The flowers were in full bloom in mid-March here in central Florida. Although this year it felt like spring all winter.
Reflections on the pond in the early morning.
The pathway in the children’s garden is fun with all of the colored stones. I usually don’t walk over to that part of the gardens but was following some birds flying around.
The vegetable garden is near the children’s garden. I usually walk through there to see if there are any birds stealing the food.
Above is a short video of the bell tower when the bells were ringing. You can hear them ringing throughout the gardens but it’s pretty loud in front of the pond. The gardens are in Lake Wales and about an hour and 20 minutes from my home in Tampa without traffic. I would probably come here all of the time if it were closer but usually try to come in spring and fall.
I wasn’t do the flying. I was taking pictures of the kiteboarders at Fort Desoto on an early morning in early January. It was cool and the wind was blasting so I wasn’t surprised when I walked out on the north beach and saw all of the kiteboarders flying across the water. That water was cold. They all had on wetsuits, some were more covered up than others. I think I was having as much fun watching them and taking pictures as they were (okay maybe not but they make it look so easy). At least I was warmer.
It’s rare to see women out there doing it. This girl was killing it!
Catching them coming back on the beach.
There was a lone kite surfer as well.
I love these quiet cold mornings at the beach.
Not much to see on an early morning walk at Lettuce Lake Park in north Tampa in late January. Not many birds but tons of turkey vultures hanging around.
You can really tell it’s winter here with all of the leaves gone from the cypress trees that line the lake. And by winter, I mean I didn’t need more than a long sleeve tshirt to keep me warm.
Before heading home, I stopped at Medard Park to see if there was anything there since I hadn’t been in a long time. It was quiet there as well. A great blue heron preening was all that I could find.
Medard Park is in Plant City, in the middle of “strawberry” country. Hillsborough county produces around 15% of the nation’s strawberries with over 11,000 acres. Chances are if you are eating strawberries in the winter, they came from here. There’s a farm right outside of the park and I pulled over for a few minutes and took a couple of shots of the almost-ready berries.
This is the view for miles before hitting the highway.
After several days of rain in late December, we had a break in the weather so I decided to go to the Hillsborough River State Park for a walk. The water was coming through pretty heavy and this is the only place in the Tampa bay area to see “rapids”. Not too bad considering the area is almost completely flat.
Fall was just starting to hit. The cypress trees had all turned colors and were starting to lose their leaves.
The trees along the trail have a lot of personality.
The bridge over the river. Down at this end the river is calm.
Colors on the ground.
St Petersburg in Florida is known for having some interesting museums. There’s a Dali, a Chihuly, a Holocaust and the Fine Arts Museum. I have been to all of them at one time or another. A new museum opened up this spring and I finally got a chance to visit it while my sister was visiting over Thanksgiving Weekend. Tom James, of Raymond James Financial, opened The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art. It’s one of Florida’s largest private art collections, consisting of close to 3,000 works of art and includes original paintings, sculptures and graphics. You are allowed to take pictures so below are some of my favorites.
This is only a small sampling of what’s in the museum. If you’re ever in the Tampa bay area and it’s too hot to be outside, I would recommend this place.
Linking to My Corner of the World.
Same tree, different colors.
Just a small sampling of the lights and entertainment at Zoo Tampa during their “Christmas In the Wild” nights.
You could still see a lot of the animals in their homes. A few of the nocturnal animals that you rarely see moving during the day were also moving around.
The trees over the alligator exhibit were full of ibis, snowy egrets and great egrets sleeping. There were 100’s of them. It was pretty crazy to see them in the dark.
Afterward we stopped at our local Chik Fil A to get milkshakes, even though it was cold outside (Florida cold means it was 50 degrees).
Linking to Wednesday Around The World.