Tag Archives: Lauritzen Gardens

A Christmas Memory in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE

21 Jan
Childhood memories for some people in remembering putting together model trains with their fathers seen at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Christmas time is a time of joy and a story of birth or new beginning for people. Families share the season and the one day and make memories to last a lifetime if they are lucky. One memory some folk have told me is “building” model train sets with their fathers and running the tracks around the living room making folk a little cautious so they wouldn’t step wrong and end of run over by a slow going locomotive.

The Lauritzen Gardens is a place that seems to like trains. Another exhibit they have on the grounds is a joy in itself to see. And a small train set up in an indoor garden area was a delight to see how it traveled through the area.

Slow motion emphasizes a train passing by a walkway at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A train passes by a walkway at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always like the unexpected little surprises one finds when visiting places. And I’m certain the folk their enjoy giving them as they dream up something different each year to make it special and to keep patrons and guests returning.

Christmas time is special, and these little delights add to that memory of another year in which to remember.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A train passes by a walkway at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A trolley car makes its way in a floral exhibit at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Imaginative Christmas Decorations in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha

28 Dec
A Christmas tree made of poinsettias seen at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Driving about it’s easy to find Christmas light decorating on homes that takes one’s imagination to new heights. And with technology it’s easier to sync light strobing and music and it makes for quite the display. But somehow, in my humble mind, that pales in comparison to the tight spent creating a Christmas tree out of different colored poinsettias and placing them to somewhat replicate colored ornaments hanging on a tree. I was simply amazed.

A toy train makes it way around the “Christmas Tree” at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A decorative scene at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Gardens then attended small touches still using plants and adding a toy train one easily associates with the bygone days of such a scene at the base of a tree in a family’s home. The came the “stuffed” animals on the other side of the tree, still surrounded by beds of poinsettias. It was a nice break for this different kind of Christmas season and the effort the people at the Gardens put into creating the display. Affording people a chance to safely get out of the house and enjoy something this holiday season with other various precautions in place. And everyone attending at that time were courteous of others, giving space and wearing masks. A nice day outing amid a chaotic season of sorts.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

“Stuffed” animals guard the “Christmas” tree at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Hundreds or maybe more of poinsettias at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Christmas at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Play of Light in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

13 Oct
Enjoying the light play at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On matter where in Siouxland I find myself walking about, I enjoy the play of light on objects, scenes, or whatever. It’s the interconnectedness of lights and shadows that create images. Seen in only B&W it becomes more apparent, dramatic even. But that interplay creates images that draw attention. Beyond that though there needs to be something about the image that keeps a person’s viewing attention.

Enjoying the light play at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some images work better than others and one can only continue exploring and trying and creating and working to make images he/she believes have merit.

And then continue walking about and enjoying the moments and time spent exploring.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying the light play at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summer Days in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

27 Sep

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With Fall officially begun in Siouxland and elsewhere recently, summer days are over, even as warm summer-like weather continues to envelope the area. Cooler temps are predicted in the next couple of weeks, but until then, people will relish these last few days of summer warmth and what they will have to wait and enjoy again next year.

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Lauritzen Gardens was ablaze in colorful flowers late summer. Visitors could feast in the summer bouquets walking through the landscape. Light play made the the plants dazzle and come alive in a light breeze, dancing one final jig or waltz, knowing their blooms will fade. As will the light quality that a summer sun washes across the landscape, it’s brightness enhancing shapes and objects it touches and lingers into the final hours of a day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Summer’s Day in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

9 Sep

A summer’s day at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As summer days dwindle here in Siouxland and elsewhere, people try to enjoy its last few days of sunshine and heat. I myself look forward to fall as I enjoy cooler temperatures the change in light as well as nature’s colors. Labor Day is a marker of the change to come as schools generally are back into full swing, all things considered this year.

A summer’s day at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Lauritzen Gardens is a nice place to spend the time. Seeing the changing blooms from spring into summer. Because of travel time I can never arrive early enough to see the gardens in morning light. Not a fan of rising before the sun and driving distances just to make it happen. So I content myself with what I am able to do and the time of day I can do it in.

Enjoying a summer’s day at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And while we humans can relax and appreciate the bounty before us, other guests seem to like the place as well, although shy, they come popping around at times and stroll the gardens area too.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A turkey enjoys a summer’s day as well at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Light and Shadow in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

1 Sep

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Because of the current virus pandemic sometimes it seems that options for getting out and enjoying nature can be limiting in Siouxland and nearby. But that also means it is just a photographic challenge looking for images when returning to the same venue. The Laurtitzen Gardens in Omaha, NE now has timed entries so the flow of people is controlled and it doesn’t get overly crowded and people are asked to be careful and distance themselves when outside and mask up when inside.

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The garden is all about plants, flora and fauna, green ones and pretty blooming ones. A variety that spans the seasons coming to fruition as those seasons change. However, the settings in which the gardens are placed have their own unique look depending on who is looking.

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The challenge of seeing beyond all the color and greenery can seem daunting. A strong summer sun helps to create those shadows underneath a canopy of green. And maybe taking a little time to enjoy the light play that comes with photographing a stark or near stark image breaks the monotonous of shooting color which can bring its own joy.

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A nice change of pace even for a photographer can be a good thing, learning to “see” differently and creating different results than one might normally obtain. A little variety in life can be good. On hot days, moving slowly and just looking can be rewarding and help reduce some sweat.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying the Moments in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

2 Aug

A wooden figurine stands post at Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes while out and about in Siouxland it occurs to me that as I visit a place the visit may be more about moments than one entire experience. While visiting the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE I enjoy my time there seeing the plants and perfect gardens that are created and the bit of exercise in fresh air as I walk about the grounds. But it’s the individual moments of different scenes I take in that sometimes strike me the most.

A light and shade scene at Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Delicate appearing flowers on a plant at Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Each one is distinct and a perfect subject in and of itself. It’s easy to wander and forget time for the moment enjoying these sights and limited sounds of mostly birds chirpingand going about their business uninterested in the humans who are visiting their domain.

A lone flower on a pond at Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Flower adding color to a landscape at Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The gardens even in summer have places that allow a visitor to linger out of the sun, and provides informational pieces to help educate us of less than cursory knowledge of garden life.

Shady paths are always a welcome sight on a hot day at the Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An informational sign help visitors learn about the Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And fun pieces of art are a delight to view. Attending a number of outdoor art shows and festival viewing a vast number of sculptures and other items to put in one’s yard, mine would become more a “junk piece” refuge but here on these grounds and spaced out they add a viewing interest.

Fun art pieces dot the landscape at Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Friendly suggestions for visitors who might like to create their own special place at home can be found at Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even a reflection pool gave way to some mesmerizing moments watching the light play on the rocks in the pond as a light breeze moved the water about, creating an ongoing and ever changing dapples of the light dancing, fairy-like, giving the viewer a pause. Was it Tinker Bell of Peter Pan lore or a garden sprite of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

at Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Moments to enjoy and give space during days of uncertainty, and possibly a new reality. But there will always be a moment, maybe two, to just pause and enjoy and think about tomorrow, tomorrow.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Big Wheels in Siouxland, Union Pacific Train Engines, Omaha, NE

20 Jul

A display of the Union Pacific Big Boy 4023 and Engine 6900 on a hill near the Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Old trains are fascinating. The size alone bears some respect and the amount of steel in them seems somewhat unreal. South of Siouxland is a two-train exhibit near the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE. The display is dedicated to a couple of Union Pacific engines, one a Big Boy and the other a workhorse of a locomotive designed to pull tonnage across the country. When driving on I-80 through Omaha one only has to look up to see them looking down.

The Union Pacific plays a large part of the history of Omaha and a display of the Big Boy 4023 and Engine 6900 sits on a hill near the Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The display of the Union Pacific Big Boy 4023 and Engine 6900 on a hill near the Lauritzen Gardens botanical center overlooks I-80 freeway in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Union Pacific has history in Omaha as well as in Council Bluffs. I would imagine thousands of rail cars pass through this area weekly. There is no telling yearly. And these two engines sit proudly on a hill top looking down as passing motorists look up, admiring their size and what stories each might tell during their years of service.

The history of Engine 6900 which sits in a display on a hill near the Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The history of the Union Pacific Big Boy 4023 situated on a hill near the Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A display of the Union Pacific Big Boy 4023 and Engine 6900 on a hill near the Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A recurrent theme for railroad buffs must be that the trains never stop moving. Neither should the folk admiring them, although these days some added precautions are probably a good thing. And this exhibit is free and a chance to get up close and personal with history.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A display of the Union Pacific Big Boy 4023 and Engine 6900 on a hill near the Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Not yet the Garden Party in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

24 Jun

Timed reservations are required to visit the now reopened Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Life in Siouxland as elsewhere is beginning to return to some kind of normal. And for those folk I encountered visiting the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE recently, most don’t mind the slow reopening. The gardens now allow patrons and visitors to walk the grounds although indoor exhibits and some other areas are still sequestered and people are advised to wear masks, although it’s not necessary. And one must make reservations ahead of time to enter at a specified date and time.

Signs ask visitors and patrons to respect others space at the newly reopened Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Most visitors are wearing face masks at the reopened Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But it was nice to get out and enjoy the beauty of the gardens. Entry begins at 11 am and during the summer months it’s not an ideal time for photographing outdoor subjects due to the harsher light at that time, unless one wants to create light and shadow photographs. Previously the gardens opened around 9 am, when the summer light is a little more directional and not yet so harsh.

Visitors and patrons can once again see the blooming spectacle at the recently opened Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Shady paths are always a welcome sight on a hot day at the Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So it’s nice to be able to walk a shaded path and take a break from the sun overhead as the day also heats up. Living in the Midwest doesn’t mean one becomes used to heat and humidity, one just learns to mitigate the effects if possible.

Signage informs visitors and patrons about ongoing projects at the recently reopened Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors and patrons enjoy a day out at the recently reopened Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With the timed entries there were not too many folk wandering about the paths, and those who were put masks on when they encountered others along the way. And all remarked how nice it was to be able to enjoy the gardens again, closed since mid March, and spend some time just enjoying the beauty and quiet.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Recently reopened Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People enjoy a day out at the recently reopened Lauritzen Gardens botanical center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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©)

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