Cape May Park & Zoo

animals, Budget Travel, Travel, Zoo

Cape May Park & Zoo is located in Cape May Court House, NJ. It was originally created in 1978. It’s a free park and zoo run on donations. They offer a zoo, playgrounds, picnic pavilions, a fishing pond, a wedding gazebo, a rock climbing wall, and a carousel. Plus, in 2016 they will introduce rope courses and zip-lines.

The park and zoo are open seven days a week, year round. They even offer special events, such as a night walk (after hours at the zoo). There is a ticket price and reservations are required. However, snacks and drinks are included.

There is also a special zoo camp offered every summer. It’s a great place for kids to learn more about animal life.

We highly recommend visiting this location if you are in the area. You can pack a picnic lunch and tour the zoo. It’s affordable and fun. Plus, there is plenty to do, especially with little ones.

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The Beach Life in Avalon, NJ

Beach, Ocean, Photography, Travel

This past weekend was spent in Avalon, NJ. We had some pretty breathtaking views and beautiful weather.

One of our regular places to visit is the Avalon Marine Center, many of the photos in the gallery are from that location. My husband also enjoys dabbling in occasional astrophotography. He was hoping to get a few star photos this past weekend, but the light pollution and clouds didn’t allow that to happen. Although, he did get a few night shots, one of which is included in the gallery below.

The area is absolutely beautiful. Avalon is located near Cape May, Sea Isle City and Stone Harbor. We actually visited the Cape May Zoo on this trip, which will be featured in next week’s blog. It’s a free zoo, based on donation. And, definitely worth the visit! Come back next Monday to learn more about that.

Do you have any favorite vacation spots or beaches that you visit regularly? Please share in the comments section below.

Living outside of town

nature, Photography, wildlife

I recall thinking that one day I wanted to live just outside of town. A place where you could be in nature, but within minutes of stores. Years later I ended up marrying a man who wanted the exact same thing. And, already owned a place that fit the description. How perfect…

One of the things I love most about living here is the constant wildlife. On a regular occasion we see birds, squirrels and groundhogs. We’ve also seen chipmunks, snakes and deer. But one of the coolest sights was when two turkey hens came wobbling through our yard with about a dozen babies. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find any good photos of that on our memory cards. However, I did happen to find these three pictures to share. You’ll see a baby robin on our front porch, a blue jay resting in the backyard and what I believe is a garter snake in the grass.

This lifestyle may not be for everyone. Living outside of town can come with its negatives like not being in walking distance to shops and it also comes with more bugs. However, it does have its perks, such as being closer to nature, having real bonfires in the backyard, less light pollution and seeing various wildlife. It’s the perfect location for a writer/hobbyist photographer.

Independence Day

fireworks, holiday, nature, Photography

Independence Day is one of the four federal holidays of the year. It’s celebrated because in 1776 the 13 colonies became free of British ruling. The document wasn’t ready until July 4th. However, it was actually voted on July 2, 1776 and they didn’t ring the liberty bell until July 8, 1776 when they did the first public reading.

Every year since, the holiday has been celebrated. There’s been music, parades, speeches, readings and even artillery salutes (back when cannons were a thing). However, one of the most famed celebrations is that of fireworks.

For me, Independence Day isn’t the same without a few fireworks, even if they are the small kind, as long as there is some kind of sparkle. The other thing that marks the holiday is my family reunion, which has been long going (now at 102 years). It was started more than a lifetime ago in 1913.

It’s a bit of a drive to get to the reunion and quite honestly I only know a few people. But, I have fond memories of the past reunions. Growing up I’d look forward to visiting the carnival (on the same grounds). There was also the cake walk and children’s games. I remember meeting over at Grandma and Pap’s house and all piling in the car for the drive. However, now my husband and I drive together, as the family has gotten too large to all fit in one car.

The drive is long, but the part that’s not spent on the highway is beautiful. There are winding roads and trees for miles. You also drive through quaint and outdated towns, a reminder of times passed.

We are often in too much of a hurry to get there to take photos of the journey along the way. We also often leave too late from the reunion to get good daylight pictures. However, this past Saturday we left early from the reunion and the drive was extra intriguing with the fog hanging above the mountains. Some photos are in the gallery below. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a picture of our cool surprise, a black bear crossing the road. I wasn’t fast enough with the camera…

When we got home I told my husband it didn’t quite feel like July 4th. We hadn’t seen any fireworks yet. It’s funny how these things can become a staple of the holiday…

We looked up the local listings for fireworks and found some that were only 10-15 minutes away. They were to start at 9:30 pm and we had read that at 9:15 pm. So, we left pretty immediately and made it on time. However, they did start a few minutes early (which actually helped us find them).

We pulled over in a grassy yard by a church, where several people had lined up with their camping chairs. There was something special about it. It wasn’t a huge crowd where we were stuffed together like sardines. We were there, sporadically placed through a large grassy field in what felt like the middle of nowhere. It was the perfect conclusion to our July 4th celebrations.

Independence day is a reminder of our freedom and history. But, it’s also a time when family and friends gather together to celebrate with one another. What does it mean to you? What are your usual July 4th plans?