Showing posts with label Explore St. Louis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Explore St. Louis. Show all posts

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Review of The Riverlands

River Barge


Just north of St. Louis, Missouri the Mississippi and Missouri rivers combine.  This confluence is fun to see and on a warm summer day, I took a trip there with my granddaughters who were visiting from New Hampshire.  The photo above shows a barge waiting on the Mississippi to get through the lock and dams.

The Riverlands

The Riverlands is a 3700 acre migratory bird sanctuary that is located in West Alton.  This area is home to prairie land, wetland and forest habitats where both resident and migratory birds find refuge.

More than 300 different species of birds have been seen in this area.  Many species make their homes there and other stop for feed and rest as the migrate down the "Mississippi River Flyway" spring and fall.  It is said that over 60% of all North American migratory birds use this flyway.

The Riverlands is open to the public from sunrise to sunset each day.  It is a fantastic place to observe and/or photograph birds.  The area offers 8 miles of walking and hiking trails and also offers bicycle trails.

Audubon Center at the Riverlands

Our first stop when we entered the Riverlands was the Audubon Center.  Here you can find lots of information and displays about both the birds and the Missouri and Mississippi confluence and how it affects the ecosystem.  This center offers educational opportunities, as well as information on conservation.  It has several platforms for public viewing and scopes that take you into the middle of the Mississippi flyway to observe migratory birds.  The wall facing the Mississippi is made of glass and gives you a wonderful way to view birds all year round in all types of weather.

When we visited it was mid June, so of course there was not much to see in the way of migratory birds, but a very helpful volunteer took the girls out to the side of the center to tell them all about the "Purple Martins" that lived there.  Here are a couple of photos.
Audubon Center Birds

Purple Martins at Audubon Center


 The volunteer pointed out how the birds were feeding their babies. It was very interesting.

Confluence

The volunteers at the center suggested we drive up the road a bit and stop at the path that takes you to the confluence of the Missouri and the Mississippi rivers.  We decided to do that and took the path which was about 1/3 of a mile long.
Walking on Wooded Path

The Mississippi River is called the "Father of Waters". On it's path north from the Gulf of Mexico, it drains 32 US states and two Canadian Provinces.
The Missouri River is the longest river in the US.  It starts in southwestern Montana where the Rocky Mountains are and then flows east and south for 241 miles before it enters the Mississippi just north of St. Louis.
Here is a photo I took of the confluence.
Confluence of two rivers

Story from our Visit

While we were there, we took photos on a platform that faced the two rivers.  It was my brother and his wife, my two granddaughters and myself.  After the photo my 15-year-old granddaughter, Kate, decided to take a closer look at the Mississippi and found herself stuck in mud almost to her knees.  A nearby fisherman ended up pulling her out, but her shoes did not come with her.  My brother took some big sticks and was able to get the shoes out, so we had Kate sit on a platform by the confluence and wash out her shoes.
Washing Shoes in Mississippi

It would be good if that was the end of the story, but you can see by this photo how muddy it was and when Kate finished washing her shoes, she put them back on and in two steps they had sunk in the mud again.  This time my brother could not get them out, so Kate lost her shoes to the "Muddy Mississippi".  She walked back to the car barefoot and we took bottles of water to try to get some of the mud off her feet.  So now we have a story to tell from our adventure.

Here is a link to an Amazon Book if you'd like to learn more about the Mississippi. https://amzn.to/3RNqkyd



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, December 14, 2023

Celebrating the Christmas Season in St. Charles

 

Christmas Decorated Bandstand

Christmas on historic Main Street in St. Charles Missouri is always a wonderful way to spend some time.  The shops are all decorated for the holidays, and it is very festive looking.  On this post I will tell you about the festival that is the highlight of the holiday on Main Street and give you a photographic tour of the area with photos I took on a beautiful December morning.

Looking down Main Street at Christmas
Main Street Decked out for the Holidays.

Storefront with Merchandise on Sidewalk
Storefront with Merchandise Displayed on Sidewalk

The photo above shows one of the creative ways the storeowner uses his merchandise to add to the festive decorations.

Windows and Doorways

The decorating of store windows and entrances adds to the festival atmosphere.

Decorated Doorways

Store Windows are Decorated with Merchandise


Christmas Traditions

Christmas Traditions is an annual festival held each year from Thanksgiving until Christmas.   It is a very exciting time for young and old alike. Each Friday evening through Sunday evening you will find a host of storybook characters walking around Main Street.  Characters like the Sugar Plum Fairy, Jack Frost and Santa's from many lands are all handing out trading cards.  My granddaughters loved to try to collect all the cards when they were younger and came to visit.

At noon on Saturdays and Sundays all of the characters follow Santa and Mrs. Claus on a parade down Main Street, while children both young and old line the streets to watch.  When not in the parade Santa can be found in the railroad station where you can get your photo taken with Santa.

Other traditions include carolers walking the streets and singing carols and vendors selling things like roasted chestnuts and hot Wassil.

Children can send a letter to Santa and drop it in the special mailbox.

red mailbox



Decorations Galore

Wreaths are found everywhere on buildings, windows and doorways.

Green and red wreath


This big tree and the red sleigh in front of it is a favorite place to stop and have take a photo of your group.


Red sleigh in front of Christmas Tree

Greenery Decoration in Tub


I hoped you enjoyed seeing one of the ways we celebrate the holidays in my area.  

A few years ago, I wrote about Main Street St Charles with an emphasis on the history of the area.  You can find it at this link.  Photographing Christmas in Historic St. Charles


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, July 27, 2023

Photographing Wildflowers in Missouri

 

Purple Coneflowers at the Park
Purple Coneflower

I love wildflowers and, in the spring and summer, they are abundant in Missouri.  It makes photographing them so very easy, I can find them in parks, along the sides of roads, on my neighborhood walks and even in my own yard.  When I am planning to go out specifically to take photographs, I usually bring my Sony mirrorless camera along with a 55-200 zoom lens.  It makes it easy to take pictures at a distance and also to zoom in for closer shots.  When I am taking my dog for walks in the neighborhood, I always have my iPhone handy, and I find that it takes great shots of the wildflowers I find in the neighborhood and at our park.

The photo at the beginning of this article was taken at O'Day Park in O'Fallon, Missouri. It is a purple coneflower, that is very popular in my area in the summer months.  It is one of my favorite wildflowers.  I took my granddaughters to the park and brought along my Sony to capture the wildflowers that were in abundance.  

O'Day Park Wildflowers

O'Day Park is a 57-acre park in O'Fallon that features a lodge, playground, camping and miles of paths and trails throughout the park.  Near the playground area, I discovered a paved trail that had lots of beautiful wildflowers along the sides.  They were in full bloom during our visit, and I was able to capture several different types of Missouri wildflowers. Here are some of my favorite shots.
Plains coreopsis in the park
Plains Coreopsis

Rough Blazing Star in the Park
Rough Blazing Star


Queen's Anne Lace in the Park
Queen Anne's Lace


Purple Coneflower with a Bee
Purple Coneflower with Bee

Around the Neighborhood

The photos in this section were all taken on my walks in my neighborhood.  They were all taken with my iPhone.
Trumpet Vine in a Tree
Trumpet Vine

Neighborhood flowers
Purple Coneflower and Golden Alexander

Lance Leaf Coreopsis in the Neighborhood
Lance Leaf Coreopsis

In My Yard

As I was looking at lists of Missouri wildflowers online, I noticed that many of the flowers in my flower beds are considered wildflowers.  I know that all of them were started with a single clump given to me by and friend and all have spread like crazy.  They make a colorful bordered on the side of my house.
Pink Primrose
Primrose



Front Yard Flowers
Wild Geranium

Purple Bottle Brush
Bottle Brush Blazing

Black-Eyed Susan in my Yard
Black-eyed Susan

Learn More about Wildflowers

There are many books to give you tips on photographing wildflowers.  Here is one I found on Amazon.



Other Articles I have Written on Flower Photography

I love to photograph all kinds of flowers.  Here are some other articles I have written over the years.



Remember the best Camera for Flower Photography is the One you Have with You!  





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, July 13, 2023

Visit Missouri-Explore St. Louis - The Muny

Historic Bandstand at St. Louis Muny
Bandstand across from Muny

 

The St. Louis Municipal Opera, commonly called The Muny has been operating in Forest Park for more than 100 years.  It is America's oldest and largest outdoor musical theatre and is a real treasure for the residents and visitors to the St. Louis area.  

I have enjoyed many a delightful summer's evening watching Broadway style musicals at The Muny.  This year, I had the pleasure of introducing my youngest two granddaughters to The Muny when I took them to see a production of Beauty and the Beast.  They were delighted with the show, and it was wonderful to be able to watch it with them. 

We arrived at The Muny about two hours before the show started and enjoyed a picnic supper at one of the many picnic areas surrounding the Muny.  While enjoying our meal we were entertained by some of the pre-show entertainment.  On this evening there was a storyteller who delighted the children with stories and songs.  On other visits to The Muny I have enjoyed performances by some of the dance troops and singing groups before the show begins.   When it was about 30 minutes before the show we entered the outdoor theatre and made our way to our seats.  With time to spare we decided to get some ice cream from the refreshment stands to enjoy while we waited for the show to begin.  Here are Kate and Emily waiting for the show to start.

Grandkids at the Muny

The production of Beauty and the Beast was wonderful, and the girls were on the edge of their seats the entire time.

History of the Muny

About the time of the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis the dreams of a permanent outdoor musical theatre were formed.  It was 1916 before this dream was finally realized.  At that time a site was pick on a hillside in Forest Park between two large oak trees.  The first production held their was As You Like It.  It was picked to observe the 300th year anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.  The production was seen by crowds of over 8000 per night and everyone was delighted.  This was the beginning of the 105 year history of The Muny.

Today the theatre has 10,800 seats.  The last nine rows (1456) are free seats and the rest of the seats are reserve tickets, with prices rising as you get closer to the stage.  The theater is built as an amphitheater and gently slopes downhill towards the stage at the bottom.

It is a true cultural treasure of St. Louis that has been enjoyed by residents and visitors over the decades.


More Reviews on Forest Park in St. Louis

I have written several other reviews on Forest Park venues.  Here are a few of my favorites.
Forest Park and the Jewel Box


Find out more about The Muny

 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Visit Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park

 

Betty's Lake at Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park, photo taken by mbgphoto
Betty's Lake at Sunset
St. Charles County Missouri has many wonderful parks to explore.  In this post I will review Broemmelsiek Park.  This park has a delightful history and is a great place for a photographer to explore. On this page I will tell you a bit of the history and the features of the park.  I will also share photographs that I took at the park on a recent trip with my photography club.

A Bit of History

The land for Broemmelsiek park was acquired by the St. Charles County Parks and Recreation department in 2002. The original land acquisition included a partial donation by the Broemmelsiek family whose desire was to save their precious land from subdivision development and preserve the natural beauty of St. Charles County.  The park was then named for Jack and Betty Broemmelsiek who lived on the property for more than 30 years and were committed to promoting conservation activities.  The home where they lived on the farm has been converted into the visitor center.  The lake below the visitor center is called Betty's lake in honor of Betty Broemmelsiek.  

fountain in lake at Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park, photo taken by mbgphoto


Park Features

This 494-acre park located at 1795 Hwy DD in Defiance Missouri has many wonderful features for the nature lover.
  • Several large lakes for fishing.
  • 9 miles of multi-use trails for hiking, biking and equestrian use.
  • A 4.7 off-leash dog park that has been voted "Best Dog Park" in the region.  It features a large pond for the dogs to swim.
  • An astronomy viewing area that is the first of its kind in the area.  Weather permitting it features Friday night public stargazing events.
  • A 4-acre Historic Educational Agriculture area that features crops that are grown in the area.
  • A visitor center that has a meeting room, outdoor patio and deck that are available to rent for meetings or special events.

Photography at the Park

Below are several photos I took has I walked around Betty's Lake.
tree in Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park, photo taken by mbgphoto

pink flower in Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park, photo taken by mbgphoto

flowers in Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park, photo taken by mbgphoto

red wing blackbird in Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park, photo taken by mbgphoto

lake in Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park, photo taken by mbgphoto

flower in Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park, photo taken by mbgphoto





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, February 24, 2022

Reviewing a Veterans Museum

 

St Charles Veterans Museum collage
Scenes from Front of Museum

 
In early February of 2022, I had the privilege of visiting the St. Charles County Veterans Museum with a group of people from the Willows Way photography club where I am a photography mentor.  This museum is just over two years old and I had never visited before. I was in for a wonderful surprise.  The museum was a delight with lots of memorabilia and stories of veterans from World War I through the present day.  

The volunteers who worked at the museum were wonderful and really made our whole experience very inspirational.  They gave us time to explore on our own, but were always available to answer questions and tell the stories of the veterans that were featured at the museum.

On this post I will share with you some of the photos I took in the museum and also give your more information about the museum which I gathered from their website St. Charles County Veterans Museum

World War I Era Uniforms


World War I uniforms displayed in the St Charles Veterans Museum

After you enter the museum the first display you see is from World War I.  Here are some of the uniforms from the display.

Mission of the Museum

Plans for a museum that honored all of the veterans from the area was a dream of Ralph Barrale (1924-2018) a veteran of World War II.  He was able to get the location secured and the dream was becoming a reality when he passed on in 2018.  Unfortunately he was unable to see the actual opening in 2019.

Here is the stated mission of the museum. 
" Inspiring, informing and engaging the residents
of St. Charles County to honor the memories of County Veterans who served the United State of America with patriotic valor."

Korean War

Korean War uniforms displayed in St Charles Veterans Museum

There was a section of memorabilia from the Korean War and several stories of county residents who had served there.  One of this heroes was a volunteer on the day that we visited and was very knowledgeable about that era.

Telling the Veterans Stories

The museum is in the process of developing a program where high school students interview veterans to find out their stories.  The program is called "Interview our Heroes- Our Military Veterans."  The goal of the program is to unite generations and tell the stories of veterans.  The interviews will be on video and will be put on the museum's website along with being sent to the Library of Congress in Washington D. C..  This sounds like a wonderful program and I am looking forward to seeing these interviews on the website and on future visits to the museum.

Vietnam Era Memorabilia

Several stories have been collected  from Vietnam veterans.  Here is some of the memorabilia that is in the museum from that era.
Vietnam War uniforms displayed in the St Charles Veterans Museum

World War II

There is an entire room devoted to the World War II veterans.  It includes uniforms, models, and a tent from the era.  Here are some of the photos I took in that room.
model airplane displayed in the St Charles Veterans Museum

model airplane displayed in the St Charles Veterans Museum

battleship model displayed in the St Charles Veterans Museum

display in the St Charles Veterans Museum

tent displayed in the St Charles Veterans Museum
tent displayed in the St Charles Veterans Museum



Paintings

There were some beautifully done paintings hanging in the museum.  This one was done by a local artist and depicts women in the military.
women in the military painting displayed in the St Charles Veterans Museum

Wall Honoring Residents who Gave the Ultimate Sacrifice

Wall of Honor displayed in the St Charles Veterans Museum

In closing I would like to encourage you to visit a Veterans Museum.  It is a very moving experience.  If you are in the St. Louis/St. Charles area or traveling through please stop at the St. Charles County Veterans Museum.  It is located at 410 E Elm St in O'Fallon, Mo.

If this location does not work for you, I encourage you to look for a veterans museum near you to visit.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Gratitude

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the USA.  It is the day we give Thanks for all the blessings we have received. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving Day.

Pumpkin photo by mbgphoto

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, it is a good time to look back over the past year and express our thanks for all of our blessings.  In this post I will be showing you through my photographs a few of the many blessings I have experienced during the past year.

God, Family and Church

Chapel of the Cross Lutheran Church photo by mbgphoto
Chapel of the Cross Lutheran Church
God has blessed me with a wonderful husband, two great children and their spouses and four wonderful granddaughters.  For this I am grateful.

I also belong to a church family that has many wonderful supportive members.  They are true blessings.

Photography

I enjoy taking photographs and honing my photography skills.  I belong to a photography club that gives me opportunities to learn more about my hobby and also provides the opportunity for field trips around the area.

Fort Zumwalt Park photo by mbgphoto
Fort Zumwalt Park
Civic Park photo by mbgphoto
Civic Park

St Louis Riverfront photo by mbgphoto
St. Louis Riverfront


Nature Photography

I enjoy taking photos of nature, but I am particularly grateful for all the opportunities to take nature photography in my own back yard.  Here are a few of my favorites from the past year.

Pumpkin filled with birdseed & skunk eating photo by mbgphoto

Squirrel eating from pumpkin filled with birdseed photo by mbgphoto

Eastern Bluebird photo by mbgphoto

butterfly on flower photo by mbgphoto

hummingbird photo by mbgphoto

bathing robin photo by mbgphoto


Lighthouse Photography

Over the past 12 years since my retirement, I have enjoyed photographing lighthouses and have photographed over 150 in that time period.  This year I am thankful for the lighthouses I was able to photograph on the east coast.

Lighthouse photo by mbgphoto

Nobska Lighthouse photo by mbgphoto

New London Ledge Lighthouse with sailboat photo by mbgphoto

Avery Point Lighthouse and Sailboat photo by mbgphoto


Photography Near my Home

I live in the St. Louis metro area and have some wonderful opportunities for photography near my home.  Here are a few from the past year.

Art Hill photo by mbgphoto
Art Hill



History Museum photo by mbgphoto
History Museum

St. Louis Wheel photo by mbgphoto
St. Louis Wheel
Forest Park Bandstand photo by mbgphoto
Bandstand in Forest Park


Sunrise and Sunsets

I find the variety in sunrises and sunsets to be amazing.  I love photographing them at all different times and different weather conditions  The first photo here is a sunrise in Jupiter, Florida and the second is a sunset in Cape Cod Massachusetts.

Sunset Over the Ocean photo by mbgphoto

Sunrise Over the Ocean photo by mbgphoto




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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