Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Celebrating Two Years!

The toddler is now a two-year old boy. His first birthday party for his second birthday celebration was at home. Big sister made a cool hat for him to wear.

I'm not so sure it's cool, dad

We had some cousins over which meant more presents to open! Unfortunately, our toddler's skills leave a bit to be desired.

Working on unwrapping

Looking for help

Big brother to the rescue

Fun unwrapping

The dessert plan was cupcakes...decorate your own cupcakes! The birthday boy has fewer cake decorating skills than present opening skills, so he graciously allowed others to decorate his.

Decorating in progress

Some finished products

You can see a monster theme. Mostly that was chosen because eyeballs were on sale at the store. And let's be honest, who can resist a sale on eyeballs? I thought the blackberry noses were a nice touch, as were the fruit roll-up tongues. We had a very creative monster-crafting crew on board. Watch out Doctor Frankenstein!

Our boy has been practicing blowing out candles. He did quite well at this.

Lovely fire, how can I blow you out?

Mission accomplished

After dessert, we went to the basement for a little dance party inspired by Just Dance Kids on the Xbox. It was a big hit.

Mesmerized by the big screen

Dancing craze!

A bit of dance aftermath

We went to visit Grandmama to celebrate along with Uncle Ed, who also has an August birthday.

Birthday boys

Synchronized present opening (coming to the Olympics 2020!)

We did some relaxing and playing before we had dinner. We had more cupcakes after dinner!

Relaxing with big sister

Playing with lots of balls

One big candle

A special joy was finding an extra present to open!

Last gift

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, Jupiter, Florida

The Busch Wildlife Sanctuary is a small zoo located in Jupiter, Florida. The sanctuary exists to take in and rehabilitate Florida wildlife that has been injured or abused. Some animals are returned to nature. Those that can't survive on their own anymore are permanent residents. The collection is not very big but is fairly diverse. It's a fun place to visit.

Busch Wildlife Sanctuary

After passing through the gift shop entrance, the first thing we smelled was the first thing we saw--a skunk! Happily the skunk did not give us a take-home sample of his odiferous powers.

Eastern Spotted Skunk (Spilogale putorius)

More scary but more safely secured were the snakes on display.

A rattler

Copperhead snake

The sign says the copperhead is a pit viper, meaning it is poisonous and has a special pit between its eye and nostril that detects temperature. It can find warm-blooded creatures using the pit. They hang out near swamps and streams and feed on mice, birds, and frogs.

Our next visit was to the panther cages. We visited in mid-morning, so most of the cats were relaxing or perhaps sleepy. One was up and patrolling around the edge of the cages. We weren't sure if the panther was looking for a way out. I bet we looked like tasty snacks to him (or her)!

Off-duty panther

Patrolling the perimeter

Still patrolling

Another panther warming up for patrol duty

Marking territory, we think

Just beyond the panthers is a large pond that serves as an alligator reserve. We didn't see any and didn't look too hard, either!

Alligator reserve

Some scrawny foxes were mixing it up in their pen.

Local foxes

The bird section was next. We saw a good variety of birds, from barn owls and bald eagles to ducks and turkeys.

Barn owls napping

Bald eagles, as seen through a fence crack

Water fowl and such


A free bird!

The sanctuary does have two neighboring waterholes where an alligator and a crocodile live side by side.

Bathing alligator

Crocodile cozying up with a turtle (poor turtle!)

We also saw some river otters and some deer.

River otters sans river

A small deer sticks its tongue out!

Back at the entrance we gave a donation (the park is free but donations are welcome) and met up with another panther who was more photo-friendly.

Making friends with the wild life

A quick ride

A fun farewell!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Loxahatchee River Center, Jupiter, Florida

http://lrdrivercenter.orgThe Loxahatchee River Center is a small nature center on Route 1 in Jupiter, Florida. The focus of the center is on water ecology and it has a good variety of exhibits that are kid friendly.

Loxahatchee River Center

Their seal

Their neck of the woods

Naturally, they have a lot of aquariums with various aquatic life inside.

Fish in water

My son sees a big one

My daughter checks out an eel

A big, beautiful tank

Turtle going right

Turtle going left

A creative display demonstrates how tricky it is to balance the use of water. Little bean bags are labeled as water resources (like rain) and water consumption (like drinking). My children enjoyed it, though they were more about tossing than learning.

Can you balance your water use?

The star of the center is the touch tank, an open aquarium where visitors, while supervised, can touch some aquatic life. The tank has mostly sea urchins and crabs. My kids were nervous but excited.

The touch tank

Touching an urchin

Giving it back

Happy to hold

Checking the hermit inside the shell

A whole wall is dedicated to shark trivia and information. Many fake sharks are mounted throughout the center.

Shark info in a fun and interactive presentation

Nurse shark, Ginglymostoma cirratum

Bull shark, Carcharhinus leucas

Scalloped hammerhead shark, Sphyrna lewini

The center is not very large, letting us visit in about an hour. The kids had a lot of fun.

Wacky skeleton

A blue fish