Friday, March 7, 2014

An afternoon in the Garden of Eden

I am a giddy sprite in the middle of a magical Cleveland!

The skies are blue, the snow is melting and it's a balmy 50 degrees today. Spring is almost here. Hallelujah! I know, you're tired of me talking about how dreadful the winter has been here in Cleveland. But sub-zero temperatures, five months (!!) of constant snow and the second-coldest winter ever in Northeast Ohio has made me look at flora and fauna differently.

I have a new appreciation for Mother Nature and her gorgeous colors and infinite variety. When God created humans, he placed us in the Garden of Eden for a reason. He knew flowers, greenery and sunshine is good for the soul. Real good.

We recently had a good-for-the-soul experience while exploring the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Founded in 1930 as the Garden Center of Greater Cleveland, it was the first such organization in an American city. The Botanical Garden covers 10 acres in the heart of Cleveland's University Circle and its masterpiece is the $50 million, 18,000-square foot Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse.   

The Glasshouse was our favorite part of the Botanical Garden. Divided into two different landscapes --  the spiny desert of Madagascar and the rainforest of Costa Rica -- its structure boasts 3,400 pieces of glass, 738,000 pounds of steel and features 350 species of exotic plants and 50 different types of butterflies, birds, reptiles and amphibians.

Caden found his favorite place: tucked underneath the waterfall.

When we stepped into the "Costa Rican" rainforest, the delicate orchids, blooming shrubs and tropical trees (including avocado, coffee, papaya and chocolate!) watered our very weary souls. Our eyes feasted on small bromeliads, fluttering butterflies and tiny jeweled birds darting through the air.

By the end of the afternoon, we felt different. Renewed. Refreshed. Recharged. 

Aren't we a happy bunch!

Can't you see it in our faces? :)

My favorite things in Cleveland.