SeaQuest – Folsom, California

Seaquest opened a branch in Folsom, California and I was fortunate enough to be gifted an annual family pass.  I stopped in to see what all the fuss was about and saw a line of hundreds out the door!  Soooo, I stopped by again another day after the kids were back in school and found it to be an interesting an enjoyable visit.  It boasts turtles which can be touches and petted, a bird sanctuary with parakeets and lorikeets, piglets, lizards, frogs, lots of fish, rays, snakes, and ducks.   I must say I can’t believe it is the safest or healthiest of habitats for the animals which leaves me a little unsettled.  But, I can say it is a spectacular way to teach and inspire children about animals, sea life, and the ocean by allowing them to see, touch, smell, talk to, and interact with the animals.  Nevertheless, I am not sure how much it teaches about management and care of wildlife…

These guys always look like they are smiling from this angle

Folks can snorkel with and touch the animals

Pool with a view!

Petting zoo for little ones…surprised they don’t make everyone mandatorily wash their hands before and after…

 

Folsom Prison Museum – Folsom, California

Folsom Prison Museum is a tiny and random museum attached to the current Folsom Prison in California.  Parking and walking in isn’t for the faint of heart since you drive down Prison road and park in the same place as all of the visitors meeting with their prisoner loved ones.  You even have to walk through the Prison Gate in order to get to the front door of the museum.  From there things go up!  You are greeted with a warm welcome to an obscure and interesting micro museum.

The museum boasts a number of interesting newspaper articles, photos, prison art, Johhny Cash memorabilia, prison contraband, and other historical artifacts of note even if some are somewhat macaub.  It is an interesting stop one which won’t take you much time and might be coupled nicely with a walk or ride on the nearby lovely Johnny Cash Trail.

Toothpick anyone?

Looks cold, damp, and drafty to me

Johnny is all over this museum

Contraband weapons

The museum has lots of great photos to look through like these before and after dress out and shave photos

Yikes, its a noose

Old guard tower that could tell some crazy stories

The real prison gate which Johnny was photographed in front of

Submitted also to Kammie’s Odd Ball Challenge over at Nut House Central!

Joshua Tree National Park – Save the parks

I cut my teeth photographing Joshua Tree National Park with my first medium format Hasselblad somewhere around 2000.  Looking back the photos I was so proud of at the time have a lot of flaws.  But, my memories are some of the best I have ever had photographing a National park or the outdoors in general.  I fell in love with this park and its unusual and amazingly distinct Joshua Trees.  It breaks my heart to see that the park has been shut down due to politics.  And it is even worse to read reports of damage to the park’s treasured and protected Joshua Trees.  I am disappointed in the people who would do such damage to a park and it’s innocent trees.  And I am disappointed in our government for not doing what it has been charged to do.  It is up to us individually to make good decisions and protect our treasures.  Do no harm, Leave no trace behind and take care of our parks, P.L.E.A.S.E.

For the love of Trees

Wide Open Walls 916 -Sacramento State

I stopped by CSU Sacramento for a visit to another Wide Open Walls Street Art piece.

I’ve seen photos of this one all over social media and finally made it for a visit! It’s pretty iconic for the city, the wide open walls project, and the university.

It seems to me that this wide open walls project has really brought a vibrancy to the downtown area that has re-energized some otherwise boring or run down buildings. It has also given artists the opportunity to show off their skills like this bright and cheerful example. I continue to stumble upon these hidden gems and hope to keep bringing you more.

Enjoy!

The Tale of Two Sacramento Houses

Sacramento, particularly downtown, is full of beautiful old houses.  Featured here are two completely different examples.  The Leland Stanford Mansion and the Curtis Park Dragon House couldn’t be more different.

The Dragon House is a labor of mosaic love by owners who clearly take pride in eccentricity versus the Leland Stanford Mansion, a bastion of the old guard of Victorian Sacramento.  I would venture to guess I wouldn’t be able to give away the Dragon House to some of my friends and family but somehow I find it more interesting than the pure and perfect architecture of the Stanford mansion.

The Stanford mansion, recently rehabilitated, is full of history and Victorian pomp and circumstance and stands as a magnificent example of the time.  It is a well known Sacramento icon which represents the city and even the State for official functions and is a state park during other times.  The mosaic Dragon House is a private bungalow with no official public history, at least not yet.  Yet, when I ask around about it locals all know what and where it is.  It’s more of an unknown Sacramento gem.

Which do you prefer?!

*Happy New Year Everyone!  I hope 2019 brings all of you safe, peaceful, and memorable travels!

Effie Yeaw Nature Center

The Effie Yeaw Nature Center, located in Ancil Hoffman Park in Sacramento, has been around as long as I have…longer actually. It’s a small but mighty little center which helps preserve natural area, promote Indian heritage, and protect and aid local sick or injured animals. The center’s highlights were certainly the two beautiful owls lovingly cared for by staff.

The park sits on a glorious part of the American River Parkway which my young son greatly enjoyed. Once he threw what seemed like every river rock back in to the river he insisted we make a second visit to the owls again before we left! That’s a success if you ask me!! img_1175

Indian Grinding Stone

Meet Echo

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Quarry Park – Rocklin, California

Quarry Park in Rocklin, California has changed immensely over the last few years.  What used to be an abandoned quarry filled with water and whatever else fell in there and a barren field full of rattlesnakes and poison oak is now a delightful local park and adjacent adventure park.  Locals can enjoy summer concerts, a lovely short walk around the quarry, a climb on the children’s playset and train or for the more adventurous they can climb or zipline next door.  I love this park and think what they have done with it is genius other than it still seems weird to be placed right in the middle of the city government.

 

UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden

UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden has been on my local list of attractions for a while.  I can’t say why I haven’t gone before but I haven’t.  And after visiting today looking for some fall colors I certainly regret not having gone sooner.  I can say the Arboretum and gardens were not at all what I expected…in a good way.  I expected just a large park with some glorious old trees and a place for my son to run around reasonably free.  Instead, I found a lovely meandering creek called the Putah Creek lovingly surrounded by well maintained gardens and walking bridges.  Visitors can walk the entire thing or sections and can follow both sides of the creek.  They will be joined by runners, students, local residents, gossiping women, and visitors like me.

It is hard to be unhappy in a place like this even with heavy smoke in the air from the Butte Fire raging a small distance away.  Several distinct gardens keep one’s interest while they get their steps in.  Acacia gardens, redwood gardens, desert gardens, and plants and trees from China were the highlights.  Ducks followed us everywhere we went.  This perfect little park is a quiet oasis placed smack in the middle of one of California’s premier Universities.

Wide Open Walls 916 Sacramento-Del Paso

Over the summer a really exciting street art event (Wide Open Walls 916) came to Sacramento which painted the walls…literally. It took a seemingly benign wall or building and turned it in to something amazing. I posted previously on some great selections from the event located in downtown Sacramento. I was so impressed I decided to head to another area of town which was of focus for the event which I had not had time to visit previously – Del Paso. I was most looking forward to seeing the the rainbow colored installation directly below because I was drawn to the bright and cheerful colors. I was underwhelmed to say the least not by the art but by the building and it’s surroundings. This is a classic example of the reality of what surrounds a photo. I’m sure the artist is less than thrilled with what became of his piece. The overall environment left a little to be desired and so did the art but I thought I would share for the fun of it. I still can’t wait for the event to come back again next year…

Anyone else ever visited a location that turned out to be something other than they expected or became run down after the initial blush?