And I’m not talking about Chicago winters but the new Ice Age exhibit at Brookfield Zoo. There are more that 30 life-sized animatronics on display and the exhibit, which will be open through October 30th, is free with a general admission ticket.
I suspect that, back in the day, the actual animals looked a lot scarier than the rather cuddly creatures that are meant to depict them. They appear more like something out of a Disney movie but then I suppose they didn’t want to scare the youngsters although, to be honest, not much seems to faze the toddlers of today. In fact, the parents were, in some instances, more enthusiastic about the exhibit than the kids.
OK, I know this is not what Ann-Christine had in mind for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week but if you really want to see an interesting take on the One Image/One Story theme you can do no better than visit her website. I already had a story to tell but it comes with rather more than a single image. The thing that I most wanted to see while we were staying in Duluth was one of the big cargo ships going under the historic aerial lift bridge. We checked the shipping schedule and hurried down to the harbor early in the morning on our second day in the hopes of catching the arrival of ‘American Integrity’. There had been a storm the night before so it wasn’t surprising that the ship was quite a bit behind schedule and we passed the time walking through Canal Park, up to the lighthouse and along the waterfront.
After a couple of hours, the Integrity appeared, a speck on the horizon, but having made its way towards the harbor, it slowed to a halt and remained tantalizingly at anchor, two miles out. We waited for what seemed like an age, and then, not knowing how long it planned on staying there, we decided to take a chance and go for lunch at a nearby restaurant. It must have been a fairly long lunch because by the time we got back to the bridge, the Integrity had already come in. To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement. Even the sight of a seagull doing a dance routine on the jetty failed to raise my spirits.
Since the bridge plays such an important part in what I was hoping to see, this would probably be a good time to say something about it. According to Wikipedia, it was originally built as a transporter bridge in 1905 and was converted to a vertical lift bridge in 1929. The bridge can be raised to its full height of 135ft in about a minute and is raised approximately 5,000 times per year. The American Society of Civil Engineers designated the bridge a National Historic Landmark in 2017.
Although I enjoyed the rest of our stay in Duluth, I couldn’t help ruminating on the fact that I’d missed my opportunity to see one of the big ships. On our final day, we took another look at the shipping schedule which showed that the Hon. James L. Oberstar was due to leave port that afternoon. Although we’d already seen the bridge being raised for several sight-seeing boats, this wasn’t exactly what I’d had in mind. But this was more like it!
With warning signals clanging, the bridge began its ascent as spectators hurried to watch the ship make its approach. As the Oberstar cleared the bridge, the ship sounded its horn, which was loud enough, but when the bridge horn sounded a reply it was absolutely ear-splitting. Long-short-short is known as the Captains Salute but on November 10th, the anniversary of the sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, the Lift Bridge exchanges a special salute, long-long-long-short-short, with the SS Arthur M. Anderson in honor of the Fitzgerald and her crew, all 29 of whom were lost. The Anderson was the last freighter to have contact with the Fitzgerald before it sank and was the first on scene to search for survivors.
I couldn’t help thinking about the Edmund Fitzgerald as I watched Oberstar churning out into the waters of Lake Superior. It’s difficult to imagine, on calm days, lake waters being rough enough to sink a ship of this size, but the Great Lakes can be treacherous. It must have been the sea-faring genes in me (both my grandfather and great-uncle were sailors in the early 1900’s) but I felt quite choked up as the Oberstar pulled away.
This week, Tina is looking for Interesting Architecture as the theme for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I have featured the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Bartlett, Illinois in previous posts but when I think of interesting architecture my mind automatically goes to this place and I can’t help but refer back to it. The Mandir is so unlike anything else that we see here in the Chicago area.
Apart from the beautiful design and incredible craftsmanship of the structure, it’s interesting to see how its appearance changes with the light, depending on the time of day or even year. There are moments when it looks mellow and mystical and at others, when the midday sun beats down on it and the air is sharp and clear, the white exterior is almost blinding.
Hand carved in India from Italian marble and Turkish limestone, the sculpted pieces, 40,000 in total, were then shipped to Bartlett where they were assembled on a 27-acre lot over a period of 16 months. The Mandir was officially inaugurated in 2004.
In 2004, the complex was awarded the Chicago Building Congress Merit Award and has been recognized by The American Institute of Architects as one of the 150 Great Places in Illinois. The Mandir, previously closed because of the COVID pandemic, has now reopened its doors to visitors.
Amy is asking us to choose a day in our week for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. The busiest day in my week spent visiting Duluth was when we took a train ride along the north shore, but first we decided to check out the city from a more lofty elevation. Enger Tower, perched high above Duluth on the scenic Skyline Parkway, gives a grand view of the surrounding area. This 80-foot tall, 5 story observation tower was built as a tribute to Norwegian businessman and philanthropist, Bert Enger, and was first dedicated by Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Martha of Norway in 1939. It has undergone some restoration work since then and it is now open to anyone willing to climb the stairs. I made it to the top and was rewarded with a panoramic view of the Twin Ports including the aerial lift bridge and further, towards North Shore.
At the foot of Enger Tower lies Enger Park and within that is a small Japanese Garden featuring a Peace Bell, the gift of Duluth’s sister city of Ohara-Isumi.
After our tour of Enger Park we drove back into the heart of the city to the historic Duluth Train Depot. The station was built in 1892 and served 7 different rail lines. It now houses the Lake Superior Railroad Museum which was opened in 1973. From here you can take a ride on one of the scenic railroad excursion trains, but more on that in a bit. First we checked out everything in the museum, inside the trains and out.
We ended our day with a 90-minute ride, with drinks and nibbles, in the observation car of the Duluth Zephyr, along the shoreline to just past the Glensheen Mansion. The trip, made at a sedate pace, gave plenty of opportunity to see the sights in comfort.
Some spooky characters Pulled Up A Seat and joined the party at our Fall Family Festival earlier this month. Everyone looks forward to this annual event as it’s one of the few times in the year that all the familly gets together and, as usual, our daughter and her husband made the party a special Halloween treat for young and old alike.
This week, Ann-Christine is looking at the Weird and Wonderful as a theme for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I guess I’ve seen some weird and wonderful things in my time and the following artwork could possibly qualify for Cee’s Photographing Public Art Challenge too. The first place that springs to mind is the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. The exterior and interior are decorated with crop art murals made from corn husks and other natural materials.
Closer to home, in Chicago’s Millennium Park, Anish Kapoor’s sculpture, officially titled Cloud Gate but more affectionately known as The Bean, could definitely be classified as weird and wonderful.
But the prize for the most weird and wonderful, from my perspective, has to go to House on the Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin. This place is truly awesome, with it’s fantastic and bizarre collections carefully displayed for maximum effect. Here is just a sample of what you might see there, from the Infinity Room to dolls on carousels.
This week, Patti is looking at Street Art as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I hope I will be forgiven for including a few pictures that do not pertain to street art but I thought it might be interesting to show why the art that I’ve chosen is so apt for the city of Duluth and Canal Park in particular. They also serve a further purpose as I’m linking them to two other photo challenges; Photographing Public Art and Pull Up a Seat.
According to Wikipedia, the Port of Duluth is the world’s farthest inland port accessible to oceangoing ships. As we walked up the street that leads to the massive aerial lift bridge (more on that in a future post) three paintings that were attached to a wall on one of the buildings caught my eye. Unfortunately, I cannot find the artist’s name but until that moment I hadn’t fully appreciated the part that shipping plays in this city. I quickly realized, however, that one of the main tourist attractions in Duluth is to check out the shipping schedule and Take a Seat in Canal Park in order to watch these vessels arrive and depart.
The second piece of artwork (top left) from just outside Canal Park is a sculpture entitled ‘Determined Mariner’ by artist Richard Salews.
This week, guest host, I. J. Khanewala, is looking at The Ordinary as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. Whilst walking round the track at our local gym last week, I couldn’t help thinking that this ordinary piece of exercise equipment bore a strong resemblance to the praying mantis in our garden, only on a much larger scale. Once the idea got into my head, it persisted until finally I had to stop and whip out the phone to take a picture.
This week, Tina is looking for things that have Seen Better Days for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. The first two images were captured in Marion, Illinois. Some parts of the city definitely looked like they’d seenbetter days, as had the sink in the jail at the Williamson County Illinois Historical Society Museum.
An old wheel outside the cabin and a rusty piece of farm equipment at Spring Valley Nature Center must have seen better days.
I took this picture on a whim as I was walking through a parking lot. It seemed like it might come in useful for a photo challenge, and it did.
Finally, a picture, taken recently at the Duluth Train Museum, of an engine that had probably seen better days.
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