Potter’s Zoo

We decided to celebrate the end of summer and beginning of fall by taking our granddaughter to Potter’s Zoo. The Zoo is part of Potter Park in Lansing, Michigan.

It is the oldest public zoo in Michigan. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 1986, the Zoo has also received the AZA Quarter Century Award recognizing their accreditation for 25 years or more. The Zoo covers over 20 acres and includes over 500 individual animals representing approximately 160 different species.

Every year they publish an annual report. The report for 2020 shows that even in spite of Covid-19 and being closed for 92 days (March 13 – June 15) they had 90,920 visitors.

The land for the Park was donated in 1910 by James W. Potter. He first donated 58 acres and later in 1917 gave an additional 27 acres. Additional donations of land from others increased the park to its present 102 acres.

Our first stop were the North American River Otters.

So many different animals to enjoy but one of my favorites was the peacock. These birds were walking all around the zoo. So beautiful when they open up their wings.

It was a very hot day and the lions and leopards were taking life easy.

We got to see the black rhino Jaali just before the Zoo will be saying goodbye to him.

Jaali was born at the Zoo in 2019. This was a special event for the Zoo as he is one of only a few black rhinos born in zoos. Jaali has been used to draw attention to black rhino conservation. Rhinos are becoming close to being extinct and veterinarians, zookeepers, rhino experts, and multiple AZA institutions have been working to try to breed more rhinos. Recently a breeding match for Jaali has been discovered and he will be soon be leaving to join his mate at another zoo where it is hoped they will find true love and increase the rhino population. The Zoo is actually holding a going-away party for Jaali in October.

Our granddaughter loves wolves so we had to make a stop there.

 It was interesting to see the reasons why wolves howl.

  • To assemble the pack before and after hunts.
  • To alarm one another of danger.
  • To send territorial message from one pack to another.
  • Or, simply because they hear a nearby wolf howing.

The sign also told us that when wolves howl together, they harmonize rather than use the same note. This creates an illusion that there are more wolves in the pack than there actually are.

Another of the species in danger of extinction is the Eastern Bongo. From African, I thought these animals were very pretty.

There were several different kind of birds, but the one I loved the best was the bald eagle.

I did not realize there are different kinds of foxes. To me, a fox was a fox. We saw the Artic Fox, whose habitat is of course, the northern regions near the North Pole. I wonder how they like our hot summers here.

And the bat-eared fox was very interesting with its large ears – like a bat. We were told that these large ears help them locate beetle larvae buried underneath the ground.

By the time we had walked near the back of the zoo, I was so tired. Thankfully we found a nice place to sit and enjoy the farm animals.

By the end of the visit, we were happy but tired. A last visit at the gift shop was, of course, in order.

Just give me a cold drink please!

Bier Art Gallery

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On our recent trip north to the tip of the mitten to see the beautiful fall trees, we also found some great art galleries.  Just south of Charlevoix is the Bier Art Gallery housed in a beautifully restored school house.  The gallery is owned by Ray and Tami Bier.  The Biers were both artists when they met and after marriage they began selling their stoneware pottery.  As time passed and they met many other artists they decided to purchase a place to showcase not only their art, but that of the many friends they had made through the years.

They purchased an old school house and turned it into the beautiful gallery it is today.

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Among the many different galleries in the school house is the pottery gallery which features the Bier’s art.  So many beautiful artifacts.  Since we have downsized this past year I had to just look but not buy.  It was so tempting though to purchase something.

The sculpture gallery was such a fun place.  So many different characters and ideas!

 

Beautiful pieces in the glass gallery – but I was afraid to even touch them lest I break one.

Many of the works in the metal gallery were actually displayed outside.  We thought of our youngest granddaughter, Zoe, and how she would love some of the displays.

Being a jewelry nut – a woman can never have too much jewelry – it was hard to walk through the jewelry gallery without buying something.  But I am proud of myself!  I resisted these beautiful pieces of art.

What a nice addition this gallery was to our trip.  Seeing the beauty God created in nature with all the fall colors and then seeing the beauty God also created through the talents He has given to men and women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wait Was Worth It!

Home again after taking a trip to the top of the mitten to see the Tunnel of Trees.  Since moving to Michigan last year I have heard a lot about this short section of highway (approximately 27 miles) that follows the shore of Lake Michigan and the Little Traverse Bay.

Told by many how beautiful it is in the fall when the trees all turn beautiful shades of red, yellow and orange, I have waited all year to make the trip.

Was it worth it?

Yes – and no

Basically I was told three main things about the tunnel.  Two of which I found to be true.

The road was said to be very narrow.  Boy was it!  There is no center line painted on the road.  Many places were so narrow when we met another car one of us had to pull over on the tiny shoulder so the other car could go by.

I was told it was very windy.  Boy was it!  We would just get through one stretch of curves when we would find another one waiting.

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But there were no colors!  No oranges, reds or yellows!  The website for the Tunnel of Trees indicated that this time was the peak for the colors.

Disappointed!!!

I am guessing if we returned in a week we would find the colors and the beauty they talked about.

However, the trip was not in vain.  While there were no colors in the tunnel driving across the middle of the mitten getting to and from the tunnel there were colors everywhere.  We discovered that the trees near the lake turn colors slower than inland.

So – now we know.

While the tunnel was a disappointment – the trip was not.

 

Acres and acres of trees – as far as the eye could see – brilliant colors!

What an artist God is!  And what variety!  He could have made one tree – but look at all the different trees we have.

The wait was truly worth it!

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Off to the Tunnel of Trees

Last year we moved to Michigan in October – just in time to enjoy the beautiful fall colors!  The street we moved to had big trees up and down the block and every time we went somewhere I loved driving down our street.

 

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We were told about a place on the northern part of the lower peninsula called the Tunnel of Trees.  It sounded like it would be gorgeous and I wanted to make the trip up north.  But, just moving in and trying to get settled that was not feasible  We did not have the time or the energy to make the trip.

All through the winter (which was not all that bad considering our home back in Illinois got clobbered with lots of snow), the dreary spring (where I came to understand the warning I had been given about Michigan cloudy days), and the magnificent summer with all the road trips spent exploring the state I waited for fall to come.

Today we head north and I am excited about seeing all the oranges, reds, yellows in the trees up north.

We made some trips up north this summer so I know there are lots of trees to see.  On one trip we stopped to get pictures of all the trees when we saw this sign.

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Seeing that warning we decided to just keep driving for awhile before stopping to take pictures.

While I do not want to run into any bears, I am so ready for this trip.  Like all things I have heard pros and cons about this stretch of road.  Most reports have been very positive telling me it will be beautiful and I will love the small towns along the way.  A few have said it was not that great and not really worth the trip.

Well – I will soon find out.  Knowing how I have always had a love affair with trees – and how I have so enjoyed my new state of Michigan because of all the trees, I think I will enjoy it.

Stay tuned for pictures – and you can decide if you think it was worth the wait!

 

 

 

 

First Commercial Sawmill in Minnesota

While visiting the St Croix River Valley we found the site of the first commercial sawmill in what became the state of Minnesota.  Two lumbermen from Marine Illinois, David Hone and Lewis Judd, finding the area’s abundant white pine, decided to build a sawmill here.  They named the spot Marine after their hometown in Illinois.  On August 24, 1839, they established the first commercial sawmill, The Marine Lumber Company.

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By 1877 the mill was supplying work for an average of fourteen men and the town of Marine Minnesota had grown around the mill.  Operating for Marine Mill for almost sixty years, the mill produced much of the lumber that was used for construction of many of the towns and cities of Minnesota as well as St. Louis and Chicago.

Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 today you can see portions of the stone engine house and the large wheel dating from 1873 and the stream that powered the mill.

 

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If you look closely you can see parts of the foundation of the old mill

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The steam that powered the sawmill

Driving into the town of Marine the views of St Criox River in the fall were spectacular and worth the trip!

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Taking a Leisurely Fall Walk

I love this time of year!

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Time for rides through the country.  Time for leisurely walks enjoying the beautiful colors of the trees.

We humans are not the only ones who enjoy a family walk this time of year.

Driving through the woods we had to stop to give this family of wild turkeys a chance to cross the road.

They took their sweet old time – no hurry here.

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