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.
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.
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..
An enclosure formerly used for Burmese Pythons will house orchids
Fancies getting used to new digs
Non-releasable native birds have a permanent home at the Gardens
Flamingos have been a fixture at the park since it first opened
Murphy, a 12-year-old Double Yellow-headed Amazon
Small gators in the gator pool
Gator detail; photo by Arthur de Wolf
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 and shop
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!?
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?
Seen at Ryerson Woods.
Based on the large size 😉 and beak-to-head ratio, I’m calling this a Hairy Woodpecker.
Find other sky shots from around the world at Skywatch Friday.
When we visited Lake Geneva back in October I saw these interesting Purple Martin condos by the water. I wonder if they attract any summer breeders?
I came across this strange bird food art when looking through Flickr the other day.
Heron Day Bento 1 by Sakurako Kitsa, Creative Commons on Flickr
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 by Brian O’Donovan, Creative Commons on Flickr
wise owl bento by gamene, Creative Commons on Flickr
Food sculpture by Ms. President, Creative Commons on Flickr
goose bento 1 by Sakurako Kitsa, Creative Commons on Flickr
goose closeup by Sakurako Kitsa, Creative Commons on Flickr
Buffet birds by Shannon Henry, Creative Commons on Flickr
Turkey Food Sculpture by Brian O’Donovan, Creative Commons on Flickr
Chocolate Owl Sculpture by emilywjones, Creative Commons on Flickr
Food sculptures by Anna’s Photos, Creative Commons on Flickr
Food Sculpture by Brian O’Donovan, Creative Commons on Flickr
Food display for the Asian Night by wallygrom, Creative Commons on Flickr
twin geese bento by gamene, Creative Commons on Flickr
Have you ever made a food sculpture that featured birds?
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 by Kalinago English, Creative Commons on Flickr
Flamingos by Loozrboy, Creative Commons on Flickr
Lego Land Dirty Birds by TwisterMc, Creative Commons on Flickr
Vulture, Legoland by bixentro, Creative Commons on Flickr
Legoland Florida 17 by NathanF, Creative Commons on Flickr
Legoland Florida 20 by NathanF, Creative Commons on Flickr
Slangen en vogels by kriskeller, Creative Commons on Flickr
LEGO Birds by taygete05, Creative Commons on Flickr
LEGO store diorama: Ducks by ksablan, Creative Commons on Flickr
Bird tree by Bill Ward’s Brickpile, Creative Commons on Flickr
LEGO store diorama: Yellow birds by ksablan, Creative Commons on Flickr
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 Bald Eagle head
A Lego Twitcher
Lego Great Tit
Lego owl family
Have you ever made a birder or bird out of Legos?
Have you seen the amazing hand art of Guido Daniele? The Italian artist has an amazing portfolio of art, including hand art bird images. Visit the artist’s page to see fantastic work: Guido Daniele. Click the following links to see some examples on Flickr.
Bald Eagle portrait
Bald Eagle wings
Eurasian Eagle Owl