Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Chicago area USO honors our troops

One of the functions of the USO is to support our troops and their families by providing recreational opportunities.  Robyn asked me to go along with her to take advantage of one of these opportunities, and to help with the girls since Dennis would be busy getting numerous tooth cavities filled today at their dentist.


That’s how we ended up at the Chicago Botanic Garden this morning.  For me, it took 2 1/2 hours of travel to get to Robyn’s, pack up the kids, and then get to the garden, but it was worth the time.  It’s a 385 acre living plant museum.  While admission to the garden is free, normally there is a $20 per car fee to park.  That fee was waved for active/retired military and their families today.  The fee for the special Model Railroad Garden and the tram tours were also waved today for registered military guests.

IMG_2878The bridge to enter the various gardens is draped with blooming plants.  Water plays a major role along the trails as well.


After crossing the bridge, the Crescent Garden appears on your right.


Lots of colorful blooming plants to temp the eye and nostrils along the way, especially if you are just discovering nature’s wonders.

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We slowly meandered our way down the paths stopping to visit some mallard ducks in a pond along the way.


There are quite a few sculptures throughout the gardens to enjoy, but the little ones weren’t very interested in those.  So, we made our way to the Model Railroad Garden that was sure to be more interesting for them.  That garden was so interesting that it would be well worth the additional fee should any of you ever visit here.  I will cover that in a following post.

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Along the way, we encountered fountains that got Avery’s attention right off, but Phoebe was a little unsure of standing on the ledge while her sister played with the bubbles.

By the time we finished that, it was time for lunch.  There is also a picnic area on the grounds, but all military families received a free box lunch today at one of the pavilions.  I chose the roasted vegetable with fresh mozzarella wrap for my lunch, and it was very tasty.  I’d never had one of those before.  There were also sandwiches, chips, drinks, and cookies for everyone.  While we ate, there was a program to thank our troops and their families which included a four man drum corps.  I enjoyed their cadences, but I’m afraid it scared the beejeebies out of the girls!


After lunch, we were finally able to meet up with my sister, Pam, and two of her grandkids near the Rose Garden.  It was so hot and humid today that I persuaded the kids to take off their shoes and enjoy the cool water surrounding one of the many fountains in the gardens.


We just scraped the surface today of what is available to enjoy at the Chicago Botanical Garden before it was obvious that the girls had had enough, and it was time to head for home for their naps.  Pam and I have made a date to return here on August 23 without our young charges.  I want to take the tram tour, visit the Japanese garden, and probably revisit the Railroad garden. 

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy


  1. Flower pictures were beau-ti-ful!!!!

  2. Judy,

    Lovely photos!

    I have a question for you. We have a single male mallard at our neighborhood park. I have been hoping that he would find a mate but knew that would probably never happen as he's been alone for months since losing two of his siblings - both males.

    Anyway, yesterday - a miracle occurred. He has a mate!!! (At first I thought it was a mirage and just a figment of my wishful thinking). I'm just so thrilled! I hope they can breed successfully.

    But, my question is, how did this happen? Did he fly to another local watering hole and "get lucky"? Or did she maybe find him? Is this unusual?

    Sorry to highjack your post but you are the most knowledgable birder I know. If you want to reply via PM: raines100@yahoo.com

    Thanks! Kim

  3. Judy, Please answer Kim's question in your blog so we can all see the answer. Was he a lucky duck or what? Would a single lady duck be just flying by.

  4. Sounds like a nice day--beautiful pictures. I'm glad that military families were honored in this way!

  5. What a beautiful place to visit! I can see why you would want to return to see more.

  6. Have always found Botanical Gardens a great place to visit. Just love all the sculptured landscaping, colorful flowers & sweet smells.

  7. what a great garden and the girls looked to be having a great time too...

  8. What a lovely garden for a special tribute. It reminds me of a gem of a place not far from where we live ... but I'm waiting to venture out when the heat and humidity leaves us for a while.

  9. I love doing something like this with small children in tow. Or perhaps with me in their tow? As I watch them discover, I rediscover through their eyes and relive the amazement through their excitement. It sounds like a perfectly wonderful day for all! And thank you for sharing it with us!

  10. What a beautiful place and and as usual your pictures were incredible. I especially loved the one of the girls looking at the flowers. That would be a good one to have framed.

  11. What a great place to add to our list of places to visit. Glad you were able to visit with the Grandgirls even if it means another trip back to take in the rest of the sights.

  12. Great place to visit and beautiful pictures!

  13. As a train lover I am looking forward to tomorrow's post.

  14. I enjoy that park, but hate the $20 parking fee. If I lived closer I would probably take some kind of public transportation.

  15. Love the pictures especially the new header!