two.

Monday, March 11, 2024

March 11, 2024~ Venice Audubon Rookery, Florida

Birdwatching, bird photography, special friends and 75 degrees...... what more could you ask for!
The Venice Audubon Rookery Park allows visitors to view wildlife from benches in the shaded pavilion or walk around the small pond. The park is open to the public from dawn to dusk.

Our visit was a 'first time experience' for both Ron and me.

The nesting season (December through May) is the busiest time but visitors can observe wildlife year round. 
Alligators patrol the lake, keeping predators away from the birds. The bird selection for photography purposes was not numerous, but the experience in setting up, using my tripod, and focusing on the birds was tremendous!

Sunday, March 10, 2024

March 10, 2024~John and Mable Ringling Mansion and Circus Museum


Sunday afternoon was the picture perfect day to tour the John and Mable Ringling Mansion and the  Circus Museum, located at 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, Florida. 

"With 36,000 square feet and 56 rooms, the Ringlings' opulent winter home Ca' d'Zan was meant to impress! Completed in 1926 after only two years of construction, the mansion quickly became a social hub in Sarasota. Today, Ca' d'Zan offers a glimpse into John and Mable's taste and lifestyle, transporting visitors back to the glamorous age of the Roaring Twenties."

"Ca' d'Zan is lavishly decorated with wrought-iron balconies and Moorish style windows."

We opted for the tour of the first floor only, including the outside grounds, as well as the Circus Museum(That combo ticket was $33.00ea). After researching and conversing with several people, I wish we had purchased the higher priced ticket to include the second floor!  (Several years ago, we toured the robust Museum of Art, which is also located on the grounds. The Museum of Art is exceptional. It, IMHO,  requires a full day to soak in all of the masterpieces by the greatest of artists!
The 5-story mansion features 41 rooms + 15 BATHROOMS😬.

The mansion's colored pastel glass panes, the atrium ceiling +  all of the other ceilings, the marble floors, staircases, the views overlooking Sarasota Bay, the decor, the Venetian Gothic architecture 😗..... it was impossible to 'take it all in'.

This room ↑↑↑ also houses the famous AEOLIAN ORGAN!
I cannot imagine the sounds coming from the organ, and the gala events that took place in this room! It must have been absolutely magnificent and majestic!

***Photos are all mine, and taken with Iphone 14. No camera, however, does justice to the beauty and grandeur of this spectacular mansion

Even the kitchen was a treat!

The Circus Museum included historic wagons, costumes, exhibits, elaborate tapestries, and the private Pullman car (The Wisconsin) used by John and Mable when they traveled to follow the circus! The Ringlings' private railroad car, was the equivalent of a private jet, that had beds, toilets, plush velvet couches and even a bathtub😬!

The Circus Museum was very well done!

For all of the railroad buffs, the Wisconsin was almost indescribable!

*****"When John Ringling (who created the Ringling Brothers Circus with his siblings) died in 1936, he bequeathed his Sarasota mansion, estate, and a museum housing his art collection to the state of Florida." 
We have visited Sarasota many times. This was our FIRST VISIT to John and Mable Ringling's Mansion. #NewToMeAt75.