Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden – Photoblog

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Kenneth and I were both lucky enough to be off work on the same weekday earlier this week so we decided to spend our day at the Cincinnati Zoo! We both hate crowds and wanted as much time in the sunshine before it got too warm outside so we arrived at the zoo as soon as it opened.

Our early morning trek was rewarded with a very quiet and peaceful zoo experience! We fed the giraffes, who share something in common with our cats (Emma especially) in that they love to lick everything! I asked one of the zoo staff who helped us feed the giraffes about it and her response was that “giraffes are weird.” Pretty much the same conclusion we’ve come to regarding Emma. 🙂 She did tell us that the giraffes may get a small amount of minerals from what they lick or that they like the textures, but they aren’t positive.

You can see my favorite photos below, including one of the gorgeous fossa. This lovely creature held my gaze for what felt like an eternity, but was probably a couple of minutes. It was one of several cool and intense moments I shared with zoo animals that day, including when the orangutan sat right up against the glass picking at his food while Kenneth and I watched (he seems to prefer the Cheerios in his snack mix) and a gecko (a Madagascar Giant Day Gecko to be exact) who threw himself at the glass of his aquarium just as I lowered my face to have a closer look at him. His efforts to be seen (or elicit a shocked scream/gurgle) gets him the honored spot as the featured photo of this post.

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ohio-120x120The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Address: 3400 Vine St. Cincinnati, Ohio 45220

Phone Number: 513-281-4700

Hours: The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is open every day of the year, except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Click here to view hours as they vary by month.

Admission: Children 2-12 and Seniors 62+ – $11. Ages 13 – 61 – $15.

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube

Cincinnati Nature Center + Rowe Woods – Photoblog

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This post has been languishing in my drafts folder for far too long! These photos, taken at the lovely Cincinnati Nature Center and Rowe Woods, are from a trip Kenneth and I took with my Aunt Susie and cousin Emily (plus their adorable, perky dog, Cosmo) last summer.

My aunt and uncle have a family membership, so we joined Aunt Susie, Emily and Cosmo as their guests for an afternoon hike. I’ve heard about the Cincinnati Nature Center for years as it’s a favorite of my Aunt’s and has hosted one of our favorite artists, Charley Harper, many times and continues to sell his work posthumously.

This was Kenneth and my first visit and we had a wonderful time! It’s not a park that we are able to get to very often, but it’s worth a bit of a drive to explore the 16+ miles of hiking trails. It’s one of Cosmo’s favorite places too – every dog we saw looked thrilled to be there!

Enjoy the greenery below!

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ohio-120x120Cincinnati Nature Center + Rowe Woods

Address: 4949 Tealtown Road Milford, Ohio 45150

Phone Number: 513-831-1711

Hours: Grounds hours change seasonally, check website before visiting.

Admission: Children 4-12 $3, Adults $8 and Active military and Seniors (65+) $6.

Social Media: BlogFacebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube

Mother Earth News Blogger

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I have exciting news! I am officially a Mother Earth News blogger! I will be sharing DIY crafts and projects, recipes, gardening ideas and more on the Mother Earth News blog. My first post, DIY Metal Tray Magnet Board with Button Magnets, is already live on the DIY Blog. You can also check out my Bio page here!

Mother Earth News has over 4 million unique visitors each month and individual blog posts are can be seen by thousands of readers every year. Blogging for Mother Earth News may help me start writing for the magazine in the future. Who knows – maybe you’ll see my name in the pages of this magazine someday!

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Krohn Conservatory – Cincinnati Parks

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Built in 1933 during the Art Deco era, the Krohn Conservatory is a beautiful glass house located in Cincinnati’s Eden Park. Krohn Conservatory houses over 3,500 plants from around the world. The plants come from a variety of unique habitats, including tropical rainforests and deserts. Special exhibits at the conservatory include an annual butterfly show and a holiday show. The next show, Ancient Gardeners: Indigenous Earthworks, opens on September 6th. In addition to sunflowers, pumpkins and gourds, the show will also feature a replica of the Great Serpent Mound! Native plants like amaranth, flowering tobacco and the trio of plants that form the “three sisters:” beans, corn and squash, will also be included in the show.

My husband, Kenneth, and I visited Krohn Conservatory for the first time in July. We had just met my parents for breakfast at Taste of Belgium (read my review of my first visit to Taste of Belgium here) and weren’t ready to go home yet. We drove to Eden Park. We would have gone on a walk in the park, which is the best medicine after eating too many crepes, but shortly after we arrived it began to rain. We decided instead to check out Krohn Conservatory.

We first visited the Living Greenhouse. Here we met some sweet little birds, like the cockatiel pictured above, and some friendly fish. I love the style and shape of the giant fish bowls! A pacu and golden severums live in the bowl pictured above. The pacu, which I mistook for a piranha on first observation, is actually known as “the vegetarian piranha.” The name is misleading though, pacu are omnivores and are capable of biting!

The Living Greenhouse houses two of my favorite tropical plants (I’m a plant nerd, so I definitely have categories for my favorite botanicals!): Theobroma cacao, also known as the chocolate tree, and Vanilla planifolia, the orchid from which vanilla is harvested! The Living Greenhouse also has a variety of ferns and other tropical food plants like rose-apple, pomegranate and banana.

One of my favorite features of the Krohn Conservatory is the 20 foot tall waterfall in the Palm House! It’s beautiful and looks so natural, like a real waterfall in the tropical rain forest. The Palm House is the central room of the conservatory and is full of palm trees, bananas, ferns, orchids and other gorgeous flowering plants. A pool of water flows through the center of the Palm House and is home to bright goldfish and large turtles (there’s even a small turtle fountain!).

The Floral Display changes six times a year, showcasing a variety of plants. When we visited we saw the 2014 Summer Show which featured fruits, vegetables and other edible plants. Aeroponic Tower Gardens were also on display with educational information about how they work. Some of the edible plants we checked out included amaranth, beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, lemons and other citrus trees and as well as a variety of herbs.

The Desert Garden is full of drought tolerant plants like cacti and succulents. I loved the hanging display of twelve succulent planters (pictured above)!

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The Krohn Conservatory has a permanent Orchid Display, which includes thousands of individual orchids from 17 different genera. At any time, approximately 75 orchids are in bloom. Above the entrance to the Orchid Display is a helpful sign with descriptions and illustrations of some of the common orchid genera. I saw familiar orchids, like Cattleya, Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum and Vanda, as well as some unfamiliar like BrassiaCypripedium, Epidendrum, and Laelia. The Orchid family is one of the largest families of the flowering plants with over 25,000 species and 880 genera!

In addition to viewing beautiful orchids, we also checked out the Bonsai Collection. Bonsai is a Japanese art form of growing trees in miniature. The roots are contained in a very shallow container and the branches are trimmed to keep the tree small. Some trees are even trained with wires so they appear to be wind-swept, as if they were growing on the edge or on top of a mountain. Some of the bonsai on display belong to Krohn, others belong to the Bonsai Society of Greater Cincinnati or private individuals.

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By the time we finished exploring the Conservatory, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. I was able to get some great photos of rain on petals and leaves outside of the conservatory. We were also able to take that walk in Eden Park we’d been hoping for.

I’m sure we’ll be back to Krohn Conservatory soon – the 2014 Fall Show: Ancient Gardeners: Indigenous Earthworks sounds like a lot of fun!

IMG_1133 IMG_1126 IMG_1124IMG_1107 IMG_1098ohio-120x120Krohn Conservatory

Address: 1501 Eden Park Dr Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Phone Number: 513-352-4080

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm.

Admission: General admission prices are $4 for Adults and $2 for Children 5-12 years old. Admission prices may change with seasonal shows.

Social Media: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube