Sunday, May 2, 2010

Botanical Gardens

It might seem weird to post pictures of the hotel that we stayed in this weekend.  But I was pretty impressed with our $69.00/night room at the Hampton Inn.  It was spacious and nicely appointed, and although I don't prefer down pillows, I slept ok the two nights we were there.

I LOVED that there was storage below the sink.  I hate that all my stuff always clutters up the sinks at the hotel.  Great idea to put in a couple shelves.

Today's main event was the Olbrich Botanical Gardens.  My aunt had mentioned them to us on Friday night during dinner and when we checked out the website, we saw that they were free!!  (we love free)  It was the best no money we ever spent.  This place was gorgeous.  And, coincidentally, I had run past it during Saturday's race, but it was just as I was hitting my lovely 10-mile wall, so I wasn't interested in the beauty to my left.

And it was beautiful.  Just take a look....

(that's a really big cottonwood tree)

(the turtles were enjoying the beautiful weather)

(the ducks decided to take a nap)

I love that the little bird was resourceful enough to get around the spikes designed to keep her from building her nest there.

After our tour of the outdoor garden, we paid our $1.00 each to take a walk throught the conservatory, which contained "almost 700 plants...flourishing in the tropical paradise--along a rushing waterfall, beside a flowing stream, draped over bamboo arbors and vining up towering palms.  These plants represent more than 80 plant families and almost 500 different species and cultivars."

The first thing that crossed our path, were these adorable little birdies.

Then, we soaked in the beauty around us.

Orange trees

Apple tree

Can you tell that the orchids were my favorite?

The plants are actually growing up through the air conditioning vents.

Tim's favorite....The Venus Flytrap

The next time you are in Madison, be sure to stop at the Botanical Gardens.  Oh, and it is right across from Lake Monona, so you can pack a picnic and enjoy the whole day.

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