Eco-Lite: The Belize Zoo

*Lots of photos are at the end of this post, some of which are actually in focus!

OVERVIEW

From their websiteThe Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center was started in 1983, as a last ditch effort to provide a home for a collection of wild animals which had been used in making documentary films about tropical forests.

Shortly after the backyard “zoo” began, it was quickly realized that its Belizean visitors were unfamiliar with the different species of wildlife which shared their country. This very aspect fomented the commitment to develop the little zoo into a dynamic wildlife education center.

Today, The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center is settled upon 29 acres of tropical savanna and exhibits over 150 animals, representing over 45 species, all native to Belize. The zoo keeps animals which were orphaned, rescued, born at the zoo, rehabilitated animals, or sent to The Belize Zoo as donations from other zoological institutions.

I first became aware of the Belize Zoo by reading “The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman’s Fight to Save the World’s Most Beautiful Bird” about zoo owner Sharon Matola.  This book is a great read and available now in Kindle form (my affiliate link below)!

HOW DO YOU GET THERE?

Belize Zoo is easily reached by bus from Belize City, Belmopan or San Ignacio.  The Zoo is located at Mile 29 along the Western highway.  The bus drivers are used to dropping off and picking people up there.

It is approximately an hour’s drive from the main cruise-ship terminal at the tourism village and about an hour driving from the international airport following through Belize City and onto the western highway.

IMG_9057 IMG_9058

HOW MUCH IS IT?

Normal Daily Fees are $15.00 US for adults and $5.00 US for children (non-Belizean). Fees for Belizean adults and children are $5.00 BZ and $1.00 BZ respectively.

The cafe is very reasonably priced for snacks and drinks.

IMG_9059

HOW LONG SHOULD YOU SPEND THERE AND WHAT SHOULD YOU SEE?

The Belize Zoo is easily worth a couple of hours just to see all the gorgeous birds in very attractive aviaries and read the info-plaques on the exhibits.  I love how the zoo educates both Belizeans and tourists about how the birds and animals are part of their cultural heritage and should be protected and treasured!

IMG_9063

VALUE TO CONSERVATION

THE BELIZE HARPY EAGLE RESTORATION PROGRAM (BHERP)Sharon Matola
WORKING TO EMPOWER THE MESOAMERICA BIOLOGICAL CORRIDOR, MBC

You can support individual species by “adopting” an animal.

The scarlet macaw exhibit is designed to promote awareness of their need to keep their habitat free from destruction.

Conservation Camp is a great way for teenagers to experience the wild and learn more about how to preserve it.

WHERE TO STAY NEARBY ON POINTS

Hotel chains where points can be used are thin on the ground and covered in my general Belize post.  Getting to Belize with airline miles is much easier!

PHOTOS

I think we went the wrong way on some of the paths so some of the signs may be after the species in that case.  There are so many, I just did a bulk upload so enjoy!

IMG_9062 IMG_9061 IMG_9060 IMG_9064 IMG_9066 IMG_9067 IMG_9069 IMG_9071 IMG_9072 IMG_9074 IMG_9076 IMG_9077 IMG_9079 IMG_9080 IMG_9081 IMG_9082 IMG_9083 IMG_9084 IMG_9086 IMG_9087 IMG_9088 IMG_9090 IMG_9091 IMG_9092 IMG_9093 IMG_9095 IMG_9096 IMG_9098 IMG_9100 IMG_9102 IMG_9103 IMG_9104 IMG_9105 IMG_9106 IMG_9108 IMG_9109 IMG_9110 IMG_9111 IMG_9113 IMG_9115 IMG_9116 IMG_9117 IMG_9118 IMG_9120 IMG_9122 IMG_9123 IMG_9125 IMG_9127 IMG_9128 IMG_9129 IMG_9130 IMG_9131

 

Eco-Lite: Bloedel Conservatory, Vancouver, Canada

OVERVIEW

Bloedel Conservatory is a domed lush paradise located in Queen Elizabeth Park atop the City of Vancouver’s highest point. More than 100 free-flying exotic birds, 500 exotic plants and flowers, and koi fish thrive within its temperature-controlled environment.

Constructed through a very generous donation from Prentice Bloedel, Bloedel was dedicated at its opening in 1969 “to a better appreciation and understanding of the world of plants.”

Designated at heritage building, it is jointly operated by Vancouver Park Board and the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association. Together, these partners also operate VanDusen Botanical Garden.

HOW DO YOU GET THERE?

We made our visit during a layover after arriving on Air Canada and waiting for a red-eye to Houston enroute to Belize.  We used the Canada Line from the airport to King Edward Station and walked from there.   You can buy a Day Pass from the 7-11 in the domestic terminal for $9.75.  A DayPass is handy for tourists who want unrestricted travel within all three zones for the entire day or who will be taking several bus trips to different tourist locations throughout the day.  We also used it to go to the Waterfront after our visit, then to return to the airport.

Location of Bloedel Conservatory

HOW MUCH IS IT?

.

HOW LONG SHOULD YOU SPEND THERE AND WHAT SHOULD YOU SEE?

It’s not very large so we were only there for about 90 minutes.  I enjoyed sitting and watching the birds fly around and it is a great place to relax.  There are a lot of parrots including a few Macaws and the difficult-to-see Lineolated Parakeet (Barred Parakeet).

VALUE TO CONSERVATION

I couldn’t find any special programs to support conservation.  The main value here would be a chance to observe the birds up close and get familiar with them so you may spot them more easily in the wild.  It’s also a great place to take the family to get the kids interested in birds.

WHERE TO STAY NEARBY ON POINTS

Most people who are staying for one or more nights in Vancouver would probably prefer to stay near the Waterfront and use the train or bus to get to the Conservatory.  Here are a few suggestions:

SPG

Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre – 10,000 Starpoints

Westin Grand – 10,0000 Starpoints

Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Airport – 7,000 Starpoints

IHG REWARDS 

11 Properties ranging from 15,000-25,000 points.

HILTON HONORS

Hampton Inn & Suites – 40,000 points

Hampton Inn Vancouver Airport – 20,000 points

CLUB CARLSON

Park Inn & Suites – 38,000 points

Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport – 38,000 points

PHOTOS

IMG_8870 IMG_8871 IMG_8872 IMG_8875 IMG_8876 IMG_8879 IMG_8881 IMG_8882 IMG_8883 IMG_8885 IMG_8886 IMG_8888 IMG_8892 IMG_8895 IMG_8898 IMG_8904 IMG_8907 IMG_8909 IMG_8911 IMG_8915 IMG_8916 IMG_8918 IMG_8921 IMG_8926 IMG_8929 IMG_8936 IMG_8937 IMG_8939 IMG_8941 IMG_8943 IMG_8946 IMG_8951 IMG_8953 IMG_8955 IMG_8956 IMG_8958 IMG_8959 IMG_8960 IMG_8961 IMG_8963 IMG_8964 IMG_8966 IMG_8967 IMG_8968

Eco-Lite: Birds Of Eden, South Africa

BIRDS OF EDEN IS THE GARDEN ROUTE’S VERY OWN WORLD CLASS FREE FLIGHT BIRD SANCTUARY *

This is the most amazing walk-in aviary I have ever seen, I can’t even find the words to describe it!  Heaven on earth doesn’t do it justice.  I could have easily moved in here and pitched a tent!  Hundreds of birds fly freely in this man-made rainforest environment free from predators and fear of any kind.  What struck me most was how well the various species get along and I watched in amazement as turacos and conures shared fruit side by side.

The unique two hectare dome (the World’s largest) spans over a gorge of indigenous forest. The sanctuary has its own mysterious ruin, which incorporates a walk-behind waterfall. Another feature is its amphitheatre, which has the ability to seat over 200 visitors. Like Monkeyland, the popular primate sanctuary next-door, Birds of Eden boasts its own canopy walk, while shorter than the 128m bridge at Monkeyland, it hangs above the clouds. The decision to develop Birds of Eden stems from the need to create a safe environment in which to release a large collection of free-flight African birds, miniature monkeys and the sanctuary also enables bird owners to apply to release their pet birds into the sanctuary, after undergoing rehabilitation.

Birds of Eden can be reached by car from either Cape Town (long drive) or Port Elizabeth.  You can get to South Africa using airline miles.

BIRDS OF EDEN FACT SHEET

1. The area of the bird park is 2,3 hectare (23,000sq meters).

2. The structure comprises 27 masts of varying heights, between 34 meters and 2 meters.

3. While the tallest mast is only 34 meters high, the highest point of the dome above the ground is
50m as the canyon breaks away.

4. The masts are linked by a series of cables which are anchored to specially constructed
underground “plugs”, there are several 100 kilometres of cable used to create a grid of cable onto which, the bird mesh will rest.

5. The bird mesh has an area of 3,2 hectares and weighs 80 tonnes.

6 The sanctuary is the biggest single free flight aviary in the World.

7. Birds of Eden opened the 15th of December 2005 and can be contacted on info@birdsofeden.co.za

8. There are several special features about Birds of Eden;

• There is a walk behind waterfall

• The birds are in free flight – there are no cages.

• There is an amphitheatre, which can seat 200 people.

• The sanctuary is wheelchair friendly.

• There are 1,2kms of walkways of which 900m is elevated.

• 70% of the area of the dome encapsulates pristine indigenous forest.

• The main dam is bustling with koi fish.

• Birds of Eden incorporates several dams, the largest has an island lunch-deck with plenty of seating – light meals are served here.

• The snack bar and restaurant in Birds of Eden are both outsourced and comprises of 4 options for seating,

1) in the forest at the snack bar,
2) outside the forest near the snack bar
3) On the lunch-deck at the main dam
4) on the bank of the main dam.

• There are approximately 3,000 birds in the aviary, comprising over 220 species, note that these numbers increase constantly.

• The masts is made of wire mesh. It is painted green for a more natural ‘look’. 10 tons of paint (10,000 litres) was required to complete this paint job.

• The river running over the waterfall and through the length of the bird park (200m) is pumped back in a closed system. There is therefore no pollution of any water sources in the sanctuary.

For more information about Birds of Eden and details on how to get there, please visit their website.

* Originally published on our parent website Feathered And Free.

Join me on a wander through the magnificent Birds of Eden and enjoy my photos of these wonderful birds!

IMG_0289 IMG_0290 IMG_0291 IMG_0297 IMG_0302 IMG_0315 IMG_0326 IMG_0329 IMG_0339 IMG_0349 IMG_0352 IMG_0354 IMG_0355 IMG_0360 IMG_0364 IMG_0383 IMG_0390 IMG_0403 IMG_0404 IMG_0405 IMG_0407 IMG_0415 IMG_0416 IMG_0419 IMG_0423 IMG_0428 IMG_0442 IMG_0443 IMG_0444 IMG_0454 IMG_0455 IMG_0456 IMG_0458 IMG_0466 IMG_0469 IMG_0470 IMG_0471 IMG_0478 IMG_0490 IMG_0491 IMG_0501 IMG_0502 IMG_0504 IMG_0507 IMG_0511 IMG_0513 IMG_0518

Do plan on having a meal here but don’t be surprised if the birds invite themselves to your lunch!  It’s all part of the fun!

IMG_0519 IMG_0523 IMG_0524 IMG_0529 IMG_0533 IMG_0535 IMG_0537 IMG_0542 IMG_0545 IMG_0547 IMG_0548 IMG_0549 IMG_0551 IMG_0553 IMG_0558 IMG_0560

 

Eco-Lite: Rottnest Island, Western Australia

OVERVIEW

Rottnest Island is Perth’s premier Island destination and offers a smorgasbord of coastal activities including boating, fishing, swimming, surfing, diving and snorkelling so there is something to interest everyone in the family.  But for eco-tourists,  Rottnest Island is a haven for Western Australian flora and fauna. It is a protected A-Class Reserve which is home to many unusual animals and plants, particularly a small marsupial called the quokka (Setonix brachyurus). The quokka looks like a pint-sized kangaroo and is very popular with the tourists.  It is also home to many birds.  Coastal birds around Rottnest Island include the pied cormorant, osprey, pied oystercatcher, silver gulls, crested tern, fairy tern, bridled tern, rock parrot and reef heron.

Quokka

Detailed information is available on the Rottnest Island website.

HOW DO YOU GET THERE?

Coming from overseas, you can easily get to Australia using frequent flyer miles and base yourself in Perth.