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Allegheny County South Park Game Preserve

On Saturday we took a random adventure and ended up at the South Park Game Preserve. There we saw the Bison, Geese, Ducks, and Turkeys. It was a rainy day but we wanted to go on an adventure and check it out.

 Geese and ducklings!

The buildings could use some love. For a park intended for the betterment of the community, it really could use some love.

 The Buffalo were just fed so they were not out to their large pasture. These bison are pretty large for being in captivity. Usually they are thinner.

Not much to say but it was pretty cool. There were turkeys as well. I am surprised I did not take any shots of them. A few of them made it outside of the pen and were trailing their pen buddies along the perimeter of the fence. I just barely missed getting a photo of one with its wings spread out. Be sure to check out this cool little attraction. We have to go on a nicer day at some point. 


Phipps Conservatory Spring Flower Show Part II: The rest of the show and the Center for Sustainable Landscapes

We continue today on our journey through the Phipps Conservatory Spring Flower Show. The entire place is filled with this beautiful glasswork. Great attention is played to every little detail throughout the gardens. The place has such notoriety that it was designated as the place for the world's leaders to gather for dinner during the city's hosting of the G-20 Summit of World Leaders in 2009. 
A large Miniature train display is set up centrally in the complex. They change the theme pretty frequently. Now they have a dinosaurs theme. These dinos play tennis with their human counterparts and rip apart bridges. I am very surprised I did not take a full shot of the display. My preference is to take shots that show the whole picture as opposed to individual things. The attention to detail in the exhibits at the Conservatory is reflected in how I took my shots. The first picture here yet again seems to show how any post I have recently written about Pittsburgh has some sort of connection to trolleys :-) 
 It looks like the T-Rex is about to make a drive.
 Probably the only place in Pittsburgh where Bananas are able to grow.
 More beautiful glasswork
The Rainforest Room is currently themed towards the Indian rainforest, showing different cultural aspects from India. The highlighting of different cultures that have rainforests has really been a pretty cool thing Phipps has done.

 We are now heading out the back to the new Center for Sustainable Energy. First I had to take a shot of this different view of Oakland.
 Here you can see part of the new Center for Sustainable Landscapes. It is LEED certified and one of the greenest buildings on the planet. They harness wind, solar, and geothermal energy to sustain the complex and contribute to the grid. This 4 story addition is 100 percent sustainable and an example of what can be done when places are planned to run efficiently and with minimal impact to the surrounding area. 
Here is the vertical axis wind turbine. 
 Solar panels are placed all around on the rooftops.
 Here you can see the 19th century meet with the 21st century.
 Back to the Miniature train display where the dinos are portrayed in a 20th century setting
  The glass ceilings were really complemented by the spectacular skies.
The beautiful glass centerpiece in the Succulents Room
 My favorite of the succulents.
 Here the music theme of the Spring Flower Show really started to rock out
 The created this awesome little fountain with different brass instruments

 This room was the most spectacular of all of the special displays. They really outdid themselves this year. The flowers were stunning, placed beautifully, and the planning the organizers did really showed through. I highly recommend getting to Phipps anytime of the year, but especially right now for the Spring Flower Show.


The Beauty of Phipps Conservatory: Spring Flower Show Part I

Let me start by saying that one of my favorite places is Phipps Conservatory. There is nothing like walking through beautiful gardens. I love going here and to Longwood Gardens on the eastern side of the state. 
The entrance dome is a relatively recent addition. The complex has been sprawling quite a bit in recent years, with several additions opening in the last decade. The most recent addition, the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, was completed in this last year. We will look more in depth at that later. It is quite stunning and a great look at our present and future in energy.

On our way to Phipps we saw our first flowers for the season. The weather was truly spectacular on Saturday.

I consider Phipps to be the crossroads between two of the three great Oakland universities, the University of Pittsburgh, as depicted by the large Cathedral of Learning skyscraper just left of center, and Carnegie Mellon University, seen with the complex on the right. Oakland is such a wonderful center of learning between the universities, the Carnegie Museums and Library, the hospitals, and Phipps Conservatory that we are about to enter. Phipps takes my breath away every time I visit it. We have visited countless times but it is different every time between the changes they make for the seasons and the growth of the plants. 
The entryway is simply spectacular. Above is the dome from the outside and below is the view from inside and the spectacular glasswork centerpiece that hangs from the center. 
At the original entrance you can find this historic landmark plaque. Similar to the other Oakland buildings we have researched, this beautiful landmark dates back to the 1890s. 1893 to be exact. The Victorian era complex was given National Register of Historic Places status in 1976. In 1893 this beautiful complex was built by Henry Phipps, a man who dabbled in Real Estate and helped to create Carnegie Steel. He wanted to educate and entertain the folks of Pittsburgh through housing different plant species from around the globe such as Palms, Succulents, and others. His vision has lived on for over 120 years. He hired Lord and Burnham, a company from Buffalo, New York that was noted for their work on greenhouses, to create the elaborate and stunning steel and glass work structure.
The Spring Flower Show opened this weekend and boy was it amazing. There is nothing like the smell of freshly blooming Hyacinths
The Spring Flower Show's theme this year is Music.
The complex is a mix between the beauty of nature and the beauty of what people can create. You are constantly reminded of that with the beautiful steel and glass work that you see when you look up. I noticed that I took quite a few close up shots to things, which is not characteristic of me. I am always enamored by the little details of things when I am in this wonderful place.
Did I say the spring flowers were truly wonderful yet? My goodness. This room in particular smelled just wonderful.
 Brit sitting on the throne
No, this was not a "Back to the Future" type situation with Brit disappearing, panoramic shots do not work too well when you have moving subjects :-). This room was really pretty cool. 
Now I will inundate you with beautiful orchid shots!

 I love the way things look when the sun is at that angle. This structure is visually stunning in every way.
Tomorrow we will continue part two of our adventure through Phipps, including the new Center for Sustainable Landscapes.

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