Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Montgomery Zoo

Another beautiful day so we decided to take a nice long walk around the Montgomery Zoo. The first time we were here was about three years ago and we got here a little later in the afternoon but we still enjoyed it very much. Today we're there right about the time the doors opened, we had the place to ourselves.

All the animals were very active this morning, I think they were all waiting to be feed. They have a baby elephant, about three years old and we were watching it play with her mother and feeding on some hay. They were right by the pond and a turtle was sunning himself right on the bank of the pond about two feet away from the baby. All of a sudden the baby elephant swung her truck down and smacked the turtle into the pond, it was just like flicking a jelly bean off of a table with your finger, wanna know how many times a turtle will skip across a pond before sinking. It looked like three.

Then a Zebra and an Antelope started playing with each other, kind of bumping into each other and trying to push the other one around, then they got head to head and were trying to head butt each other. You could tell that they were just playing and not trying to hurt the any one, then they both took off chasing each other across the field and out of sight. We walked down to where the other zebra's were and were watching them when they decided it was time to exercise and took off like a zebra out of the jungle, they were like a herd of wild horse running around and scaring all the other animals in the compound.

We spent about 2 hours wandering around watching the animals and enjoying the weather, what really make this great is the Montgomery Zoo is part of our Zoo Membership so it was a freebee.

Here's a few pictures.

Just Playing around

Baby Buffalo , 2 years old

Eagle eye

Baby elephant, 3 tears old

Green eyed thing

Getting ready to head butt

Just a good lookin face

Heading for Chattanooga tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Back to downtown Montgomery.

We started at the Visitor's center where you can catch the trolley which will take you to any of the attractions in the downtown area. The driver took us on a winding tour of downtown pointing out the must sees, the better places to eat and giving us a history of Montgomery. It turns out that his mother and Rosa Parks were cousins and when he was a boy and Rosa Parks came back to visit from Detroit she would stay at their house, but he wasn't allowed to tell anybody that she was there so they could have a nice private visit. Also his father was a good friend of Dr King and they would meet for lunch once a week, during our twenty minute drive he kept us entertained with many stories of old Montgomery.

Our first stop was at the First White House of the Confederacy, it appears very small since it's right across the street from the State Capitol but back in its day it had to be magnificent. Admission is free, they give you a small booklet that describes everything in the house, so you just go on a self guided tour. Since this White house only served one president, everything is related to Jeff Davis and his family, everything in the house is original to the house and family.

After this we walked across the street to the State Capitol on Goat Hill, this is another self guided tour, no security, no metal detector just a nice lady that gives you a map of the building and tells you what to be sure and see. This was built to be the Capitol of the CSA, but since that didn't work out the way they planned it became the State capitol.

98 Feet straight up to the inside of the capitol dome.

After seeing the inside of the capitol building we walked around the grounds, there is at least ten statues of famous Alabamians, this was my favorite part of the statues, notice his right shoe.

There also some historic trees spread around the grounds.

We were only about a half mile from the visitors center so rather then waiting for the trolly we decided to walk and see some of the things that the driver had pointed out to us. First stop was for lunch at Chris's Hot Dogs, the oldest restaurant in Montgomery open it doors in 1917 and has had pretty much the same menu since they put this one up.

After a couple of world famous dogs we just wandered around, walking around downtown Montgomery is like taking a trip back through history.

Dexter Ave, Dr. Kings Church

Rosa Parks Park, downtown on the city square.

Addition to the Law Library, they left the original intact and are building the addition around and over top of the old one.

What do you do with old silo's on the riverfront, convert them into a neighborhood police station.

Part of the Boardwalk along the Alabama River.

History where ever you look.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Montgomery Alabama

Three weeks in the Gulf Shore area doing very little was enough for both of us, so today we hit the road and headed to Montgomery. We got there and set up early enough to get over to Martins Restaurant  in time for lunch. When we were here two years ago we found this place and had their famous fried chicken which was great and almost as good as their corn bread muffins (the best we've ever had, a beautiful golden crust all around and when you bite into them the centers just melt in your mouth). Well today we strayed and ordered something different, rather then the chicken, it was good but not memorable like the fried chicken was, so when we go back Wednesday it's going to be Fried Chicken for two.

After lunch we decided to make a few cemetery stops, yes we like exploring cemeteries, a habit I picked up from Cathy. Our first stop was at the grave of George C Wallace in Greenwood Cemetery, four time Governor of Alabama. If you look into Wallace history you're going to get pretty dizzy, In his first run for governor he was defeated in the primary by some one who was backed by the KKK, Wallace was endorsed by the NAACP. In his next attempt he turned pro-segregation declaring “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”. During the 60's he became known as one of the biggest opponents against Civil rights in the country, during the 70's he apologized to the Civil Rights leaders for his treatment of African-Americans and during his last term as Governor he appointed a record number of black Alabamians to government positions. Told you you'd get dizzy.

After this we headed over to Lincoln Cemetery to find somebody that everybody loves, Hank Williams. This one was easy since they have big signs pointing you right to it. While we were their a fellow showed up with an out of town friend and was showing her the grave, he told us that behind Martin Luther King's church this is the biggest tourist attraction for Montgomery. Hank and his wife’s graves are surrounded by Astor-tuft, he told us that they had to do this because everybody was stealing hand fulls of grass as souvenirs. Things were so bad that almost everything was stolen at one time or another and they had to rebuild the monument, bad enough that his son had this stone made up and placed there.

While were there we noticed an area that was filled with identical shaped stones, about twenty of them and all in French and just beyond that another 78 stones all marked with Royal Air Force. All the stones were dates 1942, it turns out these were all English and French pilots that came over here during the war to receive flight training and died in training accidents. They trained thousands of pilots here but over a hundred killed during one summer seems mighty high.

Thursday, February 3, 2011