Art Car Parade preview

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The Art Car Parade is an annual event in Houston, and I’ve been told by many people that it is quite the quirky thing to attend.

Unfortunately the parade is on a Saturday, (like most events) and I work weekends. However, I lucked out this time because there was a special preview of about half the cars at the Discovery Green park on Thursday night.

It was really neat to see so many different cars. The collection of “junk” on some of them was just amazing! The owners of the cars really get to show off their artistic abilities and their creativity. My favorite car was¬† one with singing fish and lobsters. The lobsters and the fish would move in sync with songs! It was hilarious!

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Bluebonnets

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The state flower of Texas is the bluebonnet, named so because the petals look like the shape of a women’s bonnet. Photographing bluebonnets was high on my Texas bucket list.

You can find bluebonnets just about anywhere in the state, but they are more prevalent the more west you go. I was figuring that I would have to take a road trip quite a distance out of Houston in order to find some. But then as bluebonnet season approached, I saw some pictures on Facebook of bluebonnets in Houston. Every time I came across a photo, I would comment, “Where was this picture taken?” But still being fairly new to the area, the vague answers I got did not help. I kept searching though. Eventually I found a picture of bluebonnets that said it was taken in Hermann Park. Ah hah! I know where Hermann Park was. That narrowed it down a bit. Then I saw in more pictures that the field of bluebonnets in question was by the Bill Coats Bridge. Google maps is my friend. The map showed me right where it was, on the southern end of the park.

That Wednesday I set out to find and photograph them. I was nervous though. Just because I had seen a picture of the bluebonnets weeks ago, would they still be there? I knew it was about a six week growing season, but had it just started, or was it ending? Well I had no worries because I walked from the parking lot smack into a huge field of them. They were beautiful, and I was not disappointed!

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Houston Zoo

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Derek and I went to the zoo this week. We had a good day! It is a fairly large zoo, and even with spring break crowds, it didn’t feel all that crowded.

Some photo highlights:

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We really loved the blue feathers on this kookaburra!

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An ocelot.

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Stick bugs! The bug area of the zoo was actually quite fascinating.

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This tiny owl was so cute!

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This chimp has the right idea. Nap often!

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This baby tapir was born in February. Their baby stripes are so cute!

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All of the big cats are my favorite!

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A mother’s love. Awww.

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These cuddling cloud leopards were adorable.

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I was most excited to see Shasta the cougar. He is the mascot for the University of Houston. Some trivia from Wikipedia: “Shasta VI was born in September 2011 in the U.S. state of Washington, and was adopted by the university as a cub.¬†Shasta’s mother was killed in 2011, when a hunter shot her. After a search from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, Shasta VI was rescued, and transported to the Houston Zoo on December 11, 2011. In March 2012, the University of Houston Alumni Association announced that the cub would be adopted. Shasta VI is the first live mascot since 1989.”

 

McGovern Centennial Gardens

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I discovered McGovern Centennial Gardens within Hermann Park by accident.

I usually park in the same lot each time I go to Hermann Park, but one particular day that lot was full, so I had to drive around to the other side of the park to find another lot. I was walking along the trail, and stumbled into the entrance for these gardens.

I did not have my camera that day, because I was not intending on seeing anything new. I was fairly mad by the time I had looked around the whole garden, because there was so much to photograph! So two weeks later, I went again with my camera in tow.

I’m still in awe that there are flowers pretty much year round here! I will never tire of photographing flowers and plants!

Here are some photos:

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George Ranch Historical Park

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I love history. And I love photography. I discovered a place where I could combine my love of both: The George Ranch Historical Park.

The GRHP is 26 miles southwest of Houston, perfect for a day trip. The park features four homes belonging to four generations of one Texan family, ranging from the 1830s to the 1940s. It is a whole lot of history packed into one area!

The first home is an 1830s cabin. The second home is an 1860s home with a chuckwagon set up outside. The third house is an expansive Victorian 1890s home (with a second sharecropper home off to the side.) The last home is from the 1940s. At each home, a costumed person takes you through the rooms of the house and explains what life would have been like for the family back then. Extras included a working blacksmith shop and cattle demonstrations. There was so much to look at! The park really outdid themselves in the details.

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Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

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I am making my way around all of the green spaces in Houston. A few weeks ago I set my sights on the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, which is entirely located within Memorial Park. It is about 10 miles away from where we live.

I got there very early, about 8:30 a.m., because I was warned that the parking lot fills up quickly during the weekends. Plus it made sense to walk before the heat of the day settled in.

I was pleasantly surprised by the A&NC. There are lots of little trails to choose from, and it seems like each one featured something different, such as a pond or a meadow. Each trail is small, so it is a good place to take your kids or your dog for a quick loop. The largest trail is the “outer loop” and even that one is only two miles round trip. I stuck to a bunch of the smaller trails near the nature center, but I would like to go do the loop some other time.

The highlight for me was the meadow trail. It was a huge field filled with sunflowers. It was breathtaking. At that moment, I felt as far away from the hustle and bustle of Houston as one could get.

Another interesting find was a very large spider in a web! I am terrified of spiders, and wanted to leave immediately, but the urge to photograph it was stronger!

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