Saturday, August 24, 2013

365 Photo Project Year 2

This summer the beautiful, cooler-than-normal weather and lack of humidity has resulted in me doing a little more of the tourist thing with friends. 

Aldabra Tortoise
 One of the stops I made early in the month was at Grant’s Farm; a small, but entertaining facility in St. Louis county.  This was the first time I had ever been there as just a tourist, and I have lived here for 8 years.  One of my favorite photos from that day was a close up of the Aldabra Tortoise.  This is the largest tortoise in the world from the island of Aldabra.  The two tortoises at Grant’s Farm have been there since 1954. 

Siberian Tiger
 Later in the month a friend and I did a big day of three stops.  The first stop was Riverside Reptile Ranch, in central Franklin County, for a private tour.  We had a great tour of the facility and a nice up close look at many of the animals.  I took so many photos it is hard to choose just one.  This facility not only has reptiles, but also many mammals.  One of my favorite photos is a close-up of the Siberian Tiger, largest big cat species in the world.  This male slept while we took a look.

Stalagmites and stalactites with drip rings
 Next stop on our trip was Meramec Caverns, also west of St. Louis, in Franklin County.  This awesome cave is very worth the cost of the tour.  At a cool 55 degrees we had about an hour and a half tour, going down to about 360 ft below the surface of the earth.  It was at this point I took one of my favorite photos of the summer of the stalactites and stalagmites, with the water making drip rings on the surface of the pool.

View of St. Louis from the top of the Arch
 The last stop was a stop at the Gateway Arch.  I had been to the arch outside a few times before, but never in and up.  The concept of going up was a little nerve-racking considering I am not a fan of heights.  However, I made it to the top with a few encouraging words from other visitors that had gone up earlier with the same misgivings.  Luckily it was a very calm day and not too hot.  The view after a ride in the egg tram was very beautiful.  I have included a photo of the Missouri view. 

St. Louis Gateway Arch
 Lastly we walked over to the pond near the arch and took a few photos, so my last photo is just a nice photo of the arch.

Sometimes taking the time to be a tourist in the town you live in is nice.  Just a few words to the wise: early is always good as the crowds are smaller.  Go early in the week if you can, and just be patient.

Submitted by Cathy Spahn, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

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