Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fall at Reptiland

My friend Vori is a multi-talented individual. You have seen him photographing and drawing in the garden. Besides these talents he makes his living in store design and display. Given the nature of Retail these days he has to go further to get work; and it comes in the strangest packages at times. You should check out his blog for his version of our trip: He had been called to review a gift shop for ways to improve its efficiency and increase sales. The client was Reptiland in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. As the drive was long and I had the time, he asked me to keep him company and go along for the ride. It was almost a four hour drive from Philadelphia in one of those places you wonder what is going on.

The drive along the turnpike was not the prettiest but once out of the cities and suburbs we were in some pretty wonderful landscape that was in fall color. It was not only in fall color but also had a nice dusting of the first snow of the season. We were off the turnpike and following route 80 west along the ancient southernmost limit of the last ice age. This we did to get to another road to get to another road… The ride, even though monotonous by the repetition of the same was interesting and with the two of us talking non-stop for four hours we had a great time.

Reptiland is an unusual place where various animals ranging from emus, to alligators, to all sorts of snakes, lizards and frogs. Amongst the bigger beasts were these Galapagos Tortoises that have quite a personality and all are very well cared for in their environments. The place is a properly accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Of particular interest to me was the landscape in the 4 acre park. Particulars habitats had been created for the beasts when the weather permitted them to be outside. The rest of the landscape was rather well done with assortment of bamboos and rogdgersias and other tropical or primeval looking plants to create a great effect.

A new butterfly exhibit was exhilarating as you walked around a very balmy 79 degree habitat filled with flowers and butterflies flying about. Here we both had fun photographing the wonders and colors of the butterfly kingdom. The exhibit featured a place where the chrysalis were kept until becoming butterflies and released into the garden. Unfortunately the life of a butterfly is rather limited lasting about two weeks for some of these species or due to the constraints of the habitat.

I have always wanted to go to Northern Mexico to follow the greatest migration of the planet – that of the Monarchs. These arrive around Halloween after months of traveling along both the east and the west coasts from Canada to winter and breed. Surprising, it takes one generation to get from Canada to Mexico while three generations to get back home. Millions upon millions cover the trees that seem to come alive with butterflies fluttering.

Chrysalises hatching case

A Monarch and her court of beauties

The return trip was more of the same with a brief stop for gas and food where I got this photograph of cherry pickers. Minutes after taking the photo, a scruffy man (a character who could have come out of the film Deliverance) came up to us to ask what we were doing? I wonder the logic of stacking a dozen cherry to pickers to get attention and then asking that question?

1 comment:

  1. You looked suspicious! Vori must look Greek or Yugoslavian or Romanian and you, my friend definitely look Cuban, don't you? You looked like you were up to no good. Have you no idea of where you were? That's guns and Bibles land. Did you charm his pants off and wound up having coffee with the dude? Did you smile a lot? Did you show him the pictures to allay his malaise? More details, please, after all, it's an adventure!