Fortunately authorities got ahold of the folks at the local Audubon Center for Birds of Prey and they dispatched an eagle eyed wildlife professional to oversee the rescue effort.
One of the birds did break free and flew up into the sky, continuing to circle and watching the action from up above. The other Eagle fell into the drain where, then, it could not escape at all. Firefighters were careful to tie a rope around the heavy iron grate, before they removed it, in order to prevent it falling on the trapped symbol of America and quashing all our hopes for the future.
Then, using a net, they were able to snare the bird around the legs (the safest place to grab them as their legs are very strong), and pull it to safety.
So today… “Democracy” is recuperating at the Audubon Center and people of ALL political persuasions are pulling together as one, checking on it’s condition and sending donations to help the center with it’s work.
Central Florida is home to many native species, some, like the Bald Eagle, is also found throughout the country and North America. However some species, like the Florida Alligator, or the Manatee, are only found in the Southern States.
If you love wildlife, and are visiting Florida, there are many “once in a lifetime” opportunities to see native and endangered wildlife, sometimes in their natural habits. A few of my favorite places are…
Blue Spring State Park
Depending on the time of year, you might see just a few, or a plethora of endangered Manatees here.
The last time I visited, there were so many Manatees packed into the river by the viewing dock that you could have walked across their backs to the other side without getting your feet wet (except, of course, that would be wrong, you cannot “molest” Manatees, it’s a crime).
If you’re an animal lover, like me, you probably already make them a part of any vacation you take and, besides what I’ve mentioned here, there are literally hundreds of opportunities to enjoy wildlife in Florida. Just use Google to find something near your destination!
As far as "Democracy," the Bald Eagle, goes... sadly, she passed away from her injuries. So, while Democracy is dead, you can still visit her friends at the Audubon Birds of Prey Center and make a donation in her name and in the spirit of freedom.
NOTE: It's a small, small world. Just learned it was Yaileen's boyfriend, Tito, who saw the Bald Eagles fall from the sky and called 911. Yaileen is "our" server at Sweet Mama's
ORLANDO / WINTER PARK: The Morse Museum of American Art, located on Park Avenue in Winter Park, Florida, celebrates 75 years of offering beauty and art this year. As part of the celebration a new exhibition was officially opened to the public on Tuesday, October 18th.
This phenomenal showcase of the Morse Museum’s entire collection is solidly diverse and continues to bring beauty and continuity to its audience.
It effectively applauds many additional outstanding artifacts which have been added to an impressive array of amazing art which already make up this fascinating collection.
Founded in 1942, the Morse Museum is probably best known for its collection of Tiffany lamps and artifacts dating back to the early 1900’s. Louis Comfort Tiffany (1948 - 1933) began collecting pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded glass windows and lamps. The industrialist housed much of his art and architectural objects in his Long Island estate, “Laurelton Hall,” which included 20th century American paintings, graphics, decorative art, stained glass windows, art pottery and more.
Tiffany died in 1933 and much of the vast collection was actually sold at auction due to the original foundation’s financial instability.
The original estate, which consisted of an impressive 37,000 square foot estate home, along with majestic gardens, was set on 600 acres of Long Island’s North Shore. Sadly, Laurelton Hall burned to the ground in 1957, but much of the art collection had been sold by then.
Tiffany's granddaughter, Jeannette Genius McKean, along with her husband Hugh, founded the Morse Museum, in Winter Park, in 1942 . She and her husband, Hugh McKean developed the Morse Museum beginning with many artifacts from the estate of her late grandfather. The museum began with an unprecedented amount of works from his original estate which, over the past 50 years, have developed into an impressive array of amazingly enduring art pieces.
Available for viewing with a distinct emphasis on diversity and originality, the collection is both beautiful and contemporary without compromise.
Dr. Laurence Ruggiero, Director of the Morse Museum, stated “there is no right or wrong way to enjoy art. There are no rules and art is both sensual and intellectual before you start to talk about it.” He then added sagely, “it is more important to experience art than to ‘know’ about it because art ‘speaks’ to everyone regardless of race, sexuality or ethnicity.”
The most recent works of art to complement the Morse collection include a wonderful array of Three Face glass, iridescent carnival glass, portraits, landscape paintings, pottery and works on paper. Sixty new objects will highlight the eclectic array of artifacts presented by the McKeans over the past five decades. There are also plaster art pieces, sculptures, prints and impressive windows of stained glass.
Incredibly, “The Chapel”, created in 1893 by Louis Comfort Tiffany as a pavilion for exhibition at the 1983 Chicago World’s Fair, now sits intact at the Morse Museum. Although it was officially called "The World’s Columbian Exposition," which brought the already successful designer even more popularity both in America and abroad, its beauty and relevance still hold true. After the World’s Fair, The Chapel was reinstalled in the crypt of the newly built Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City. This breathtaking structure fell into disrepair after some ten years and Tiffany reacquired it, restored it and transported it back to his Laurelton Hall estate on Long Island.
ORLANDO, FL: Got a sweet tooth or a craving for comfort food? Sweet Mama’s lives up to it’s name.
If you’re flying into Orlando, chances are you’re hungry by the time your flight lands. If it is earlier in the day you’re in luck.
Lake Nona is a community ("Medical City" is located here) just a short drive from the airport and, if you’re looking for something beyond the fast food, or chain restaurant airport fare, “Sweet Mama’s” is a great choice.
One of the first businesses to open in the Lake Nona area, “Sweet Mama’s” is a favorite of locals and visitors alike and are known for their homemake cakes and pies.
When I travel I try to seek out the “Mom & Pop” restaurants as a way to see the local culture and, after all, what’s the point of traveling if you’re just going to eat at another location of the same restaurants that are just around the corner from your home?
I had never been to Sweet Mama’s, but was visiting the local Keller Williams real estate office there at Lake Nona and Lorena, one of the Realtors, recommended it. She said they had GREAT brunches with $3 Mimosa’s (true!) but, alas, since it was a Monday, and still early in the day, we had to “settle” for lunch and no alcohol.
When we arrived we were greeted by Lisa, one of the “Sweet Mama’s” herself and we grabbed a high top table by the window.
They have both indoor, and outdoor, seating, so if it’s a beautiful day, or if you have your dog with you, you can grab an outdoor spot.
They have some kind of special almost every day, and Monday was $6 burger day… for any burger they have. I choose the mushroom, swiss, with sweet potato fries.
Our waitress, Yaileen, was super nice, and friendly, giving us a little history of Sweet Mama’s… she had been going there herself since high school, when it was in it’s first location.
There are TWO “Sweet Mama’s” ..Lisa, in the front of the house, and Linda, in the kitchen. Lisa and Linda are longtime friends who always dreamed of opening a quaint eatery. They treat their customers like family… because some of them are! When Lisa isn’t whipping up family recipes for her own Grandma’s chocolate cake or key lime pie, she’s serving it to her granddaughter.
When our lunch arrived, I have to say that they messed up my order a tad… giving me regular fries instead of the sweet potato fries. HOWEVER, even though I said it was fine, Lisa brought me out an extra order of sweet potato fries at no charge. She even made sure to tell us it was her fault, that Yaileen had put in the order correctly. Frankly, I never care if a minor mistake is make with an order... what's important is, when it does happen, that the business makes it right. THAT earns my loyalty.
My hamburger was PERFECT. I ordered it medium rare and that’s how it came… just slightly pink and juicy. My boyfriend loved his burger as well and he even saved half, plus the order of fries to take home for his dinner later.
Sweet Mama’s is ONLY open for breakfast and lunch… they close at 3 PM for dining, however they also do “Dinner to Go” (plus catering) with pick up until 6 PM, and with some delicious comfort foods on the menu… like meatloaf, fried catfish, liver and onions, chicken pot pie and chicken and waffles!
Desserts are what "Sweet Mama's is known for... homemade, fresh, delightful AND, best of all, available for you to take home for your family or special event. While they have seasonal favorites, they also have a core selection they make all the time, including...
Everyday Pies: Apple, Cherry, Blueberry, Coconut Cream, Key Lime and Peanut Butter.
Everyday Cakes: Carrot Cake, Banana Cake, Red Velvet, Grandma Mildred’s Chocolate Cake, Extreme Chocolate Cake w/Buttercream Frosting, Gluten Free Chocolate, Peanut Butter Squares AND Smores Brownies w/homemade caramel sauce
We’ve already talked about going back there for brunch to get those $3 Mimosas AND because I saw they make my FAVORITE type of Eggs Benedict… with corned beef hash instead of Canadian bacon. If you’ve never had Eggs Benedict this way you should try it. You’d think the flavors of the corned beef and hollandaise would be too intense together, but they are not… it’s amazing.
Of course, I'm already making a "mental note" to get some Extreme Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting to take home.
Sweet Mama’s is just 16 minutes away from the Orlando International Airport, take the South exit out of the Airport and head East on 417 to Narcoossee Road exit, then go North just a bit. It’s on your way if you’re flying in to go to the beaches, and a bit out of the way if you’re heading for Disney, SeaWorld or the International Drive area. Regardless though, I bet you’ll find it worth your time.
An exciting fall lineup of events will be presented at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts over the next few months. There’s a fabulous concert line up, the first ever introduction of a popular television game show (The Price is Right) and much more.
There’s literally something for everyone with highlights for those who are particularly entranced with solid performances by talented artists.
For the full line up and ticket availability, go to Center’s website at: http://www.drphillipscenter.com or call the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts box office at 844- 513-2014.
If acrobatics is your thing, be sure to come out on Thursday, December 1 to see SHANGHAI ACROBATS, from the People’s Republic of China, as they perform “Shanghai Nights.” This incredible celebration of world music and dance will delight and enthrall your senses.
The recent winner of five Tony awards, including “Best Play,” will appeal to those of you who simply love Broadway drama. “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” comes to the Dr. Philips Center as part of their North American Tour on November 1st through 6th.
Winner of five Outer Critics Circle Awards, including “Outstanding New Broadway Play” and the Drama League Award for “Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off Broadway Play,” this amazing production more than lives up to its intriguing title.
Tickets for The Price is Right Live go on sale on Friday, September 30 at 10:00 a.m. with prices starting at $36.50. With Contestants winning cash prizes, appliances, vacations and possibly even a new car, the excitement of this long running television game show now translates to a live experience right here in Central Florida. Open to U.S. legal resident of 18 years or older.
In its first two years of operation, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts has surpassed its original projections in attendance as well as its schedule of amazing productions. The Center has also generously donated close to another $2 million in value to community projects, events and amenities.
Now in its third year of excellence, the Dr Phillips Center is currently looking forward to completing its fund raising element for Phase 2 of the Center which will focus on adding the 1,700 seat Steinmetz Hall. With attendance of more than 302,500 guests in the past two years and more than 330 performances by incredibly diverse theatrical companies and performing artists, the confirmed success of this amazing state of the art performance venue is golden.
Good "Medicine" for the Soul
Dawn and Steve Hendrickson are busy talent agents and the owners of Tropical Music International.
The Hendricksons live in Orlando and supply entertainment and talent all across world, as well as being wholesale distributors for Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley, Kenny Chesney and the finest Hawaiian Artists and Steel Drum Bands.
Clients include the Ritz Carlton, Sirius Radio, the PGA, Carnival Cruise Lines, the Orlando Magic, Miami Dolphins, City Walk, and the Islands of St. Lucia, Grenada, Caymans, and the British Virgin Isles.
Learn more at: http://TropicalMusicInternational.com
Tubing at Kelly Park.
Rock Springs Run
Central Florida, NW of Orlando
Ninja Level – 2 out of 5
Budget - $ (take cash)
As a lifelong Florida resident I have, sadly, not even begun to cover all the opportunities for adventure and leisure, that it has to offer. You could really spend a lifetime visiting all the unique parks, springs, towns and historical spots within the state... where to start?
Recently though we made a pledge to get off our couch, get out and explore. I'd heard a lot about Rock Springs in Kelly Park and it was close enough for a half day adventure.
I really didn't know what to expect before visiting the park, though I did a quick online search for basic information. It costs (cash only) $3 per car with 1-2 people, $5 for 3-8 and $1 for each extra person in case you've got folks strapped on the roof or something.
The springs are the perfect place to go in the HOT Florida summer (I frankly find the beaches as attractive an idea as inserting myself in my toaster oven). There are plenty of shade trees and the water is (“Rock Springs” – duh) from a SPRING... meaning it is COOL. Not so cold that you don't adjust to it pretty darn quick, but cool enough that you absolutely feel refreshed.
As we were getting close to the park we stopped just outside at an intersection with a gas station on one side and a place to rent TUBES on the other (no tube rental inside the park). To rent a tube they ask you to leave them your ID (as sort of a deposit to insure you come back), and tubes are just $5 each to rent (take cash for these too). If you have a good sized trunk the tubes will just stack in there and probably not bounce out as you only have a short distance to get to the park (though some people will just stick their hand out the window and hold the tube). Total cost for 3 people: $5 entrance, plus 3 tubes = $20 for an entire day of fun! You can bring your own tubes and floats as well... though be aware they cannot be longer than 5 feet in length (a lot of blow up rafts are 6-7 ft).
We were not planning to stay the whole day so we didn't eat in the park, but you can certainly do that. The park has BBQ grills and picnic tables scattered under the trees and, if you're just feeling lazy, you can pick up sandwiches on your way there or buy food at the park's concession stand where they have hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream and drinks. Don't bring alcohol or beer though... it's not allowed and, with the number of kids and families there, anyone that is drunk or disorderly is sure to feel the wrath of “Florida Redneck Father” - a common, and occasionally frightening, creature best left unprovoked.
Upon arrival we grabbed our tubes from the trunk of the car and headed down to the Springs to check things out. A little tip: Lock your valuables in the car and put your car key (but not remote) on a lanyard around your neck. This way you won't risk losing the keys by having them fall out of your pocket while swimming, or have to worry about someone stealing them.
The layout of the Springs is such that you will first encounter an area that is about midway from the springs headwaters to the end of the “run.” If you just want to float around a bit, there are stairs to make it easy to get down to the water; so just go for it. Even if you are partially disabled or less limber, it's easy to get in here and you can then float to the end of the “run,” get out on a ramp there and take the tree lined sidewalk back to the midway point. This aspect makes tubing in Rock Springs great for the whole family and we saw many grandparents enjoying the water.
If you want to float down the whole length of the “run,” which is more like a slow stroll down a “lazy river,” then you can take a series of boardwalks up to the springs headwaters. Here you will find it a little trickier to get into the water if you are not limber, because the rocks are a tad slippery. I would certainly not recommend it for anyone that is disabled in any way because slipping on the rocks could leave you with a nasty injury. I did see a rather overweight gentleman manage to navigate an entrance into the water just fine, although it took him a bit of time to figure out the safest way.
The “run” itself takes you down a mostly tree shaded river surrounded by flowers and wildlife. We encountered some Ibis birds that were so intent on nabbing their insect breakfast, and so used to people, they allowed us to come within 4 feet of them. There was also a bit of drama as the park rangers briefly closed off a fork in the river when someone spotted an alligator. It was a baby gator so it was more to protect it, than the noisy humans, but from the level of excitement in the crowd you'd think it was an extraterrestrial.
If you have a waterproof camera or one of the new waterproof smart phones, bring it! You'll be able to capture some great photos of foliage, flowers and maybe even wildlife.
One of the things I liked most about the “lazy river” part of the park is that it is a combination of floating down and walking back. It takes about 25-30 minutes or so to float from the head-springs to the end of the run... and only about 10 minutes to walk back on a beautiful shady path to do it again. This makes it a perfect way to both relax AND get a bit of moderate exercise.
Another thing I liked is that they close the park when it reaches capacity... meaning, while it can get a bit crowded,it's not so overcrowded you can't enjoy yourself.
A word of warning though; you must get there early as the park often reaches capacity very quickly after opening (8:00 am opening time). We were there by 9:00 on a Monday (during summer vacation when the kids are out of school) and they had closed the park already when we left at Noon. The park is open until sunset and they do let additional vehicles in after 1 pm, IF enough of the earlier visitors have left. If you're driving a distance to get there though.. best to plan an early arrival (8-9 am) to avoid disappointment and so you won't have to wait in too long a line to get in and parked.
Kelly Park Rock Springs Run is part of Florida's State Park system and is only about 40 minutes from downtown Orlando and 45-50 minutes from International Drive, making it convenient for a day, or half day, adventure for locals and tourists alike.
Author: Sue Copening
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