My daughter took me out for my birthday yesterday. We went to lunch and then on to the Botanical Gardens. We love a good adventure and yesterday our adventure began before we even got inside the glass house. If you've never tried to find a parking space in Wade Oval on a Sunday when the Art Museum is having an event, the Natural History Museum is having an event and the weather is so gorgeous that every person in Cleveland decided to go enjoy the green space for a while you haven't lived. We had a parking space safari. I lost count of how many times my daughter yelled "Oh! There's a space! No…..fire hydrant." We got pretty giddy after circling the same three blocks for half an hour. As a matter of fact the parking space quest seemed so much like a driving video game that after a while I started driving on the sidewalk and taking out mailboxes and pedestrians just to pick up extra bonus points.
We finally found a space that was just outside the Botanical Gardens and I managed to parallel park my giant vehicle in it [with all bumpers and paint intact] even though a wee tiny car had just vacated the spot.
The glass house is even more spectacular now than it was a few years ago when I saw it last. The plants have matured and they have added to the varieties of things fluttering, creeping, flying and hopping around from limb to limb. The sheer number and beauty of the variety of blooming plants was astonishing. We walked in and were blown away. Both levels are filled with plants and animals indigenous to Costa Rica. The variety of butterflies alone was mesmerizing. There were places where there were giant SWARMS of butterflies flitting from plant to plant. I was surprised afterwards that my tongue didn't get sunburned from wandering around gawking at everything with my mouth open.
Standing there in the heat and humidity looking at all the blooms and butterflies was like having a big dose of summer tonic poured into my soul.
When we got done exploring the glass house we came back downstairs to get cool and have a snack. There was a room next to the snack bar with an exhibit of fancy floral arrangements. It was a competition of some sort and the entries ranged from artsy and interesting to just "interesting." We enjoyed looking at them, but the best part was the discreet little black and white sign that was on each and every plinth with the arrangements. It said "Please do not touch."
So of course, I had to pretend that I was going to touch the very first one. After that Rachel then announced as we stopped at each arrangement "Please do not touch"…….this might be a "you had to be there" moment, but trust me at the time it was pretty funny. So was standing in front of the potted trees that were placed around the room and "critiquing" their flow and form as though they were also in the competition. [see the "you might have had to be there" statement again]
Then we went outside and wandered the gardens. It was a gorgeous warm fall day complete with fall color, a swarming ant hill that we marveled at and Rachel videotaped, lots of fat squirrels gathering fall nuts and meandering paths full of fall leaves on the ground that crunched under our feet. Bliss. I took a gorgeous red maple leaf to press in a book for a souvenir of the day.
After we wandered around and saw everything that there was to see outside we exited the gardens via the gift shop.
In the gift shop it was Christmas. And I don't mean that they had a few Christmas items, I mean it was CHRISTMAS! Kind of over the top, the mad hatter came in for the day and helped us decorate we love Christmas and all its sparkly glittery glory, CHRISTMAS!
So in the space of three hours I got a huge dose of summer, a lovely fall adventure and a taste of winter to come.
Three seasons, no waiting……..what a lovely day.