Holmes Lake, Children’s Zoo and More

We’re still in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Maranatha project is over, and we are staying around for a couple of weeks. We now have time to explore the neighborhood… and just a short walk away is Holmes Lake. It’s really a great park, and while there it’s hard to believe you’re right in the middle of town.

Lots of folks use kayaks, canoes or little electric trolling motor propelled fishing boats to help rid the lake of fish.

We choose to just explore and try to find unique birds. The vibrant yellow American Goldfinch, striking black and white striped Killdeer, the impish little Dickcissel who is so good at hiding in plain sight… Highly energetic Barn Swallows are gorgeous and seen swooping around everywhere. Great color in Baltimore and Orchard Orioles. The Eastern Kingbird wearing his tuxedo, and his more flamboyant cousin, the Western Kingbird, wearing a bright yellow vest. There are also Mallards and Wood Ducks and Red Winged Blackbirds and Flickers and Thrushes and of course Blue Jays and Robins. You get the idea. So far we’ve found 24 species at Holmes Lake. You don’t get pictures of these birds because I haven’t been carrying around my real camera – and the iPhone isn’t good at bird pictures!

We’ve even spotted kids and grandkids at Holmes Lake! Here Becky teaches her kids the fine art of slingshot rockets. Note Peter’s rocket caught mid flight by iPhone!

We let Kevin and Becky take a short escape for a few days, to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary. (How can it be that long?!) We stayed in their house, and watched our Grandkids. Of course, one outing that is almost a requirement, is heading to the zoo. While Cherryl was helping her mom, I took the kids to the zoo, where we met some friends. Getting there pretty close to opening time confirmed that we weren’t the only ones hoping to zoop around that day… the picture doesn’t show how the line extended twice that long down the side of the parking lot.

Lots of kids helped count how many fish each penguin ate. A surprising number! (We left before they all finished)

Here is a replica of an Eagle’s nest – now inhabited by 5 kids.

You might have to look closely to see the turtle statue under all our team.

Alan, (father of two of those boys) commented how the kids don’t just go to the zoo for the animals – they just like the playgrounds. As we were driving to the zoo, I asked the kids what their favorite part was… and they just discussed which of the many playgrounds they liked the best. No mention of animals. So we get to the zoo, and proceed from one cool playground to the next, with maybe some accidental animal sightings in between.

This “Log Playground” was the one the grandkids had voted their favorite on the way to the zoo. Lots of logs and stumps to climb on. And a few concrete animals, to remind you that you’re at the zoo.

A walk-in cage lets you mingle with exotic birds up close… like this Scarlet Ibis and the Violet Turaco. The sign says “The Turaco is the only living thing in the world to have red feather color due to turacin, a natural copper-based pigment.” They could have said “Only bird in the world”, since they are mostly the ones with whatever colored feathers.

Anyway, the Only Living Thing in the World with turacin pigmented feathers seemed to want to be close to people! It flew at Alan, surprising both of them. Then flew at me, and looked to want to land on my beard. That felt like an attack, and was successfully repulsed. But I held out my arm, and Violet (we’re first name friends now) landed on my arm, amazing all in the aviary. I tried not to wince when she tried eating my fingers.

Peter seems to need to frown for pictures… the first one below he is unaware that a photo is being taken… but he noticed quickly.

Had to include this wonderfully fuzzy Red Panda.

Just down the street from their house is a small park with a big swing. I shot a 25 second video of grandkids on that swing. (Skip it if you get seasick)

Another day found us picnicking with cousins… where the girls were delighted to hold very tiny bunnies that someone was showing off, and Sandy and Casey tested out a new hammock.

Saturday night was crowned with a trip to Woodland Acres for vespers. Owned by the College View Church, and just a little over a half hour’s drive away, the site is peaceful and gorgeous. Casey led a worship talk, then a campfire let a few of us roast hot dogs or make the world’s best S’mores.

Not a bad way to end a week!

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