2013 in review Tuesday, Dec 31 2013 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,500 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Butterfly Wonderland Friday, Dec 27 2013 

Butterfly Wonderland

Butterfly Wonderland

Butterfly Wonderland, which claims to have America’s largest butterfly atrium, is located in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Community. According to the flyer received upon entering, “The building’s shape and design depict the Burden Basket (to leave your burdens at the door and experience the joy, excitement, awe and wonder within).” “The exterior colors represent various sources of Nature: orange for sunrise, yellow for sunlight, red for sunset, brown for earth, green for leaves and other vegetation.” Further, “…to Native Americans the butterfly is a symbol of CHANGE, Joy AND Color and a miracle of transformation and resurrection.” We started our visit by seeing the 3-D story of the monarch butterfly, “Flight of the Butterflies.” We exited in the chrysalis viewing area, the Butterfly Emergence Gallery. The Conservatory is a 10,000 square foot glass-enclosed atrium in a tropical rainforest environment. Thousands of butterflies can be seen close up feeding, resting, and flitting to and fro. Butterflies may even attach themselves to you as you wander the pathways. A giant atlas moth captured our attention shortly after entering. We especially enjoyed watching blue morphos, paper kites, and monarch butterflies. According to a butterfly fact sign, there are about 28,000 species of butterflies in the world. In North America there are about 800 different kinds of butterflies. Did you know that Arizona has 334 butterfly species? As we exited we observed the Live Ant Colony, we identified the queen bee in the Honey Bee Extravaganza, and we saw a couple of different kinds of scorpions on exhibit. It was fun to look at the aquariums that made up the Rivers of the Amazon Aquatic Life exhibit. A pink kissing gourami seemed to mirror my movement. I likes the shape and color (and names) of the silver dollars and red blood parrot cichlids. The Butterfly Wonderland is an exotic Scottsdale destination.

Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary Thursday, Dec 19 2013 

Domestic Goat

Domestic Goat

The Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary, located on ten acres overlooking Willow Lake north of Prescott, is a non-profit 501c3 dedicated to wildlife rescue and conservation along with public education programs. Our first visit yesterday allowed us to see many of the animals active with few other visitors. We were initially greeted by an Indian blue peacock. Jade, the mountain lion, was cleaning herself. The smell of four javelinas, three in one enclosure and one in another adjacent, was noticeable. Monsoon, a gray fox, and Rusty, a red fox, were sunning themselves. A raccoon was cleaning itself in a shallow pool. Two coyotes were on the prowl before one laid on a raised stone platform. One of the pronghorns munched on greens on the other side of a fence. Both emus, Fran and Ollie, preened themselves. Shash,a black bear, systematically licked up food pellets, leaving two avocados and vegetables for dessert. In an adjacent enclosure, Augustus, another black bear, looked around. One bobcat looked around for a while before heading in to join three others for a nap. In the Kiwanis Korner we observed three miniature horses with thick coats. Jolita and Marshmallow, alpacas, were easily distinguished by color. One of the domestic goats stood atop what appeared to be an upside down bucket. Imado, a Mexican gray wolf, circled his enclosure. We entered the Wallabie Walk-about to get a better look at Wally. A Canadian lynx eyed us from its sleeping position. A ring tailed lemur took a sprawling pose. Montana, a bald eagle, cawed in response to the call of passing employee. Tekka, a golden eagle, devoured a white rat. We also saw a Harris hawk, two great horned owls, a red tailed hawk, and a ferrugnous hawk. Mantis is a 28 feet by 43 foot modular teel statue designed by Ruben Boguna for the Park’s 10th anniversary. We also took a close look at a giant red shoe with door and a large rope web. On the evening of December 20 and 21st the Park will celebrate the season with their own version of Wildlights.

Almosta Trail Revisited Sunday, Dec 15 2013 

Almosta Trail Gate

Almosta Trail Gate

Another sapphire sky day in Prescott with temperatures in the 50s. A great day for a hike. We hiked almost four miles on the Almosta Trail which is unusual in that none of the trail is on public land. This trail, located about 16 miles from the center of Prescott, starts at 5,070 feet with a couple of stretches of steep descent. A 0.6 mile segment of the trail between two gates has barbed wire fences ten feet apart. It snowed in Prescott a week ago and remnants of that snow remain on the north side of some hills. Shortly after we decided to return on this in-and-out trail, we met a lone hiker. I pity those who live in other parts of the U.S. who are unable to enjoy hiking year round.

Acker Night 2013 Saturday, Dec 14 2013 

Max Borjon

Max Borjon

Last night’s Acker Night featured some 132 acts performing from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in various locations throughout downtown Prescott. Local artists perform gratis but collect scholarship money used to promote the talent of local young people. This is an ongoing legacy in memory of the contributions of James S. Acker (1865-1955) who provided in his will for parks and the promotion of music, particularly for children. The Switch Dance Studio used the street in front of Whiskey Row for a series of dance routines. The girls wearing swim suits had to be cold with the temperatures dropping from the 60s to the 50s. In the space where the Bird Cage burned down, three PyroKlectic members used fire for their show. We moved from one location to another enjoying a variety of music. Sax Appeal played jazz, classical, and holiday music on the third floor of Bashford Court. Joe Bethancourt strummed banjo in Kikkapoo Express. Just 4 Kicks sang barbershop on the second floor of the Grand Highland Hotel. It was interesting to see the view from a room across from the Yavapai Courthouse. Monica Riley Cook belted out gospel music on the Galloping Goose corner. The Highway 89 Blues Band performed in Figgy’s Trading Post. The Stan Gibb Quartet, which includes a xylophone, played jazz in Pastime Pleasures. The blues band Road One Southtook the stage at the Elks Theatre. Jack Peterson and Matt Buttermann joined together to play jazz guitars in Marino Candles. We met friends in Papa’s Uptown Italian Restaurant for dinner. Our table was located near Max Borjon who played on jazz on sax and clarinet. Acker Night is yet another special event in Prescott, Arizona’s Christmas City.

Luminarias & Chihuly in the Garden Thursday, Dec 12 2013 

Tony Duncan

Tony Duncan

Last night we spent the evening in the Desert Botanical Garden enjoying Las Noches de las Luminarias and Chihuly in the Garden. The Duncan Family was again located on the “Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail.” Tony Duncan played his flute and his father, Ken Duncan, shared the Apache story of how smallpox was cured by the Apache trout. Farther along the trail we heard Poranqui perform a breath defying rendition on the didgeridoo, an instrument of the Australian aboriginals. This year we chose not to eat the buffet, but to select from the Patio Grill. Traveler, playing a fusion of World Music and Rock, performed on the Ullman Terrace. As we dined, we especially enjoyed Scott Jeffer who played violin, the Greek bouzouki, and Turkish baglama. We also listened to music featuring the flamenco guitar by Chris Burton Jacome. This year’s musical offerings emphasize World Music.

Sapphire Star

Sapphire Star

It was a special treat to discover the many Dale Chihuly glass art pieces placed throughout the Desert Botanical Garden. The Sapphire Star attracted our attention as we entered, but was more dramatic contrasted against the dark night sky. The Blue Sun displayed contrasting forms and shades of blue. Citron & Yellow Fiori fit nicely amidst the desert succulents. Likewise, Red Reeds popped out dramatically along the trail. The Sonoran Boat brought together many colors that reflected well in a pond. The White Belugas whaled for attention without color. The Scarlet & Yellow Icicle Tower rose dramatically from the desert floor. The Polyvitro Chandelier used giant colored balls for good effect. The White Tower looks like a decorated Christmas tree. Chihuly in the Garden will be in place at the Desert Botanical Garden through May 18, 2014.

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