Tag Archives: parks

America the Beautiful City Park, Colorado Springs, Colorado

America the Beautiful City Park, Colorado Springs, Colorado

“America the Beautiful” City Park
* 126 Cimino Drive, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Article by Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions, July 21, 2016 (original review 7/20/08)

Formerly Confluence Park, this 30 acre park was recreated and re-dedicated as “America the Beautiful” in 1992 as part of Colorado Springs Downtown Action Plan for assurance of the vitality of the downtown area. The Julie Penrose fountain was added in 2007 as a fabulous water park section with an slowly turning modern art piece in the center of a timed fountain that patrons can cool off in. The art piece reminds alot of people of the infamous “Stargate”. Its called the “Continuum”.

This beautiful park has become a weekly adventure for me and my son during the summer months for him to splash and play in the fountain waters. Lots of open grass fields for the kids to play,
an amazing kid’s playground very artistically done, and great recreational features such as picnic tables, benches, walkways, and restrooms. Rating 5 stars out of 5 (Visited 7/20/2008; 7/1/2017; 7/20/2017 – formerly rated 4 stars in 2008).

Cooling off in the 90+ degree fahrenheit days in Colorado Springs, Colorado. America the Beautiful City Park. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken July 1, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

Interested in this review or story? have things to add? please comment below. Do you enjoy this article? if so, please consider buying the writer a chai, lunch, or help cover gas funds for covering these sites. Thomas Baurley is a work from home single father sharing his inspirations, treasures, findings, and travels. Tell him thank you if you like his work, Please donate. Need a new or updated review? contact him for more information.
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Garden of the Gods (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545)

Garden of the Gods
1805 N 30th Street (at Gateway Rd) * Manitou / Colorado Springs, Colorado * 719.634.6666 * http://www.gardenofgods.com/ * http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545
Originally first published May 9, 2009 by Thomas Baurley

Garden of the Gods is a unique natural geological park that is located in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs … and is a Registered National Natural Landmark. It’s open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the summer and 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the winter. The park boasts over a million visitors a year or more.

History and Mythology

Where the Great Plains grasslands meet the low-lying pinon-juniper woodlands of the American Southwest at the base of the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains a geological upheaval occurred along the Trans-Rocky Mountain Fault system creating these spectacular features over a million years ago. Horizontal ancient beds of sandstone, limestone, and conglomerates were pushed and tilted vertically when the tectonic plates pushed together. Glaciations, wind, and water erosion shaped the features over hundreds of thousands of years.

This geologic feature was seen as sacred grounds by the original inhabitants of the area, potentially visited and used for spirituality possibly over 3,000 years ago to present. As early as 1330 B.C.E. evidence of human occupation has been found from petroglyphs, fire rings, pottery, and stone tools have been left behind. The Ute Indians claim that their people always had lived where Garden of the Gods Park now stands and their people were created there and around Manitou.

The Kiowa, Apache, Shoshone, Pawnee, Cheyenne, and Arapaho also claim their peoples visited or lived here. It was known as a pivotal crossroads and meeting place for many indigenous peoples and nomadic tribes gathered together for peace. Rivaling tribes were said to even have laid down their weapons before entering the shadows of the sandstone features.

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography. Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.

Two sets of petroglyphs were found here – the first hidden in a crevice on the east side of South Gateway Rock depicting a circular shield-like figure divided into four parts with a rain cloud terrace image, a Thunderbird image, zigzag lines, and image of wheat or corn and a faint flower-like image with a dozen dots forming a semi-circle over its top which some experts said was done recently in the last 100 years copying Indian designs from a book. The other petroglyph is pecking in the rock discovered in the 1980’s and estimated to date to 1500 C.E. most likely an Ute Indian design potentially depicting a deer, a third of a buffalo head, and maybe a stone tool seemingly telling a story.

Alleged Native American legends of the site have been told, their authenticity unknown. Marion E. Gridley wrote in “Indian Legends of American Scenes” telling a tale about a great flood that covered all the mountains nearby Pikes Peak. As the waters receded, the Great Spirit petrified the carcasses of all animals killed by the flood into sandstone rolling them down into this valley as evidence of the Great Flood.

The second was written by Ford C. Frick saying “… in the nestling ales and on the grassy plains which lie at the foot of the Great White Mountain that points the way to heaven lived the Chosen People. Here they dwelt in happiness together. And above them on the summit of the Mighty Peak where stand the Western Gates of Heaven, dwelt the Manitou. And that the Chosen might know of his love the Manitou did stamp uon the Peak the image of his face that all might see and worship him … but one day as the storm clouds played about the Peak, the image of the Manitou was hid .. and down from the North swept a barbaric tribe of giants, taller than the spruce which grew upon the mountain side and so great that in their stamping strides they shook the earth. And with the invading host came gruesome beasts – unknown and awful in their mightiness – monstrous beasts that would devour the earth and tread it down … and as the invading hosts came on the Chosen Ones fell to the earth at the first gentle slope of mountain and prayed to Manitou to aid it. Then came to pass a wondrous miracle, the clouds broke away and sunshine smote the Peak and from the very summit, looking down, appeared the face of Manitou himself. And stern he looked upon the advancing host, and as he looked the giants and beasts turned to stone within their very steps … “

If this site was in Australia or Europe, it would be named castles and fortresses associated with Gods, Deities, Spirits, or Faeries.

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography. Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.

Westerners first discovered the features in 1859 by two surveyors who were here to build Old Colorado City. M.S. Beach, one of the surveyors thought it would be a great location for a beer garden. The other surveyor replied to him stating “A Beer Garden? Why this is fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it Garden of the Gods”. General William Jackson Palmer who was known for his contributions of building Colorado Springs convinced his colleague Charles Elliot Perkins to buy the 240 acres embracing the features. In 1909 his children donated the land to the city of Colorado Springs.

The original family that donated the land to the public required that it would always remain free, and that is what it remains today. Garden of the Gods stands as a great park for hiking, walking, bicycling, rock climbing, picnicking, special events, and weddings … The park has it all … protected as 1,387 scenic acres … and presents itself as a unique tourist / information center, with a theater and gift shop near the entrance. Within are 15 miles of trails ranging in various levels of difficulty from beginner to advance for hiking and exercise.
A historical video greets you at the welcome center and tells the tale that began in the 1870’s when the railroads carved westward, when General William Jackson Palmer founded the city of Colorado Springs and upon discovering this natural beauty, urged his friend Charles Elliott Perkins, the head of Burlington Railroad, to make his home where the park now stands. He lived there until he finished his railway from Chicago to Colorado Springs. His railroad project wasn’t a success and never made its destination in the springs.
His homestead eventually became his summer home in 1879. He purchased 480 acres and never actualized building on it, leaving the land in its natural state and for the public. When he died in 1907, he made arrangements for the land to be a public park, and this was enacted by his children in 1909 forever as the Garden of the Gods “where it shall remain free to the public, where no intoxicating liquors shall be manufactured, sold, or dispensed, where no building or structure shall be erected except those necessary to properly care for, protect, and maintain the area as a public park.” That is exactly what they’ve done …. and its a beautiful place to be.

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography. Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.

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Statue of Christopher Columbus (Columbia, South Carolina)

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Statue of Christopher Columbus
* 312 Laurel Street * Columbia, SC 29201 *

Created by American sculptors Stavros Alexander Chrysostomides (1923-2007) and Estelle Hampton Frierson with funding by the South Carolina State Society Daughters of the American Revolution as a gift to the city of Columbia, South Carolina. It is a full length figure of explorer Christopher Columbus, wearing slippers, a skirt, and decorative shirt with a wool-like collar, decorative wrist and sleeve bands, on a calf-length coat facing the city of Columbia atop a rectangular base. Upon the base is the inscription: “CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS: 1451-1506. A gift to Columbia, this monument stands in tribute to the courageous spirit of that Genoese mariner who challenged the unknown to discover this land, … the hope of the world and the … of freedom for all.”

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Rosewood (Columbia, South Carolina)

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Rosewood
* Columbia, South Carolina * http://www.city-data.com/neighborhood/Rosewood-Columbia-SC.html *

A wonderful artsy and alternative neighborhood bordering Five Points, the College district, and down town, whilst just a hop and a skip from Fort Jackson Military base. If you live in Columbia or are passing through, and are of the alternative persuasion … this would be a great wandering grounds for shopping, dining, and community events. For those planning on living in Columbia and have a want of raising a family, its a great neighborhood. Rosewood is approximately 2.053 square miles with an approximate population of 7,827. Rosewood has a diverse spectrum of residents from families, young professionals, college students, and retirees. Some notable community places are the Rosewood Park, the YMCA Soccer Fields, and a one-of-a-kind Wally Holly-day Design Skate Park at the Owens Field Recreation Complex. There are walking and bicycling trails, a disk golf course, and a fruit orchard awarded to Columbia by Edys. Some of the more popular businesses in the area are City Roots, Publix, Rosewood Market, Rosewood Dairy Bar, Utopia, Reeses Barbeque, Medicine Mart, Cock N Bull, and Rock away. The residential housing is mainly single family and single story. The Central Rosewood Neighborhood Association is one of the neighborhoods under the umbrella organization of the Rosewood Community Council. The Central Rosewood neighborhood boundaries are: Rosewood Dr. to the north, S. Ott Rd. to the east, S. Bonham, S. Holly St., and Airport Blvd to the south, and Holt Dr. and Graymont Ave. to the west. Rosewood is also home to the infamous Rosewood Crawfish Festival in May.

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Columbia Riverfront Park (Columbia, South Carolina)

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Columbia Riverfront Park
* 312 Laurel Street * Columbia, SC 29201 * USA * 803-733-8613 *

A beautiful downtown walkway and city park in the heart of historic Columbia, South Carolina. The park is centered between the Columbia Canal and the Congaree river, with concrete walkways spanning many river views of the three rivers area. A great place for jogging, bicycling, skating, walking, picnics, bird watching, and relaxation. It is only a hop and a skip from downtown and the city center, USC campus, and the business district. Numerous benches, picnic tables and overlooks have been installed. There is also available shelters, playground, an amphitheater, walking paths, wheelchair trails, paved bicycling trails, access to the Palmetto trail, fishing spots, drinking water, restrooms, and historic sites. It blends with the Broad River, Congaree River, and the Columbia Canal. Free admission. Along the extent of the park is a long flat easy walking paved trail following the old towpath of the Columbia canal. Originally used in the 19th century to tow boats along the path via horses and carriages. This became obsolete with the arrival of the railroads. The trail extends 2.9 miles one way. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

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Roswell Spring Hill Zoo

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Spring Hill Zoo, Roswell, New Mexico

Spring Hill Zoo
* 1306 E. College Blvd., Roswell, NM 88203 *505-624-6760 *

Spending elementary, middle, and high school in Roswell, this was our local “Disneyland” outside of Carlsbad Caverns. A nice sized park for picnicking and outdoor activities, a free zoo, a petting zoo, duck ponds, cycling/jogging/walking trails, and green space. A five mile hard surface recreational trail that runs along the Spring River from west to east. The zoo is the only one of its kind and the only free zoo available in New Mexico. It also has its own youth fishing lake (age 15 and younger only can fish). There is an antique carousel and miniature train that runs through the park. The zoo features a prairie dog town, longhorn ranch, and children’s petting zoo. There are also exhibits of native and exotic animals, birds, and critters including bobcats, foxes, bison, owls, raccoons, antelope, deer, mountain lions, and black bear. Fun filled for children, its quite dusty and hot to visit. On more than once when I’ve visited, I’ve found it a bit unsanitary which is sad as I don’t remember it being that way. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.

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Reynold’s Square (Savannah, Georgia)

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Reynold’s Square
* Abercorn street * Savannah, Georgia *

Along the downtown district lies historic Reynold’s square in the heart of Savannah, Georgia. It is located between Bryan and Congress streets, on Abercorn street. Reynolds Square alongside Reynolds Ward were laid out on Abercorn street in 1734, later renamed after John Reynolds in 1750, the least popular and the first colonial Governor of Georgia. In 1754, John Reynolds first arrived in Savannah after the Trustees had turned Savannah’s colony over to the Crown, and where this park now sits, was the center of the colonial government, the central business district, and was where the House of Assembly first stood. It was here that the first reading of the Declaration of Independence took place in Georgia. A dance for president George Washington’s honor was held here in 1791. Because of all the activity that took place through time around this Square and it being central to all activity, it suffered from Savannah’s ill-founded urban renewal projects as well instead of the more historic preservation angle that later followed. However, many of Savannah’s most historical buildings are located in this area so in a way the square is a passage through time. The Filature for silk making was located here, though the silk worm cocoons wouldn’t mature properly due to the humid climate, leading to a failure of the industry and the filature was later converted to a meeting house. It then became the city hall and meeting hall until 1845 despite fires and re-building that took place continually through this section. The building fell into ruin and did not survive to present day. The Pink House or “Habersham House” built in 1789 (23 Abercorn street) in Georgian style as well as the Oliver-Sturgis House from the 19th century did survive. Habersham house was built for James Habersham Junior and now stands as the Pink House Restaurant (formerly the Planter’s bank, First State bank of Georgia, home of the Habershams, the Boltons, and Alida Harper’s tea room to prevent if from being destroyed. The Oliver Sturgis house (1813) (27 Abercorn street) was the home of Oliver Sturgis, one of the planners who crossed the Atlantic in the Steamship SS Savannah. In the center of the square are fabled old Spanish oak trees and a bronze memorial statue of John Wesley (1969), the founder of Methodism and one of the first rectors of Savannah’s Christ Church. The statue was done by Marshall Daugherty to honor him because of the visit he took for mission work in Savannah from 1735-1738. He was also the founder of the first Sunday School in America. It is believed that his home was on this very spot. Just off to the side of the park is the infamous 1921 Lucas Theater (22 Abercorn Street) and the Leroy Myers Cigar Building (18 Abercorn Street). The Lucas theater used to show vaudeville acts and silent films. The Cigar building built by Henrik Wallin in 1911 and was done in Mediterranean style with arches and overhanging eaves as well as a tower. Today its used for the Christ Church administrative offices. Legend has it that one of the buildings nearby was used as a hospital for malaria patients and a makeshift crematorium once stood in Reynolds Square for those that did not recover. Bodies were believed to have been wrapped in sheets, then burned here to prevent spread of the disease. Legend has it some were burnt alive that were thought to be dead, but were just in a coma-like state. Some ghost hunters say you can hear their cries. Others say photos of the Square and statue cause strange colors and hazy patterns believed to be the ghosts burnt alive.

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Congaree National Park (Columbia, South Carolina)

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Congaree National Park
100 National Park Road, Hopkins, SC 29061 * Phone: (803) 783-4241 * (outside of Columbia, South Carolina) * http://www.nps.gov/cong/ *

One of the natural attractions to Columbia, South Carolina is the infamous Congaree National Park which preserves the largest tract of old growth bottom land hardwood forest that remains left in the United States. The Park is nicknamed the “Home of Champions” for its age-old hardwood trees. The park offers views of an astonishing bio-diversity along the waters from the Congaree river and the Wateree rivers throughout their flood plains. The park consists of just over 26,500 acres of national park designated as such since 2003 for some of the tallest trees leftin the Eastern United States. The Congaree river flows through the park which is dotted with wooden walkways for hikers, bird watchers, and nature enthusiasts to come enjoy the woodlands and not get mucked up in the swamps and to protect the environment which is 57 percent designated wilderness area. The Park declares itself a National Designated Wilderness Area, an International Biosphere Reserve, National Natural Landmark, and a Globally Important Bird area. The park offers primitive campsites (for free), hiking trails, canoeing, kayaking, and bird watching activities. The park is inhabited by numerous wildlife ranging from a variety of fish such as bowfin, largemouth bass, panfish, and catfish onwards to alligators, snakes, feral dogs, coyotes, armadillos, turkeys, bobcat, deer, feral pigs, turtles, opossum, raccoon, and a plethera of different bird species. The Park is notable for its Bald Cypress, the tallest/largest Loblolly Pines alive today, and hardwood tree spectrum. Some of its more famous hiking trails are the Weston Lake Loop Trail (4.6 miles), Oakridge Trail (7.5 miles), King Snake Trail (11.1 miles), and the Bluff Trail (.7 miles). The Park is home to the Harry Hampton Visitor’s Center, elevated 2.4 miles of boarded walkways, and a 20 mile long marked canoe trail.

Home of a variety of plants and animals. Some researched/photographed by us as follows:

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Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, ACT, Australia

Tidbinbilla Nature reserve
* Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre, Paddy’s River Rd, * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia * (02) 6205 1233 * http://www.tidbinbilla.com.au/ *

Venturing south just 40 minutes from Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory is a beautiful nature reserve called “Tinbinbilla”. Named after the aboriginal word “Jedbinbilla” for a “place where boys become men” and “Birrigai” meaning “to laugh”. It is a valley with deep Eucalyptus forests lies nestled between the Tidbinbilla and Gibraltar Mountain ranges of the Northern Australian Alps housing numerous critters and flora. Here you can find over 164 bird species, mammals, and reptiles such as the wallabies, emu, cockatoos, mountain duck, corroboree frogs, parrots, wombats, echidnas, koala, platypus, and kangaroos. As you enter the park, a greeting pay station and visitor center awaits a brief introduction to the park and its facilities. The park has forests, woodlands, wetlands, grasslands, and sub-alpine slopes. Hiking and bicycling trails abound as well as picnic areas, wildlife petting areas, and playgrounds for kids. The area is rich with Aboriginal history as was once an area where boys became men during their puberty rites. The park houses the Birrigai Rockshelte where 20,000 years ago the Ngunawal people lived. This was a meeting place for the Ngarigo, Wolgalu, Gundungurra, Yuin, and Wiradjuri clans for intiations, marriages, trading, and other ceremonies. The Bogong Rocks are where tribes came to harvest bogong moths to roast as a delicacy as well as to hold ceremonies by walking around the mountain. Today some native clans still gather for celebrations here. Once white settlers came to the area in the 1800’s, homesteads were built in the area, of whose ruins you can now see at the Rock Valley Heritage Site, Church Rock Heritage Loop, or the Nil Desperandum Homestead along the river.

The park encompasses over 52 kilometers of terrain. In 1939 a Koala sanctuary was built as well in the area. The reserve has become a leader in wildlife reproductive biology with state of the art facilities, a veterinary surgery and animal breeding center. The park often holds bushwalks. The park is also across the street from the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex part of NASA’s Deep Space Network. Since 2008, Tinbinbilla has become part of the Australian National Heritage List.

I found the park very relaxing and breathtaking for an outdoor escape from busy Canberra. Hiking with my friend through the nature trails, the wetlands, and the preserves provided many opportunities for wildlife viewing. Definitely a place I’ll be back to on my next trip to Australia. Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5. Visited 04/24/11. Review by Thomas Baurley.

Bibliography/Recommended Readings:

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Gibraltar Falls, ACT, Australia

Gibraltar Falls
* Corin Road * Namadgi National Park * +61 02 6207 2900 * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia *

One of the first waterfalls that I had a chance to see in Australia as accompanied by my travel mate Bluey Bee Fabbo. A nice calm overcast day, we ventured outskirts of Canberra to find this charming little falls which is pretty close to the city. Easy to find, one drives out of Canberra southwest 45 kilomenters, along highway 5 – “Tidbinbilla Road”, roughly a half hour drive turning off at the sign pointing the way to the Falls within the Gibraltar Creek Pine Forest south off Corin Road. Park and take the well-marked footpath down to the falls. With warnings of steep cliffs abound, we kept to the trail, until the end of the path dictated (as everyone else was venturing over) to experience the waters ourselves. Now, being a world traveller and having seen some of the best falls around the world, I wasn’t that impressed. It also seems probable that the falls are more spectacular after a good hearty rainfall, even though it has been deemed the largest waterfall in the ACT. The falls cascade 50 meters down into a 800 meter granite walled gorge feeding the headwaters of Gibraltar Creek.

Historically, the falls and area was of special interest to the Australian Aborigine. Archaeological finds have shown habitation patterns near the falls including rockshelters, axes, lithics, and grinding grooves. The area was first settled by white westerners in the 1890’s. The first recorded white settlers were the Woods family who named the area “Gibraltar Creek”. It wasn’t until the 1960’s with the establishment of a station for the Corin Dam Road that the location found much foot traffic. Environmentally, the falls are home to a rare species of dragonfly called the Waterfall Redspot.

Atop in the parking lot are restrooms, picnic tables, shelters, amenities, first aid equipment, and gas barbeque grills. There are more picnic tables and areas, as well as camping, further into the woods reserves. The footpath takes one to a couple lookouts for viewing the falls, though the best way to photograph the falls is to wander off path (not recommended but seems something that everyone who visits does).

I found the waterfall quaint, and would be a picnic spot I would frequent often if I lived in Canberra. Rating: 2 stars out of 5. Visited/Reviewed by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan with Bluey Bee Fabbo on April 25, 2011.

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Australian National Botanical Gardens

Australian National Botanical Gardens
* GPO Box 1777 * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory * 2601 * Australia * +61 2 6250 9599 * http://www.anbg.gov.au/ *

In the heart of Australia’s Capital Territory and City of Canberra is the Nation’s most exquisite National Botanical Gardens. Radiating like a gem in the midland plains, this fabulous collection of Eucalypti, plants, trees, shrubs, vines, orchids, and botany is any garden lover’s paradise. It is operated by the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Heritage. The park encompasses the largest living collection of native Australian flora in the world. The goal of the center is to understand, study, and promote Australia’s flora locally, regionally, and around the world; hosting a variety of botanical resources for researchers while protecting and cultivating endangered native plants. The Garden was first conceived in Canberra’s development plans of the 1930’s when the Advisory Council set up a framework for its development, planning a large site on Black Mountain. The first trees were planted in September 1949, though not opening its gates until October of 1970. The Gardens encompass over 90 hectares on Black Mountain, of which 40 is currently developed and embracing thematic sections in the park housing plants with shared taxonomy of over 5,500 cultivated species. The Gardens have a Rainforest Gully, a Rocky Garden, A Sydney Region Flora area, A Mallee Plants section, Banksias, waratahs, grevilleas, Callistemon, Leptospermum, Melaleuca, A Eucalypt Lawn, Wattles, and a Research facility, gift shop, and cafe. The National Herbarium is also on site housing the largest collection of dried, pressed, and recorded plant specimens in Australia. The facility manages several large plant databases of Australian plants based on its collections. For any botanist or plant enthusiast, the Botanical Gardens is a must see while in Canberra. “Extroadinary”. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. Visited on April 24, 2011 by Thomas Baurley.

Australian National Botanical Gardens: Botanical Resource Center

sign at the gardens: “Botanica Resource Center: Plant identification at your fingertips
The Botanical resource center is a learning place for visitors to discover, identify, and explore flor of the A.C.T. and southeastern N.S.W. This self help collection is available for use by students, plant surveyors, and people who want to learn more about plants. To explore this library of pressed plant specimens and computer plant identification resources contact the Australian National Botanical Gardens Visitor Centre.”

    Bibliography & Recommended Reading:

  • Australian National Botanical Gardens. ~ About Us. referenced in 2011 from website; ANBG: http://www.anbg.gov.au.
  • Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. ~ “Autralian Nationa
    l Botanical Gardens
    ; referenced in 2011 from website; author unknown. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org.

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Werribee Rose Gardens, Mansion, and Estate

Werribee Park – Mansion and Rose Gardens
* Official web site * K Road (Gate 2) * Werribee * Victoria, Australia * 3030 * Telephone: 13 1963 * Email: bookingswerribee@parks.vic.gov.au *

Disatisfied with our beach trip, we wandered over to Werribee Park – and while caught an hour or so of wandering around in the beautiful rose gardens, did not get to cover the mansion and other parts of the park. Highly recommend showing up early for this place not towards the end of the day. This is a site where one can get a grasp of Australia’s pastoral empire by walking amongst Victorian era Italianate-style architecture surrounded by exquisite formal gardens including a spectacular rose garden and open space park lands. The site is a hidden haven for picnickers, garden enthusiasts, botanists, and history buffs. The park consists of a historical mansion in Werribee just outside of Melbourne. It hosts the mansion, the Victorian State Rose Gardens, formal gardens, the Werribee Park National Equestrian Center, the Open Range Zoo, and a comtemporary sculpture walk along the Werribee River. The Mansion is home to a hotel and conference center. Owned and operated by the Victorian government since 1973, the park has become a popular tourist spot since the late 70’s. It was first built in 1874 by Andrew and Thomas Chirnside with an Italian architectural style influencing a large farm. After Thomas committed suicide in the 1890’s, the property was passed on to George who built the Manor. From 1923 until 1973 it operated as a Catholic seminary as “Corpus Christi College”. By 1996 it became a popular backdrop for the English television series “The Genie From Down Under” as well as for an American film called “The Pirate Movie” and the 1976 film “The Devil’s Playground”. The Rose Gardens are grouped into 4 sections – opening first in 1986 in the shape of a Tudor rose with 5 petals with over 252 different roses from around the world. Admission to the gardens are free. The orchard was establised in the 1870’s and renown for its peaches, apples, quinces, pears, grapes, plums, walnuts, and olives. Rating 3 stars out of 5 – visited 4/17/2011.

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Canberra’s Pine Island Reserve

Pine Island Reserve
* Canberra/Tuggeranong, Australian Capital Territory, Australia *

Along Australia’s Murrumbidgee River that travels through Canberra and the Tuggeranong is a Nature Reserve called “Pine Island Reserve”. It isn’t really an Island persay, but a seasonal “island” during flooding and is named after the Black Cypress Pines that grow within this particular natural area of the Australian Capital Territory. Originally occupied by the Aboriginee, it was taken over by the British Man named Charles Throsby who in 1820 while exploring Canberra and searching for the Murrumbidgee River decided to settle here at Pine Island as this was where he came across the river in April 1821. Pine Island is a popular swimming location for locals. Activities include hiking, kangaroo and bird watching, and picnicking. The “Murrumbidgee River Corridor” running from Pine Island to Kambah Pool is one of the more popular bushwalking paths in the park. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

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Vermijo Community Garden (Old Colorado City)

Vermijo Community Garden
* http://www.ppugardens.org/community_gardens * Vermijo Park on Vermijo Ave and 26th Stree, Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs, Colorado * To rent: info@ppugardens.org *

A beautiful community garden, on the edge of Vermijo Park, downtown Old Colorado City where residents teamed up with the PPUG and funded by the Colorado Home and Garden Show/Care and Share have developed this small unused parcel for a community growing space. It was founded by community member Larry Stebbins who put it all together. Residents in the area can rent plots up to 400 square feet where they can garden and grow vegetables. Community gardens take more committment than a garden in one’s own yard, as the gardener has to visit a couple of times a week with their own tools and supplies rather than step out their back door. However, a perfect solution for the green-thumb types that want a garden but lack yard space to have one. I had the pleasure of seeing this nice space when I visited the wonderful garden as one of the resident Garden Faeries gave a deluxe tour of the plots and invited wanderers from the 2010 Colorado Faerie Festival to come in and offer the nature spirits a rock that they could paint. Very creative constructive idea that added blessings to the garden as well as the festival. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.


Vermijo Garden

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Mt. Pisgah Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Mount Pisgah Arboretum
* http://www.mountpisgaharboretum.org/ * 34901 Frank Parrish Rd. * Eugene, OR 97405 * mtpisgah@efn.org *

The Mount Pisgah Arboretum and Botanical Garden has always been a very sacred place in my heart. No wonder why I feel so home at the Park when my tribes of Faeries have begun to throw their infamous Faerieworlds festival on said location. My first visit to Mt. Pisgah was back in 1993 when I first moved to Eugene, Oregon. My friend Danae, who lived on a house whose property nestled up to the Arboretum’s gorgeous lands, was operating a Church of Worlds Nest there. As I had started up the Ancient Forests Protogrove of ADF we combined efforts, celebrations, and ceremonies at the Arboretum lands and hilltops, Spencer and Skinner Buttes. I went hiking weekly through this amazing botanical garden with various friends including Hyko, my girlfriend at the time Linda, and my good friends Jennifer and Rachel. I took my daughter on those trails for many a fascinating hike. There has never been any one botanical garden that was that magical and that special to me. The magical Druid rites atop the hills were very sacred, very special. The Mount Pisgah Arboretum consists of 209 acres of a non-profit “Friends of Mount Pisgah” arboretum and botanical garden that is located within the 2,300 acre Howard Buford Recreation Area located along the Coast Fork of the Willamette River and the slopes of Mount Pisgah just south of Eugene and Springfield Oregon. Admission to the park is free. The Arboretum was founded in 1973 and quickly constructed over 7 miles of hiking and nature trails, riparian meadows, evergreen forests, a rare preserved oak savanna, wildflower meadows, a water garden, wooded picnic area, restrooms, over 23 bridges, planting, removal of invasive species, and publication of their newsletters. They began holding Mushroom and Wildflower shows in 1981 and established a staff shortly after. Its mission is to preserve, protect, and propogate Pacific Northwest plant communities, education, and recreation. Mt Pisgah is home to well over 67 families / 231 genera / and 339 plant species of native mosses, shrubs, ferns, plants, and wildflowers. The park is also a nature sanctuary for numerous wildlife such as the endangered Western Pond Turtle, the sensitive Red-Legged Frog, tree frogs, bats, deer, coyote, foxes, small mammals, lizards, Gopher and garter snakes. Numerous birds of raptors, waterfowl, migratory and resident songbirds are abundant. This amazing place will always be dear to my heart. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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Farish Military Recreation Area

Farish Recreation Area

* Farish Recreation Area, P.O. Box 146 * Woodland Park, Colorado * 80866-0146 * (719) 687-9098 * http://www.usafaservices.com/the-great-outdoors/farish *

A USAF Academy Military Recreation Area just outside of Woodland Park, Colorado with 655 acres of alpine mountains and meadows fit with hiking trails, lakes, picnic areas, cabins, and a campground with over 35 sites. Farish has campsites open from May through October every year for Active Military, National Guard, Reservists, Retired, 100% DAV, and DoD Civilians ONLY. It is year-round for lodging cabins and day-use. Elevation is over 9,000 feet above sea level. To reach the recreation area, Take I-25 to Colorado Springs on exit 141. Travel west on Hwy 24 for 17 miles to Woodland Park. At second stoplight near McDonalds, turn right onto Baldwin (street name changes to Rampart Range Road). Follow road through four stop signs. Road forks just past water-treatment facility, turn right and follow the Farish signs. Approx. 2 miles after the intersection, turn left onto Loy Creek Road and follow the signs to the new entrance into Farish. Facility is 5.5 miles past stoplight at McDonalds. Large rigs and RVs will have difficulty reaching the recreation area and not intended for that use. All interior roads are dirt and are quite steep. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

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Florence Mountain Park (Florence, Colorado)


Road to Florence Mountain Park


Florence Mountain Park
* South on Hwy 67 to CR 15, to the end * Florence, Colorado *

Outside of the easter edge of town in the wilderness if the city of Florence’s 200-acre mountain park that is bordered by the National Forest and a private Ranch. The park hosts picnic and restroom facilities as well as an outdoor amphitheater. There is a host resident on the Park grounds. The Park is along the Arkansas River and has launching sites for rafts, canoes, and kayaks for entrance onto the Arkansas. Newlin Creek Trail on National Forest lands is just down the road from the Park taking hikers up into a little canyon with waterfalls and a creek as well as a historic lumber site with an old steam boiler, flywheel, and chimney from a sawmill. The Park is often used by re-enactments, community groups, and sometimes music festivals. Stunning panoramas of the mountains and some very beautiful grounds. Rating: 5 stars of out 5.

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, Colorado)


Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

http://www.cmzoo.org/ * 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road * Colorado Springs, CO 80906 * (719) 633-9925

One of Colorado Spring’s hotspots of activity. Nestled on the slopes of Cheyenne Mountain, just below the infamous “Gold Camp Road” and Buddhist temple, snug in the middle of elegant housing communities just above the richy-rich Broadmoor, is a pretty elaborate zoo that allows close spaces in getting to know the animals. 146 mountainous acres with close to 800 animals of every variety. Also has a skyride and a restaurant. Originally founded in 1926 by philanthropist Spencer Penrose to house his growing collection of exotic animals that originally started out south of town where Fort Carson’s Turkey Creek Ranch now exists. In 1938 the zoo was established as a non-profit public trust for the people of Colorado Springs to “provide recreation, education, conservation and scientific facilities in the field of zoology and related subjects, and to preserve the Zoo in perpetuity for the people of the Pikes Peak region.” The zoo goes out of their way to make each attendee an active participant. Many of the animal areas for the animals that aren’t threatening to humans, are open-aired with little to no fences like the kangaroos, the giraffe’s, peacocks, and other critters. A little pricey but a wonderful experience. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

































































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