Longing for Trips in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

21 May

A coral reef Lego exhibit by Sean Kenney that took over 500 hours and 88,000 pieces to build seen at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Wednesday evening, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I imagine it will be sometime before the opportunity will allow certain places to reopen as the coronavirus is still prevalent in so many places. I enjoy visiting the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, as well as the Henry Doorly Zoo there. Spending part of a day wandering about and enjoying the moment. And I know those moments will come again, and try to remember such adages of patience being a virtue. When these places do reopen I am certain there will be many, many folk angling to get in. But it will still be nice to revisit places to relax and enjoy and think of other things.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A sea coral reef Lego exhibit by Sean Kenney that took over 500 hours and 88,000 pieces to build rises above a wall to entice visitors to check out at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Wednesday evening, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Nature in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

19 May

A Cooper’s Hawk around its nest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday, April 9, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spending time outdoors in Siouxland that is devoid of people has been a bit of a blessing in that I am seeing, or rather, paying more attention to nature around me when I am out. Not in a hurry to be anywhere, I sit and watch and have been pleasantly surprised.

A Cooper’s Hawk sits atop its nest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday, April 9, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I tend to go places early and generally during the week, avoiding crowds at nature preserves and parks for the most part, although sometimes it just doesn’t matter. When it’s all said and done, I hope people will appreciate what there is rather than what they no longer have or have missed. But knowing human nature, that’s unlikely. Animals use what they need and call it good. Humanity just isn’t built the same way.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Cooper’s Hawk around its nest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday, April 9, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Pause in Activities in Siouxland, Grandview Park, Sioux City

17 May

A stormy looking day creates contrast in Grandview Park in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, May 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The current pandemic, COVID-19 or the coronavirus as some prefer, has caused many people and places to hit the pause button here in Siouxland. For many activities. And like elsewhere, as various political bodies and people decide what time is right for folk to plunge back into “normalcy”, there will be many missing local events. Already high school graduations are being posted online and not held at the various schools with throngs of parents and friends cheering as students cross the finish line, er stage. It seems since May is already here, there will be few Memorial Day celebrations throughout the Siouxland region.

Fans enjoy the performance of The Dirty Heads playing at the 23rd annual Saturday in the Park music festival in Sioux City, Iowa, July 6, 2013.

A couple events I will miss seeing happen in Grandview Park in Sioux City. The Sioux City Municipal Band playing consecutive Sunday evening concerts and the perennial Saturday in the Park music festival. Both are free to those attending. SITP draws people from all over, as big name entertainers perform along with up and comers.

MELISSA ETHERIDGE performs during the 23rd annual Saturday in the Park music festival in Sioux City, Iowa, July 6, 2013.

 

MELISSA ETHERIDGE performs during the 23rd annual Saturday in the Park music festival in Sioux City, Iowa, July 6, 2013.

The park’s bandshell was built during the depression years by the Civilian Conservation Corps and has hosted many events. On a pleasant summer’s eve it is a nice place to sit and relax, even with a few hundred of your rowdy friends, depending on the program.

A family enjoys the Sioux City Municipal band as it plays a medley of songs at the Bandshell in Grandview Park in Sioux City, Iowa, Sunday July 5, 2015. (Photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

But keeping one’s distance at these events would be impossible, no almost about it.

The Sioux City Municipal band plays a medley of patriotic songs at the Bandshell in Grandview Park in Sioux City, Iowa, Sunday July 5, 2015. (Photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

And so the park will sit quiet for a few months. No music to enliven its environs or bring smiles and memories to those attending. It’s hard to imagine outdoor or indoor concerts happening any time soon. Outdoor would be safer, but there just isn’t enough space.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A quiet, tempest looking day in Grandview Park in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, May 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Nature in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

15 May

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Visitor Center Friday, May 8, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

During the coronavirus pandemic that is gripping the Siouxland region as well as the world really, I haven’t been venturing out as much around Siouxland except for visiting the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve. Like in most places, parks in the area are still open and the Nature Preserve has trails for people to walk about and blinds to bird watch.

A Northern Shoveler duck watches its friends at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 8, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And so I spend more time observing nature in the “wild” or as wild as it gets at Adams. Recently I was pleasantly surprised to find a couple pair of Canadian geese out one morning with their goslings in tow, swimming about Mud Lake and as the saying goes, “getting their feet wet”.

A Canadian goose and its goslings out for a swim at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 8, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Canadian geese and their goslings out for a swim at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 8, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

They were taking advantage I believe of the state of South Dakota’s governor’s newest order for relaxation of distancing and for life to getting back to normal. But then again, they may be oblivious to this blight that is affecting their human counterparts or taking pity on them, and showing off their family to us less fortunate and helping us enjoy our time and reconnecting with nature.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Heading home after a morning swim two Canadian parents and their goslings at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 8, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Venturing out of Siouxland, Lee Simmons Safari Park, Ashland, NE

13 May

Venturing out to the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Venturing out of Siouxland in recent weeks has not been totally difficult as in many places around the country, but still done with a little trepidation and awareness. On a weekend, which I don’t know what possessed me as opposed doing this during the week, I took a drive out west past Omaha, NE to visit the Lee Simmons Safari Park in Ashland, an offshoot of the Henry Doorly Zoo. It was a nice weekend and many other folk had the same idea. Normally at this park folk can park and stay and watch the animals there, but because of the coronavirus the park is currently only allowing drive through visitation.

Venturing out to the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors in vehicles snake their way past a herd of bison at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On my way out of the park I asked one of the attending park personnel how many people had visited and he responded he didn’t know the total, but roughly there were 400 vehicles every hour entering. I later told friends I had not seen this kind of bumper to bumper traffic since living in the Los Angeles area in the 1990’s. But still, people were patient and gracious, giving everyone a chance to stop and watch and photograph animals as we all snaked our way through the acreage.

Pelicans relax at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Venturing out to the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a variety of animals, although not as much as at the zoo proper. And on this particular day the animals seemed to cooperate and allow a look at a large number of people adjusting to a different way of spending leisure time.

Kids stick their head out of the top of a vehicle to better see animals at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Children poke their heads out of a sunroof and door window to better see the bison at a pond at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bald eagle in an aviary enclosure at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Parts of Nebraska are beginning a soft reopening. Time will tell how that is going. Venturing out is desirable, but staying healthy has a stronger pull to walking about and into who knows what. Maybe some road trips onto the backroads of Iowa and Nebraska, just to take a look and see what one should visit again when the coast is clear.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A pelican “waves” at visitors driving through  the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Animals roam free at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying a drive through at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Animals relax as people driver through the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Signage directs visitors to see the animals and find other places at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Venturing out in Siouxland as Temperatures rise, DeSoto

11 May

Getting out and enjoying oneself at the DeSoto National Wildlife, NE Saturday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It is nice that there are a few nature preserves in and around and nearby in Siouxland where one can venture out and safely respect other people’s space while all enjoying the outdoors at temperatures now permit. And getting watch nature in its own natural habitat is always a plus.

Enjoying nature at the DeSoto National Wildlife, NE Saturday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It still seems with the extended cool weather that is now slowly warming up that spring has taken a while to arrive and for the region to start showing some greenery to brighten up a brown and dismal looking landscape.

Spring arrival at the DeSoto National Wildlife, NE Saturday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And folk can begin wandering about and finding spots to pursue their own recreation and see what luck they have in catching some dinner. When I fished as a child, it was always feast or famine. And just glad I didn’t have to depend on what I caught when I got home for supper.

Getting out and enjoying oneself at the DeSoto National Wildlife, NE Saturday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And glad there was always one parent around to make certain the young ones were fed and tended too, just like in nature.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Eagle watching at the DeSoto National Wildlife, NE Saturday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Backyard Acrobatics in Siouxland, Sioux City

9 May

Sometimes simple things are best, even in Siouxland. Generations ago, now another century, people’s tastes for entertainment were probably much different. Then no internet, no TV, movies on cd’s, movie theatres and other musical venues that have populated the current landscape.

A common grackle looks for a reward through its acrobatics in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, April 11, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Watching a show titled “Wild Kingdom” while growing up one could always see nature entertaining viewers, in person or on the air because some took the time to film and share what is a natural occurrence but viewed by a larger number of people.

A common grackle looks for a reward through its acrobatics in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, April 11, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Animal antics are still popular, evident in the number of cat videos and other pet videos that people now share online.

A common grackle looks for a reward through its acrobatics in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, April 11, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But sometimes a private showing is just the ticket. No screens, in person, and an appreciation for the creatures that visit.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A common grackle looks for a reward through its acrobatics in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, April 11, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

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