I was born in Upper Michigan and learned there, living on a small farm amidst a panorama of seasons, to appreciate all of the beauties of God's creation. It was there that I developed an interest in creative art and writing. As a retired R.N. I now find time to explore my creativity and share it with others. I hope that I can inspire others to become more aware of all the everyday gifts in nature that are all around us.

This past Friday, my friend and I decided to brave the cold preview of winter, and find our way to the tropical atmosphere of Como Conservatory, which is always a joy to visit.  Being a Friday, rather than a weekend day, we did not have to tread through crowds, yet there were several families and small groups enjoying their brief escape to the tropical rain forest and flower rooms at the conservatory.

The sunken garden always has a nice display with a seasonal variety of flowers.  Many people share their wedding vows in that beautiful setting, with flowers all around and in the center is that long pool with water lilies in it and the beautiful statue of a graceful women overlooking the water.  I have always loved that setting and think it quite a romantic setting for exchanging fond endearments.

When my children were very young, we lived in Roseville, and Como Park was a favorite place to while away the hours.  Of course, we enjoyed looking at all of the animals and the children always were enticed to the rides as the merry go round music floated across the air, calling them.  The conservatory, at that time , was not the focal point.  However now, my daughter, who is a lifelong supporter of the conservatory, and I love to visit the many new areas to enjoy, including the splendid gift shop, where proceeds benefit Como.  The gift shop has a variety of useful items including, cards, wind chimes, yard decor, tee shirts and a wide assortment of items pertaining to nature and the Como Conservatory.

The Tropical Rain Forest and Fern Room are both a pleasure to wander through and learn about different plants of the tropics.  If you look really hard, you may be lucky enough to spot Chloe, the sloth, who is perched in the limb of her favorite tree.  Sloths are very slow moving animals,  so she never moves very far from the many times we have seen her, in the same crook of the tree.

There is a nice cafeteria in the conservatory that offers a good choice of foods for the hungry visitor.  We have eaten there several times and always been satisfied.

Though the sun was shining, a cold wind shortened our tour of the zoo but we did enjoy some of the animals.  There was the giraffe baby,  two polar bears, who happened to be  male twins, that loved their new home , which was recently createdfor them.  They have a nice indoor place to rest on the carpet of hay and two ares of water where they can swim and drink. The zebras, arctic fox, apes and monkeys were also good to see as they leisurely went about their day, in very clean quarters.  The zoo is very well maintained and I actually prefer Como Zoo to the Minnesota Zoo, for all that it offers and the proximity to St. Paul and surrounding area.  It also houses that  big and beautiful big carousel in a special building.  The walking trails are many and in the summer there are so many lovely outdoor gardens to enjoy.  My favorite is the butterfly garden, which attracts a variety of those graceful and colorful butterflies.

All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon while the wintry winds were blowing outside.  We are so fortunate to have these beautiful areas near us to share with friends and family and they are basically free, but always welcome donations.