During our recent trip to Minnesota we were pleasantly surprised when we made a last-minute decision to visit Como Park Zoo & Conservatory in Saint Paul. The conservatory was our main focus but when we realized that the zoo was right next door, we thought, “why not.” The fact that there was no admission fee for either place made a visit there even more enticing.
Besides the splendid plant collections inside the conservatory, there was a beautiful Japanese Garden and a spectacular show of water lilies outside the Visitor Center.
Although the zoo may not be as large as some, it had an amazing collection of animals in natural enclosures that allowed for some nice close-up photography opportunities.
Both the zoo and conservatory are operated by the Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Department and are open year-round.
I can highly recommend a visit to the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. It’s a great place for family fun as it also includes a small amusement park and carousel.
The subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, set for us this week by Tina Schell, is Colorful and, following her example of introducing a little “fun and frivolity” into the mix, I decided to experiment with some pictures that I took recently at the Como Zoo and Conservatory in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
One of the reasons I started playing around with these images was the fact that, after looking at the many pictures of water lilies that I’ve amassed in the photo files over the years, they’ve all started to look very much the same.
For those of you who approve, I’ll try this ‘digital messing about’ again sometime with another subject. For those of you who don’t, I promise to try and restrain myself from getting too carried away with the experiment in the future.
For more on the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge go to #8: COLORFUL
Earlier this autumn we traveled up north to visit Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, Minnesota. Despite the fact that the sun decided to hide behind the clouds for much of the time, there were still a few good opportunities for outside photos. The garden was, understandably, past it’s best, but you could get a sense of how beautiful it would look when everything was in flower. I could definitely understand why our guide said it was a popular venue for weddings, despite the rather macabre history of the house.
Glensheen sits right on the shores of Lake Superior and, depending on the weather, the view from the beach can look rather forbidding or quite inviting.
Walking through the grounds, which originally covered 22 acres but have now been reduced to 12, we came across a bridge that led to precisely nowhere.
The view from the bridge was quite interesting, however. The Congdon family wanted to preserve as much of the natural beauty of the property as possible and if you look from one side of the bridge you can see the house framed by trees and from the other side you can see down to the lake.
The landscaping was carried out some time between 1905 and 1908 by Charles Wellford Leavitt who designed the estate to be self sufficient, incorporating a large vegetable garden, greenhouse, orchard, cow barn and water reservoir in the plans. Glensheen is well worth a visit not only for the very interesting tour of the house but also the garden and grounds.