Archive for the ‘birds’ Category

Hotels for the Birds & Bees

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

There are some hotels taking this whole ‘let’s be friends with our habitat’ concept way too seriously.

Homewood Suites by Hilton in Denver

Homewood Suites by Hilton in Denver

Exhibit A: Homewood Suites (Denver) – One week ago, a pair of Canadian Geese swooped into the parking lot at this airport hotel in Denver and started building a nest (see video).

While the sign above their nest clearly says ’Reserved for Guests,’ it’s possible that the duck on the hotel sign may have mislead them into thinking it was a hotel for birds.

So they start chasing away people who came within pecking range. Just in case the message wasn’t clear enough, the male also starts jumping on cars parked too close to their new extended stay nest.

In this showdown of the Geese vs Guests, the dastardly hotel staff decided to side with the Geese, and blocked off  parking spaces around the nest with traffic cones. What’s more, they’re now feeding crackers and bread to the Geese. No rent either.

Exhibit B: The Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver – There are six beehives choc-a-bloc full of 390,000 honey bees in this hotel’s 2,100 sq ft herb garden on the third floor terrace. In case that’s not enough, the hotel has also put up bird baths to add to the cacophony.

Herb Garden, Fairmont Waterfront In Vancouver

Herb Garden, Fairmont Waterfront In Vancouver

Even worse, they’re rubbing it in with a package deal for The Birds and The Bees. Book this package, and you get:-

- Overnight accommodation
- Full buffet breakfast for two adults in Herons Restaurant 
- Chef’s honey-themed welcome amenity 
- Herb Garden Tour including a visit to the beehives

Herb gardens, beehives, bees & honey, bird baths, herons restaurant… This is one hotel which is beyond redeem - gone to the birds and the bees.

Photo credits:- Homewood – 9News; Herb Garden – Fairmont

Related posts:-
Denver Botanic Gardens
Petcare Robot – Track your Pets, Even on Vacation

Visit Florida’s Wild Side at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

A Florida prairie

Nature puts on quite a show at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park situated between Gainvesville and Micanopy, Florida. This 22,000-acre prairie wilderness offers so many wildlife viewing opportunities that you’ll forget all about that little mouse named Mickey who lives down the road in Orlando. While you’re hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding or observing from one of the observation towers, look for alligators, bison, wild horses, or sandhill cranes. Want a challenge? How many of the 270 species of birds can you spot?

Famous for: Views of abundant wildlife on a prairie, an unexpected Florida setting

Admission: $6.00 per vehicle (limit 2-8 people per vehicle). $2.00 pedestrians and bicyclists, $7.00 per equestrian/rider

Families with young kids will like:  A walk on the La Chua Trail to view the alligators. Keep a keen eye on the little ones.

Families with teenagers will like: Bicycling the mostly level terrain on any of the numerous park trails.

Other travelers will like: Birders should visit in the winter to see thousands of migratory sandhill cranes. More birding opportunities include sightings of bald eagles, great horned owls, hawks and various songbirds. Equestrians will enjoy the multi-use Chacala Trail where a series of loop trails offers 6.5 miles of riding plus wildlife viewing that includes deer, bobcat and wild turkey.

Easy site seeing: Exhibits and an audio-visual presentation at the Visitor’s Center offer an easy introduction to the geography and wildlife at Paynes Prairie. A 50′ observation tower provides panoramic views.

Best hotel in the park: No hotels are located in the park but Gainesville, home to the University of Florida, offers a wide assortment of lodging.

Best campground in the park: The campsite near Lake Waube accommodates RV’s, trailers or tents for a camping fee of $18.00 plus tax per night, including water and electricity. Campers over 65 or those with 100% disabilities qualify for 50 per cent discount. From November thru February, park rangers lead Saturday night campfire programs.

Best months to visit for weather: Spring or autumn. Summers are hot and humid. Winter weather ranges from cool to cold but you’ll have the chance to see the thousands of sand-hill cranes that make Paynes Prairie their winter home.

Best months to visit to avoid crowds: Summer when most visitors hang out at Florida beaches due to the heat and humidity.

Nearest major cities: Orlando

More info can be found at the always helpful Florida State Parks site.

Related posts:

Cedar Key on the Nature Coast of Florida
Go Camping: Ocala National Forest in Central Florida
Review of Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed and Breakfast, Gainesville, FL

Photo courtesy of: Donna L. Hull

Review by Donna L. Hull, My Itchy Travel Feet, The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Travel