One Good Life in Los Angeles

Roslyn's observations about places and events around Southern California


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Lotus Festival at Echo Park

echo park lotus festival

“Park Proud”

Another day, another adventure in Los Angeles!

Yesterday I joined several friends to celebrate the blooming Lotus plants at Echo Park, located approximately two miles from downtown LA. As usual, we all arrived by public transportation from all over the city. For me it was the Expo Line train to the #200 Metro bus up Alvarado to Sunset Blvd.

echo park lotus festival

This was the 37th annual festival. Echo Park Lake was closed for several years for rehabilitation. The festival started again just a few years ago. Every year the festival is hosted by a different country and this year it was the turn of Bangladesh.

You can read my blog post about the history of the park here.

echo park lotus festival

It was a pretty hot day yesterday… and humid… but it was a lovely day by the water. The lotus plants were lush and tall due to all the rain we had in the winter months and now the heat.

echo park lotus festival

echo park lotus festival

The dragonflies were enjoying themselves too.

echo park lotus festival

echo park lotus festival

echo park lotus festival

One of the highlights of the festival is the dragon boat races.  I’ve been to Echo Park many times to walk and take photos but this was my first time at the festival so I was delighted to finally see a dragon boat race! Click on a photo below for slideshow:

echo park lotus festival

The opening ceremonies were colorful and fun with a traditional Bangladesh puppet lion dance. Click on image below for slideshow:

This certainly worked up an appetite. I was hoping for some Bangladesh food but that didn’t pan out.

echo park lotus festival

But I certainly enjoyed my Korean BBQ squid. I also ordered a watermelon drink, not realizing it came with it’s own pool float! Now if I only had a pool…. but I’ll use it as a coaster.

echo park lotus festival

After lunch we had an enjoyable walk around the lake.

echo park lotus festival

The dragon boat races continued on throughout the day with various teams. It seemed that some teams were taking the race seriously, really out to win. Others were just having fun, which would be my option.

echo park lotus festival

I always enjoy festivals of any kind as they all have their own special flavor, like last month’s Summer Solstice parade in Santa Barbara. And coming up the end of this month is the Gilroy Garlic Festival, my all time favorite… stay tuned for my post about that!

If you’ve never visited Echo Park I certainly recommend the effort to get there… even if you can’t make it to the Lotus Festival…

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Summer Solstice in Santa Barbara

summer solstice festival

Seems like every couple of years I take a tumble. Some are more serious than others. This one happened last Friday. I had packing boxes lined up on the living room floor. I had just finished a good half hour workout with Richard Simmons when I turned around and hit one of the boxes with my right foot. My left foot had nowhere to go so couldn’t save me. Somehow I twisted around trying to get my balance and I landed kersplat on both knees on the hardwood floor! My left leg took the brunt of it. So I am walking on my trusty cane for a while!

summer solstice festival

However, that didn’t stop me from enjoying a planned adventure on Amtrak to visit Santa Barbara for the Summer Solstice Celebration the very next day. I rarely pop pills but I was thankful to have Tylenol left over from my last “trip” in Oregon two years ago when I managed to give myself a mild concussion.

summer solstice festival

On Saturday I was out of bed at 4:00 am. My friend picked me up at 6:00 am to drive to the Metro train station (as I couldn’t walk as I usually do). We met another friend there to take the Expo Line to the Red Line to Union Station where we met yet another friend.

summer solstice festival

The Amtrak train gave us quite a tour of Los Angeles, stopping at various stations along the way including (not in order) Van Nuys, Glendale, Burbank, Simi Valley, etc on the way to Chatsworth where we picked up seven more friends for a total of eleven. By the time we got to Chatsworth (Northwest Los Angeles County) we were advised the train was so full it was going to be standing room only so nobody could hog two seats! Everybody was headed to the festival.

summer solstice festival

Santa Barbara is approximately 100 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles and about 2.5 hours by train.

summer solstice festival

Upon arrival we headed straight for Moby Dick’s restaurant on the wharf which was a mere fifteen minute walk from the train station… or twenty five minutes for me on my cane! I had already decided I was ordering the seafood omelette with lobster, shrimp, crab and hollandaise sauce. It did not disappoint and although it was enough food for three people, I valiantly cleaned the plate all by myself.

summer solstice festival

I wish I could have taken more seascape photos but my normal modus operandi when walking with a group is to lag behind taking photos then run to catch up with the others. It’s hard to run with a cane. For one thing, even if I could, I would have ended up tripping over it!

summer solstice festival

From the website: 

Summer Solstice Parade began in 1974, as a birthday celebration for a popular artist and mime named Michael Gonzales. In subsequent years, their parade joined forces with a Summer Solstice Music Festival coordinated by Michael Felcher, sponsored by The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, staged at the Sunken Gardens to celebrate the longest day of year.

The Parade and Festival is the largest arts event in Santa Barbara County, drawing crowds of over 100,000 spectators from around the world. From these humble beginnings arose a celebration of life which, is like no other.

 

Not knowing how my legs would hold up, I couldn’t wander too far off the beaten path. So I just walked along State Street taking in the parade which was very enjoyable. I took several videos but didn’t know how to upload them to WordPress. So you’ll have to imagine the music and movement!

Click on an image below to start the slideshow.

On the trip back to LA the train was so crowded our group got to sit in Business Class. That is the way to travel. Plenty of room and leg rests like a Barcalounger. Perfect for my aching limbs.

I love traveling by train and I look forward to returning to Santa Barbara by Amtrak maybe next year on a non-festival day to see the rest of the city. It’s been about thirty years since I was there last.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 

 

 


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Thundery Sunday at the Huntington Library and Gardens

Huntington Library Gardens

Four of us brave souls called the weather gods’ bluff and despite a forecast for rain, thunder and lightning made the trip out to the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino, depending on the route you take, less than 25 miles from Culver City. When I go by myself I take the train and my feet but this day we drove.

Huntington Library Gardens

Since my last visit a couple of years ago they have installed a whole new garden near the entrance. And they have upgraded the dining options, always a good thing!

Huntington Library Gardens

No matter how many times I visit the Huntington, I always leave wanting more, looking forward to the next trip out there.

Huntington Library Gardens

We pretty much managed to avoid the rain until the very end. As we were sitting in the restaurant for lunch, the heavens opened up and provided us with some great thunder and lightning entertainment. When lunch was over, so was the rain. It’s all in the timing.Huntington Library Gardens

One of the cool temporary exhibits is the Orbit Pavilion… a sound experience that allows you to listen to the movement of NASA’s earth science satellites as they pass across the sky above you.

Huntington Library Gardens

This structure captures the sounds as you stand inside.

I wonder, as we are listening to them, are they listening to us?

Huntington Library Gardens

When I came up on this scene I wondered what all the baby bunnies were doing hanging out on the lawn with the geese. New glasses, Roslyn! These are goslings under the care of two napping grownups… yes, I imagine looking after all these cute little guys would be quite exhausting.

As you know from posts about my previous visits, I’ve taken gazillions of photos at the Gardens. I just enjoy wandering around shooting whatever takes my fancy. So here are a gazillion more random photos:

One last stop at the Conservatory and as we emerged, the rain started up. We took cover hoping the storm would pass but it was relentless.

Huntington Library Gardens

We gave up and made a run for the parking lot. We got soaked but at least we didn’t have to take the bus… we could be soggy all the way home in the comfort of our car!

Visit my other posts about the Huntington Library and Gardens:

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/in-hot-water-at-the-huntington-library/

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/thirsty-afternoon-in-the-desert-garden-at-the-huntington-library/

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2014/12/06/reflections-in-a-pond-and-art-gallery/

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Out of the garage: Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

antelope valley poppy reserve

On Sunday my friend B and I ventured out to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. Because this rain season in Southern California has brought us more of the wet stuff than we have seen in years, ending our seven-year drought, we assumed the poppy fields would be spectacular. There was a nice display but nothing like the blankets of orange we had experienced the last time we visited… back in 2003.

I painted the tile above from photos of that trip and it is still one of my favorites. It greets me when I come in my front door. Of course my late cat, Friday, wasn’t really there but I painted him anyway as my signature!

antelope valley poppies

Nevertheless, we enjoyed the trip. I had Cinnamon Girl, my fifteen-year-old Subaru Outback, tuned up in February and she was raring to take on the 180-mile round trip. I felt a slight hesitancy on the uphill on the way there. But coming back she took those hills at 75 MPH (120 km) without blinking. I know she was happy to get out of the garage and feel the wind whipping around her. I hope she lasts at least another fifteen years!

antelope valley poppies

B and I were also happy to be out of the city and in the open spaces with the wind attempting to blow our hats off.

antelope valley poppies

B mentioned the difference a week makes as last Sunday we were in downtown Los Angeles visiting Little Tokyo. I need to upload that blog post!

antelope valley poppies

The poppy fields were crowded with people. The last half mile was stop and go… worse than traffic on a Friday evening on the 405 freeway! But I was expecting it so I didn’t mind.

antelope valley poppies

Just being able to see for miles with no buildings or cars was worth the trip!

antelope valley poppies

Windmills in the distance providing alternative power sources.

Unfortunately, despite warnings to stay on the paths, we saw too many people trampling the wildflowers to obtain those important selfies. Aaargh…. PEOPLE!!! Evidently the rules don’t apply to everybody. Way to go, parents, training your kids to selfishly satisfy your own desires and spoil the experience for everybody else…

antelope valley poppies

We were glad we made the effort. We rewarded ourselves with dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant back in Culver City!

A great day!

Please click on any image below for slide show.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 


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Venice – walking and shooting – neighborhood and Abbott Kinney

Venice

A couple of weekends ago I walked around Venice with the Photographic Adventurers run by Will. Although I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in Venice during my lifetime, we first walked through a neighborhood I was not familiar with. Living in a city as vast as LA it’s not uncommon to discover new areas.

Venice

I enjoy meeting up with fellow photographers. I always learn something.

Venice

Tree trunks are one of my favorite subjects to photograph. I liked the fungi on this one.

VenicePeeling wood is just as good!

Venice

Finding odd, unusual items to photograph it always satisfying.

Venice

This feline relaxing on his royal purple throne was eager to pose for his portrait!

Venice

These pink flowers peering out of the moss (albeit artificial) appealed to me.

Venice

Who could resist this face framed in the doorway?

Venice

Out of the neighborhood and on Abbott Kinney Boulevard, the hip, trendy place to be on a Saturday! No secret I LOVE reflections and these two mannequins seemed to epitomize the well-dressed patrons of this area.

Please click on any image below for a slide show.

Although I’ve walked along Abbott Kinney many times, this time I was looking for some off-beat images to photograph. Think I found them!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Culver City’s Screenland 100th birthday 5K, The Race of the Century

screenland 5KCulver City was incorporated on September 20, 1917 so our little town of approximately 40,000 people has been celebrating our 100th birthday since last year.

One of the celebratory events was the “Screenland 5K, The Race of the Century,” in which I participated. Lori Escalara headed a team to help support the restoration of public murals in Culver City so I figured that was a good reason to plonk down the entrance fee, not to mention the T-shirt and medal that came with it!

Screenland 5K 100thCulver City birthdayUnfortunately it turned out to be a rather grungy day weather-wise with no sun. At one point I had to walk with my camera inside my jacket. But it could have been worse.

screenland 5K

We were entertained by bands along the way.

screenland 5K

I was ten minutes late getting to the start line and by the time I had walked a few yards, many of the serious runners had already completed the first third of the 5K (3.1-mile) course and had turned around.

The race was scheduled for the morning of February 26 to coincide with the date of the 89th Academy Awards later in the day.

screenland 5K

Culver City is dubbed “The Heart of Screenland” because of the numerous movies filmed at studios such as MGM, Columbia, Sony, RKO, Desilu, Selznick and many, many more.

The Heart of Screenland

Perhaps the most famous movies are “Gone with the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz.” But I also have to mention “Singing in the Rain.” Some of the 5K participants dressed up as their favorite movie characters. I was just ME!!!!

The Heart of Screenland

Sony and Culver Studios opened their lots to the 5K participants.


I was looking forward to getting some close-ups of the Rainbow sculpture inside the gates… too bad the sky was so grey.

screenland 5K

But I was happy to get a good shot of the artwork for my all time favorite movie “Lawrence of Arabia” which I have watched numerous times. I love everything about it from Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif to the spectacular photography and the glorious music. I realize the story isn’t that close to being accurate but that doesn’t stop my appreciation of the film.

screenland 5K

A peek into a “window” to see a gathering of classic movie stars.

screenland 5Kscreenland 5K

I walk or drive by Sony Studios several times a week on my way somewhere but it was nice to see inside. I have actually taken visitors from out of town on the studio tour a couple of times. And, of course, the exterior is on my Culver City walking tours.

screenland 5K

My final time was something in the range of 1 hour, 20 minutes so obviously I wasn’t going for any prizes! I was having more fun taking photos.

Click on any image for the slide show:

After I completed the 5K I felt like I could have kept going. So in a couple of weeks some friends and I will be walking the 6-mile CicLAvia route from Culver City to Venice Beach.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Culver City photo walk

sony studios

Yesterday was the inaugural walk of my photography Meetup group, Walk & Talk Photography. It was a good group and an interesting experience.

Although I’ve taken photos of most of these places before, every time I look through the lens I see something new and different.

Following are some of the photos I took on the walk. Click on a photo for the slide show.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Belated birthday bash

union station

Looks like the original ticketing area is being renovated. In the station’s previous hey day each of those window openings would have lines of people purchasing tickets. Now tickets are purchased in a less glamorous location… or mostly online!!!

It’s good to have the computer up and running again. Still haven’t re-installed all my programs or properly recalibrated my monitor but I’m slowly working on it… and I have my fingers crossed!

On Saturday my friend B and I visited Union Station… my favorite building in all of Los Angeles. B and I met a couple of decades ago when we were neighbors. She stayed put. I moved. But only about 1.5 miles away, so we are still almost neighbors!

Union Station

Looking through the waiting area to the trains at the end.

Her birthday is in June, mine in May. For several years we have been talking about taking the Expo and Red Lines to Union Station and eating at Traxx Restaurant to celebrate our mutual birthdays. Although we meet for dinner at least once a month, we never seemed to be able to make it to Traxx.

Union Station

To make a longer story short, we couldn’t get a reservation at Traxx Restaurant for the day we wanted. So we decided to take the train to Union Station anyway and improvise. Turned out to be a better situation than getting a reservation. The bar opened at 11:30 (ish) and we were the first customers!

Union Station

B suggested a Bloody Mary which sounded good to me! Tasted delicious so we ordered a second round. Well, we were celebrating our birthdays! To balance out the alcohol we shared shrimp tacos and chicken quesadilla. Perfect.

We sat there for a couple of hours people watching and gazing at the beautiful architecture. This is just how I had imagined it.

union station

In the waiting room there is a piano that anybody is invited to play. This guy was obviously a professional as (fortunately) his playing was definitely melodious. I imagined he was a studio musician having his moment in the spotlight!

downtown-LA-070216-008-C-600px

downtown-LA-070216-017-C-600px

Just looking around at the walls and ceiling from where we were sitting.

Los Angeles Plaza

It was hard to leave Union Station. Really I could have sat there all afternoon. But we needed to move on. We walked across the street to the Plaza area where people were dancing to a Latin beat.

Los Angeles Plaza

Then we watched as a group performed traditional Indian dances.

Methodist church

I’ve never been able to see inside the Plaza Methodist Church before. This was built in the 1920s. I learned that the Methodist church was the founding agent in Southern California for Goodwill Industries (where most of my unwanted “stuff” ends up).

We ambled through Olvera Street looking at the stalls and the stores. I’m always fascinated and intrigued by the Mexican goods available on this tourist street. No need to drive all the way to Tijuana!

Nuestra Reina de Los Angeles

We stepped across the street to Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles (Our Lady Queen of the Angels), the oldest existing church in LA, founded in 1781. The first Europeans, the Spanish, arrived in 1769. Everything changed!

Nuestra Senora

We couldn’t get into the main church. The door with the sign “Always Open” was locked. But I think the little chapel is much more interesting anyway.

Union Station

View of Union Station from La Plaza across the street

wilshire grand

The new Wilshire Grand which was “topped out” in March. It will replace the US Bank Building (Library Tower) as the tallest building West of Chicago. I’m sad about that but it had to happen one day.

I always appreciate the opportunity to show friends living in Los Angeles or visitors from faraway lands everything there is to see in this city. I have to say, it always amazes me how people who have lived here for decades, or were even born here, know so little about Los Angeles. But then it makes it so much more fun for me!

I’ve never trekked through the Amazon jungles or ridden a camel across the Saharan Desert, but I still consider myself to be an explorer. An urban explorer to be sure. But I certainly enjoy excavating every nook and cranny of my adopted city.

downtown los angeles

For those of you who know downtown, this is the newly re-opened The Bloc on 7th Street, across from the 7th Metro train hub, formerly the bricked-in enclave known as Macy’s Plaza

One interesting phenomena around Los Angeles these days is the redevelopment of the major shopping centers. At locations all over the city they are being transformed from closed-in fortresses to airy complexes open to the sky. What day did somebody wake up and say, hey, we have sunshine in LA, maybe customers could enjoy it while they are shopping!

Always worth peaking into Bottega Louie to salivate over the macaroons and other delightful pastries. No tasting now, just looking!

Our final destination in downtown this lovely afternoon was Clifton’s. As many times as I have been there since it’s re-opening, there is always one more soul who hasn’t visited yet. So I have to drag myself in there again.

Clifton's

We sat in the bar sipping an expensive glass of really bad Merlot. You don’t go there for the wine, evidently. But the ambience is definitely worth it as far as I am concerned. Another place I enjoy just sitting and people watching.

At this point B had a craving for apple pie à la mode. While I didn’t share that particular craving, we took the Expo Line back to Culver City and B drove her car over to the Marie Callender’s in West LA. As soon as I opened the menu my eyes were drawn to the tuna melt. The previous week with my other friend B (from England) I had a very disappointing tuna melt at what used to be my favorite restaurant on the Santa Monica Pier. I can no longer recommend it. But this tuna melt more than made up for it.

It was a happy ending to a beautiful day with a very good friend. What more can you ask for in life than that?

(Photos brought to you by my faithful point & shoot Canon G16 camera).

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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…it’s all happening at the zoo….

los angeles zoo

This meerkat would not cooperate and turn around for his portrait. But he does have a pretty back side!

My friend KL recently became a member of the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. When she mentioned it, I realized I have not visited the LA Zoo since the mid 1980s. As I was overdue for a visit we set a date to meet.

los angeles zoo

The first time I ever remember seeing a real live flamingo was when I lived in Florida as a teenager. I still have a hard time believing they are “real.”

I have mixed feelings about zoos in general. Animals being held captive, etc. (But they at least they don’t live the wretched lives of food animals.) Some species would become extinct if not for zoos and some can no longer live in the wild. So, I decided to put all that aside and enjoy the day.

los angeles zoo

This turtle seemed to be using his wings to fly through the water.

I tried to work out a way of getting to Griffith Park, where the zoo is located, by public transportation. But as the parking is “free” in an ample sized parking lot, I didn’t try very hard. Besides, Cinnamon Girl has to get out of the garage and go for a spin once in a while.

los angeles zoo

The detail on this Silverback Mountain Gorilla sculpture made it look almost lifelike.

Early on a Saturday morning, the 15-mile trip on surface streets took me about 45 minutes. I avoid taking the freeways whenever possible as I prefer to drive through neighborhoods rather than drive past them, seeing nothing but other cars speeding by at 70 mph.

los angeles zoo

I felt really sorry for this red tailed hawk. I often see these magnificent birds enjoying thermals way way up above my deck. I don’t know this guy’s story so maybe he was injured and can no longer fly (and that is why he is at the zoo) or he was born into captivity and doesn’t know any better.

Going home in the late afternoon the trip took me over two hours but I was in no hurry so I just went with the flow. I was amused to see some impatient drivers attempting to cut in and out of lanes but staying in one lane and waiting for traffic to move, I soon caught up with them.

los angeles zoo

I understand the LA Zoo is hoping for some baby zebras sooner than later. But this one just wanted to hang out.

Of course I took a billion photos but a lot of the exhibits are behind protective metal fences or glass so it was quite difficult to get a clear shot. And some inhabitants insisted on showing us their backsides or were hiding partially behind trees… okay, we get the message. So, sad to say, most of my photos are pretty much useless. I’m sure if I practiced taking photos under these conditions over a period of time I would figure out how to do it… but not on this day

los angeles zoo

I arrived at the zoo twenty minutes before opening time. I was surprised to see long lines of visitors ahead of me. I don’t know why I was surprised as anywhere you go in LA there are herds of people, especially at the weekends. My friend assured me that if I came back during the week it would be more comfortable people-wise.

los angeles zoo

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great to see so many people, and families, enjoying outdoor activities. And learning about animals. Certainly beats sitting in front of the TV or game console. But in terms of trying to take the perfect photo, it is hard when there are so many heads and shoulders in the way. At least the animals seemed oblivious to all the attention for the most part.

los angeles zoo

However, this guy seemed to revel in the attention, gladly posing for his portrait. He looks suspiciously like the sculpture we saw earlier!

los angeles zoo

Pronghorn Antelope?

I am as good at identifying different species of animals as I am at identifying trees and plants… which is not at all. I believe this may be a pronghorn antelope… I know the zoo has a program for rearing pronghorns, but not sure if this is one of them… sorry for my ignorance.

los angeles zoo

Not totally stupid, I certainly know these guys and girls are kangaroos… er, I mean giraffes. They were craning their necks looking very intently at something going on behind the trees so they would not look our way. Pretty soon we saw what all the excitement was about. The keepers came out with some munchies in the way of branches and leaves. Yummy.

los angeles zoo

I so wanted to get some good photos of the lions. Welllll, didn’t quite happen. Very disappointing as this is a scene I see all the time at home… cats snoring.

los angeles zoo

Kikuyu Colobus Monkey

No napping for this playful fellow. He and his compadres were all having a great time swinging and swaying among the hammocks and tree branches provided.

los angeles zoo

Capra falconeri heptneri

I would not want to meet this handsome gentleman in a dark alley! But he did seem very proud of his family as he was strutting around. According to the LA Zoo website, those horns serve a purpose as the gnarliest male winds up with the affections of the appreciative females. To each their own.

los angeles zoo

A least this tiger was cooperating even if the lions weren’t. So I got my feline photo of the day after all. I’m not sure if he was catching flies or coughing up a furball. This posture reminds me of Frankie in the kitchen before breakfast reminding me that he hasn’t been fed yet. Domesticated cats have remained very close to their wild ancestors.

los angeles zoo

A very sweet scene. The photo was take through glass so I couldn’t get too much detail and the original image showed nothing but a black blob. The second tail belongs to the baby that she was grooming.

los angeles zoo

When we arrived at the elephant enclosure there seemed to be a lot of activity. On closer inspection we saw it was two keepers cleaning and preparing the area. No elephants in sight. It was rather humorous as instead of watching zoo specimens, people were lined up at the fence watching the humans go about their jobs… just another species of animal in their natural habitat as zoo keepers!

los angeles zoo

We waited half an hour for the pachyderms to come out but it was good to rest for a while. Seeing them up close it isn’t hard to understand that they are the world’s largest living land mammal.

In the top photo, the elephant is sticking his trunk through a hole in the wall to feed on chopped veggies, sight unseen. The tire next to him is filled with grass and buried carrots that he has to hunt for.

In the second photo you see an orange ball to the lower right. The elephant has to roll the ball around until the carrot treasures fall out of the small holes one by one. This way the animals have to work to find food instead of having it handed to them on a plate! Sounds like a good idea for the kids, no?

los angeles zoo

Hope I am not mis-identifying this cutie as a Tapir.

Last, but certainly not least, what I believe to be a Tapir had quite a large area to wander around in (given his small size) but he was certainly getting his exercise running around looking here, there and everywhere as if in search of something.

It would be nice to talk to the animals and find out how they feel about living in captivity. I’m sure some of them don’t mind as they are safe from predators and don’t have to worry about finding dinner. But I am sure they lose something too.

My apologies to all the other beautiful creatures who did not make it into this post for no rhyme or reason. But all in all it was a lovely day. And now I have been to the zoo after all these decades, I think I want to return on my own… and on a weekday… with the idea of spending the time to capture some better images rather than merely snapshots. Practice makes perfect indeed.

Sorry to be so predictable (well, not sorry really) but to put a song in your heart for the day here is Simon and Garfunkle singing “At the Zoo.”

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Peacocks prancing in the park

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

One of the reasons I love living in Los Angeles is access to all the parks and gardens. The Gold Line recently added six more stations, all the way to Azusa. One of those stations is Arcadia where the 127-acre Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is located. The free shuttle bus that stops at the mall, Santa Anita Race Track and The Arboretum now also stops at the train station.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Yesterday several explorer friends and I visited The Arboretum. Most of us met at Union Station in downtown LA for the trip on the Gold Line.

The Arboretum is known for its peacocks. They are VERY raucous and can be heard “meowing” throughout the park. The above photos are of the same peacock back and front. Both views are pretty impressive.  They are not shy about posing for the camera.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The Arboretum is made up of small pocket gardens, sprawling lawns and water features. We decided to take the 2 1/2 hour docent-led tour

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

This wood creature was part of a temporary art exhibit but he looked very much at home.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

This is jacaranda season and the purple trees are showing off all over town.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The garden, like everywhere else in Southern California, is suffering from the severe drought. But this “flowing” pond is made of stone and needs no water.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Can you find the hummer? Maybe not as impressive as the peacocks but certainly a sweetie.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

A giant lizard slithering across the path? No, just a peacock all folded up for travel.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Eucalyptus deglupta Mindanao gum showing off its rainbow bark.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The pea hen is looking for lunch. The female has no need for extravagant opulence to attract a mate… there are plenty of males strutting around the premises.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The Seed Saving Garden is dedicated to growing heirloom vegetables and herbs.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic GardenWe had several ideas about what these extraordinary giant flowers looked like, I thought of elephant ears.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Even the Arboretum is not free of exotic bugs!

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Effects of the drought on these trees.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The once beautiful ponds are also ravaged by the drought.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

But this turtle family doesn’t seem to mind!

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

If you were a fan of the TV show Fantasy Island, you will recognize this Queen Anne cottage. It was where Tattoo rang the bell when visitors came to the island.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

There’s a lot more to the park but we were pretty tired and hungry after the tour so it was time to head out to lunch. We took the shuttle to the California Pizza Kitchen close by. I always order the Moroccan Spicy Chicken Salad at this restaurant chain… but I decided to be a little daring and ordered the Roasted Veggie Salad instead. That is now my new favorite.

Click on an image below to start the slide show.

The Arboretum even has its own song!

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