Monday, July 13, 2015

My 4th of July Holiday

For the 4th of July, I went out to Kalamazoo, Michigan (yes, Kalamazoo is a real place!) to visit a friend whom I hadn't seen in about six years (!). I was there for five days, and we packed a lot in!

Right after I landed in Grand Rapids, we headed straight for the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, which wasn't too far from the airport. It's was beautiful! We had a lovely day to enjoy the new Japanese Garden, and the indoor exhibits (including the aviary) were wonderful as well! Here are some photos:

We were greeted by this sculpture. The two in front were labeled "Fred" and "Lena" for the couple who established the garden.
This made me think of the "aviary" in Jurassic World...
From the desert section. Lots of cacti: do NOT touch!
"The American Horse" by Nina Akamu. It's HUGE!
Some bonsai trees in the Japanese garden. The Japanese garden only opened recently, so we saw it brand new!
There were beautiful hydrangeas throughout. I took so many pictures of them!
The Pink Lady Slippers reminded me of home, since they grow in Maryland, too.
This bird was sucking the nectar out of these little flowers. 
Then we had some time to relax and stay more local. We did a lot of grilling (it was Independence Day, after all), and my friend's dog was quite pleased with the bone I got him as a housewarming gift!

We spent one afternoon in downtown Kalamazoo. Unfortunately most of the shops were closed, but we did find a souvenir shop that sold ice cream; my key lime pie scoop was delicious!

You can't read it, but my shirt says, "Just another animal in the Zoo."
We both like movies, so we watched several while I was there. We went to a full-service movie theater (the kind that has a restaurant and there are waitresses who bring over your food!) to see My Neighbor Totoro. It is a cute children's movie, but I did learn that animated kids are just as annoying as some (most?) children in real life. We also watched The Lego Movie (which I thought was quite funny, even if I did fall asleep during some of it...), and Cinderella (which I really enjoyed and thought was SO much better than "Into the Woods").

One day we visited the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing. I love zoos, and this one was very nice! We arrived right when the zoo opened, so we didn't have to deal with any crowds (other than the mosquitoes flying around). Here are some pictures:

Interesting bottle cap art at the zoo.
How appropriate that we were greeted by a bald eagle on this holiday!
The Gray Wolves were the newest addition to the zoo. They are really big!
There was a petting zoo. These goats felt like the troughs are the perfect place for a nap.
We caught a glimpse of the tiger!
It's no wonder how the Spider Monkey got its name: It looks like it has lots of legs!
Meerkats are so adorable. Am I right?
This King Vulture was my favorite of the day. I don't think I had ever seen one before, and he is so beautiful!
Cute little penguin butt!
There were peacocks all over the zoo! Everywhere you turned, they were walking around.
These Patagonian Cavies were quite interesting. They're like rabbits, but with really long legs, and much bigger!
This lovely lioness was taking her morning snooze.
It makes sense that this little guy is called the Bat-Eared Fox.
Other highlights included an art festival in South Haven, the "hippie hash" at the Fleetwood Diner, and my first trip to a Steak 'n Shake. The only downside to this trip was the MAJOR delay I had at the airport flying home. Otherwise, this was really the perfect vacation! :)

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