Category Archives: Art

New Life for the Everglades Wonder Gardens

The Everglades Wonder Gardens in Bonita Springs is an old Florida roadside attraction. The Gardens opened in the 1930’s and operated as a botanical garden, zoo with both exotic and native wildlife, and animal rehabilitation center until April 2013.

Everglades Wonder Gardens
Charming hand-painted signs are found outside and inside the park

The park closed briefly this spring, but a new lease was arranged by a local wildlife photographer, John Brady, who aims to save and modernize the attraction.

entrance
Everglades Wonder Gardens entrance

While in transition, the park re-opened on June 15th. Arthur and I paid a visit on June 24th. Many of the park’s larger resident animals had already been moved to bigger accommodations at other Florida parks. During our visit we noticed that animal enclosures were being opened up or transformed into new exhibits. Some permanently injured birds and both native and exotic turtles and tortoises remain from the old days, along with a flock of flamingos. New animals were also moving in; a small flock of fancy domestic chickens had arrived the day prior to our visit. The park grounds hold onto a lot of old charms while the updates improve life for the resident animals and transform the park into a more modern attraction..

pythons to orchids
An enclosure formerly used for Burmese Pythons will house orchids

fancy chickens
Fancies getting used to new digs

looking
Arthur exploring

resident birds
Non-releasable native birds have a permanent home at the Gardens

caging
Empty enclosures

flamingo
Flamingos have been a fixture at the park since it first opened

12-year-old Double Yellow-headed Amazon Murphy
Murphy, a 12-year-old Double Yellow-headed Amazon

small gators
Small gators in the gator pool

gator closeup
Gator detail; photo by Arthur de Wolf

butterfly garden in progress
Butterfly garden in progress

The small gift shop and museum were in transition, too. A portion of the exhibit space displays Brady’s beautiful Florida nature photos, while old kitschy specimens and other educational displays remain.

gallery
Photo gallery

gallery
Gallery and shop

gator crash
Gator crash!

museum
Museum space

exhibit
Reptilian skulls

specimens
Specimen jars

exit
Taxidermy above the main entrance

An old map of the grounds revealed the large number of animals on display in the past. Older exhibits and resident animals included wild boar, black jaguar, rattlesnakes, a Bald Eagle, an otter pool, Black and King Vultures, a deer yard, and more.

Everglades Wonder Gardens
Old hand-drawn map of the park (above is several digital images roughly stitched together; click to see bigger @ Flickr)

A grand opening is planned for this fall. Read more about the Everglades Wonder Gardens at Visual Ephemera. Watch for news and learn more on the Everglades Wonder Gardens website and Facebook page.

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Eagle Dancer Bear

Back in early October, Arthur and I passed through Cherokee, North Carolina, on our way to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Throughout the town there are life-size statues of bears.

Eagle Dancer Bear

There are 25 statues in the Bears Project. Each fiberglass black bear statue has been individualized by an artist from the Eastern Band of Cherokee. The designs tell a story; this wonderful blog post showcases many of them.

Eagle Dancer Bear

Eagle Dancer Bear

Eagle Dancer Bear

I especially liked “Eagle Dancer Bear” by Lora Powell. I bet you can guess why. It stands in front of the Mountainside Theatre right along Tsali Boulevard, Cherokee’s main drag.

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African birds in Holland

One day during our visit to Holland we went to an art and craft fair at a garden center. Arthur’s cousin had a table there and we went to see her pottery work (check it out, Dutch friends!) and the other artists.

One of the tables represented the metal sculpture gallery Birdwoods. A company now based in New Zealand distributes and sells metal sculptures of (mostly) birds made from recycled oil drums by families in Zimbabwe. That’s a mouthful; read more here, and enjoy these photos of the interesting and beautiful sculptures.

Herons

Hawk

Robin

Stork

Avocets

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Next time, forget The Eye

Earlier this month, Arthur and I went to view Transformers 3 being filmed in Chicago (it was our second visit to the sets). The filming has shut down various parts of the city this summer, and patient spectators can catch glimpses of Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, and other actors and crew while they work on the big-budget sequel. Loud, impressive explosions and fancy stunt work are also a big draw. But… that is not what this post is about. This post is about a big creepy eye, and a red bird.

A surreal art installation is in place at the corner of State and Van Buren in Chicago. News media paid plenty of attention to the big creepy eye that was coming to town, back when the art was put into place in July. But it wasn’t until we approached the eye that we came to understand there is more to this display than initially meets the… you know.

Eye and Cardinal

The display is titled Eye and Cardinal. The creepy giant organ gets top billing, but the lovely Northern Cardinal banners along the road were more interesting to me.

Eye and Cardinal

Eye and Cardinal

Eye and Cardinal

Cardinal1Eye and Cardinal

I usually enjoy surreal art, but in this case I really could have done without The Eye half of this installation. I mean, isn’t it creepy!?

Eye and Cardinal

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Bird Art in Waukegan Art Windows

The other day we were in Waukegan to see a movie. On the way to the parking lot, Arthur noticed some unusual, bold bird art in what we presumed was an art gallery. We walked over to have a look, and found paintings by artist José F. Bolet in an empty store front. The paintings were placed there Part of the Waukegan Art Windows program, where empty storefronts are used to display works of art.

I’m not a big fan of the birds-as-humans ones. I do like the last one, though. What do you think?

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Weird bird food art

I came across this strange bird food art when looking through Flickr the other day.

Heron Day Bento 1
Heron Day Bento 1 by Sakurako Kitsa, Creative Commons on Flickr

Heron Day Bento 3
Heron Day Bento 3 by Sakurako Kitsa, Creative Commons on Flickr

I searched and found a lot more images and sculptures of birds made from food. Check these out:

Food Sculpture
Food Sculpture by Brian O’Donovan, Creative Commons on Flickr

wise owl bento
wise owl bento by gamene, Creative Commons on Flickr

Food sculpture
Food sculpture by Ms. President, Creative Commons on Flickr

goose bento 1
goose bento 1 by Sakurako Kitsa, Creative Commons on Flickr

goose closeup
goose closeup by Sakurako Kitsa, Creative Commons on Flickr

Buffet birds
Buffet birds by Shannon Henry, Creative Commons on Flickr

Turkey Food Sculpture
Turkey Food Sculpture by Brian O’Donovan, Creative Commons on Flickr

Chocolate Owl Sculpture
Chocolate Owl Sculpture by emilywjones, Creative Commons on Flickr

Food sculptures
Food sculptures by Anna’s Photos, Creative Commons on Flickr

Food Sculpture
Food Sculpture by Brian O’Donovan, Creative Commons on Flickr

Food display for the Asian Night
Food display for the Asian Night by wallygrom, Creative Commons on Flickr

twin geese bento
twin geese bento by gamene, Creative Commons on Flickr

Have you ever made a food sculpture that featured birds?

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Brick-headed Birds & Birders

I stumbled upon these great bird-themed Lego projects posted on Flickr a while back. Several were posted to The Mocingbird — A LEGO aviary group. Looks like some of them are from Legoland and some are individual endeavors. I think they’re all pretty neat.

bird watcher
bird watcher by Kalinago English, Creative Commons on Flickr

Flamingos
Flamingos by Loozrboy, Creative Commons on Flickr

Lego Land Dirty Birds
Lego Land Dirty Birds by TwisterMc, Creative Commons on Flickr

Vulture, Legoland
Vulture, Legoland by bixentro, Creative Commons on Flickr

Legoland Florida 17
Legoland Florida 17 by NathanF, Creative Commons on Flickr

Legoland Florida 20
Legoland Florida 20 by NathanF, Creative Commons on Flickr

Slangen en vogels
Slangen en vogels by kriskeller, Creative Commons on Flickr

LEGO Birds
LEGO Birds by taygete05, Creative Commons on Flickr

LEGO store diorama: Ducks
LEGO store diorama: Ducks by ksablan, Creative Commons on Flickr

Bird tree
Bird tree by Bill Ward’s Brickpile, Creative Commons on Flickr

LEGO store diorama: Yellow birds
LEGO store diorama: Yellow birds by ksablan, Creative Commons on Flickr

Decemebr 3rd: Cute bird
Decemebr 3rd: Cute bird by hober, Creative Commons on Flickr

Here are a few more (I’m not embedding them because they are not available to share via Creative Commons):

Lego bird hide!
Lego falconer
Lego Bald Eagle head
A Lego Twitcher
Lego Great Tit
Lego owl family
Lego woodpecker
Lego Mallard
Lego ibis
Lego Cockatoo

Have you ever made a birder or bird out of Legos?

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