I had heard of a place in Sarasota, Florida called the Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy and so I decided to check it out. It was pretty cool and I wrote an account of my adventure for you, but I was in a goofy mood that night......
I had long heard rumors of the Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy, but I had always held such fanciful tales as nothing more than mere superstition of the lower classes. When I then saw on my medium’s crystal ball (I believe those in the northern kingdoms call it an internet browser) that such a place in fact existed in the kingdom of Sarasota, I knew I had to see for myself if the other tales about it were also true.
Finally I arrived in front of a small building with a dolphin statue out front and took the second-to-last parking space at 1:24 according to my electronyc sundial. Opening the door and passing the threshold, I entered a room of fantastic magical creatures never before observed in the civilized world. There were stuffed cloth people and sculptures of coral, birdhouses, cats, and much more that was unidentifiable by me. There were paintings of all sizes and shapes hiding around every corner. A mysterious being soon greeted me and informed me of the Marietta grand law. First, I was told that under no circumstances was I to touch any object for any purpose, nor touch any other mortal such as myself without explicit permission. It seemed an impossible task, but I raised no objection as I feared greatly what unnatural powers this being might posses. Second, I was told that under no circumstances was I allowed to eat any object for any purpose, whether an object I found there or one I had brought in myself. I was greatly relieved that whatever else they might do to me there, at least I would not be on the menu. Still, I prayed to the spirits of art that the being could not sense my extremely edible nature. The being did grant that I was allowed to capture images with my electronyc eye, without which I would have no proof of the existence of such a magical place. (continue)
My son and I recently visited the Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach. We both
love nature and seeing manatees up close is a real treat. Manatees like warm water,
so when the gulf temperature drops below 68 degrees they come to seek a warm place
to wait out the cold. They survive by taking advantage of Tampa Electric's warm water
discharge canal next to the plant.
From the parking lot we took a few stairs (a ramp available too) to the boardwalk-like elevated viewing platform. Rounded manatee bodies filled the little bay like so many potatoes simmering in a pot. A tail flipper occasionally slapped the water as one of them made a shallow dive. Every few minutes one of them raised its snout for air. Mothers with babies half their size floated gently right under the viewing platform. On the day we went, fish that looked like small sharks were leaping out of the water from time to time. It is best to view the manatees at low tide, otherwise they may remain too deep to get a good look at them. Another interesting part of the center is the Tidal Walk. This extends out into the bay crossing a shoreline usually hidden in the mangrove thicket. Signs along the way identify plants and habitat. We saw pelicans, cormorants, and a solitary sandpiper foraging along the shore.
6990 Dickman Road, Apollo Beach, Florida
Written by: Lucy Noe
Trains might not be as useful as they once were, but they still hold a certain place in our collective imaginations in the same way old bookstores do for some people. The Florida Railroad Museum brings trains to life with their weekend train rides and other events. This year (2016) there will be opportunities to learn how to drive (operate? pilot? captain?) a train, as well as murder mystery dinner theater. On Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, there are no rides, but the gift shop and exhibits are open. This is when I went. At the time, only the interior of the sleeper car was open to the public while the others had to be viewed from the outside.
I was surprised how narrow the hallways were and how small the rooms. Most were just a sink, chair, and pull-down bed. The larger compartments had toilets while the smaller ones shared. Obviously the passenger trains of old didn’t cater to the claustrophobic or those more than a little heavy. I was also told that the windows were never meant to be opened, making me wonder how often they let the place air out between trips and how often they emptied the ashtrays.
Outdoors there are several cars exhibited. They do not let humans climb on them (insurance reasons), but do not stop the lizards. Picnic tables are provided under the canopy, though if one doesn’t mind sunburn and ants, one could always picnic in the grass I suppose. There is plenty of parking. The gift shop is full of every kind of shirt, hat, cup, mug, patch, pin, whistle (four-tone and five-tone), model, toy, and book even remotely train-related. Though the facility lacks the space for a lot of information-dense exhibits like the kind you might see at a more traditional museum, the books are rather informative.
12210 83rd street east, Parrish, Florida
Written by Daniel Noe, InkDoodler.com
Nestled unobtrusively among the other shops in the Home Depot/Beall’s plaza at the intersection of Cypress Avenue and SR 674 like a panther ready to pounce, Elite Donuts is one of the hidden treasures of Sun City Center. Somehow they have managed to survive in an age when sugar is thought unhealthy and a Dunkin’s lurks just a thousand feet away. I recently went to go check it out. Upon first entering, I was struck with the intense smell of donuts. This is always a good sign. I knew I was in the right place. The interior has a style a bit reminiscent of an oriental restaurant, with the trickling fountain, swirled metal works on the walls, and the small, decorated tree in the corner. There are a variety of seats and tables in the cozy dining room to choose from, allowing one to pick what suits them. On the menu can be found a variety of sandwiches and subs, and below it sits a full donut display, including cinnamon, cream, peanut, apple, and even cronuts – though being cross-shaped makes me wonder if the “cro” stands for cross or chromosome instead of croissant. It’s a quirky place, and that’s why we love it and the friendly staff.
3824 Sun City Center Boulevard, Sun City Center, Florida
Written by Daniel Noe, InkDoodler.com