Category Archives: Exploring

Getting Caught in a Small Storm While Taking Pictures

A year ago I was able to wonder around in a nearby forest taking in wildlife. You can read about it here if you would like. There have not been as many opportunities to get out with my camera this spring but recently I did get to spend some time taking in the ever greening forest in search on new life. On this particular outing my goal was to see if a mother coyote had taken up residence in a familiar spot to raise her little ones again and to find out if Eagles had once again laid eggs in their nest from last year.

Up in the tree

While slowly making my way in the woods attempting to make as little noise as possible I heard a low growling sound coming from nearby. Scanning the area I saw a head hanging out of a hole in the tree. Watching for a minute or two I noticed this raccoon ever so gently resting its head in this hole looking exhausted from the day.

A passing deer in the dark forest

Enjoying this raccoon for a short time I heard a noise in leaves up the hill from me but couldn’t see what was making the noise. Shortly after a little deer made its way near me but hadn’t noticed me yet. Fortunately I was standing on a log right next to another tree so there was no shuffling of leaves to slowly turn to watch it. As I began to rotate, the deer spotted my movement causing us both to stop immediately. It was so dark in the woods that taking pictures of moving animals was a challenge and I was in a poor position to steady my camera so all I could manage was a few blurry shots and it was gone. This was ok because I wanted to focus more on the raccoon.

A tired mother raccoon

Once the deer had disappeared I hopped onto another fallen tree nearby trying to keep the noise down as I moved closer to this hollow tree being used for a home. Once on this tree I quietly removed my backpack and took out the tripod in order to steady my camera in hopes of getting sharper photos. While doing this out pops a bunch of tiny heads trying to figure out what I was doing. Now I understand why this larger raccoon appears to be so tired as to be almost lifeless. It was a mother with several little ones to tend to.

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Almost settled in with my backpack and tripod, there was another rustling in the leaves near where the first noise came from but this time it sounded slightly different. I quickly frozen, standing on this log trying to look for movement and then I heard a sound – a turkey. Wow I’ve never had turkeys walk up to me. I always seem to come up on them and scare them away before getting a decent picture. Now what do I do? In order for me to get to cover so they wouldn’t recognize me I would have to move significantly. I decided to concentrate on these baby raccoons but tried to remain steady as to not disrupt the turkeys too much. They did eventually move on away from me so I could once again focus on these little critters right in front of me.

The whole raccoon family

Now I was able to get the camera set up on the tripod and sit comfortably on the log I was just standing on and shoot away as this family would pop in and out of this larger hole in the tree. Enjoying my time watching these little fury creatures I heard another noise off in the distance. It sounded like thunder! I didn’t think there was really any storms in the area so I dismissed it as possibly an airplane overhead or something. Than I heard it again with a much longer rumble. That had to be thunder so I pulled out my phone all while being watched and check the radar. Now what should I do? I can pack up and try and get out of hear or wait it out since it appeared I was on the edge and may only get a little rain. Waiting it out seemed like the better idea as I could see sun near the horizon so this couldn’t last very long. Back to taking pictures of the raccoons.

Approaching storm

While sitting there defying the weather, the thunder got closer and more numerous causing me to question my decisions to stay. Finally when it was almost overhead I decided it was time to pack up and leave. It must have been the right decision as the raccoons had all retreated back into their tree as well. Getting out to the edge of the woods I could see the storm which appeared to have just passed overhead. Now the wind was picking up at my back so the approaching cold front must have just came through. Do I go back to the raccoons or continue on to the eagles nest or keep going towards the car? My answer came in the form what sounded like a strong wind gust. But it wasn’t wind. I new my time was up and my choice now was to seek shelter among a clump of large maple trees just as heavy rains began pounding down. After a short downpour I decided to continue to the car and enjoyed watching the sun set behind this small spring storm. Definitely worth getting wet for.

A beautiful sunset as the storm passes

Horses in Kentucky

This spring we had the opportunity to visit Western Kentucky which is known well for making Bourbon and horses. In a previous post I wrote about making bourbon so on this weekend of the Kentucky Derby I thought it appropriate to write about horses. One morning we stopped at a horse breeding farm in Lexington where we were treated to some very young horses which they call foals.

A mother and her foal

In the photo above, this young foal was about 3 months old in a stall with its mother. It’s really amazing to see this young horse as it continues to learn what life is all about. I could have stayed and photographed this little horse for hours and maybe even all day. Surprisingly this little horse already had a halter on which I never really thought about. Kind of like a new puppy where a collar is often times put on early in their life so they get use to it.

Hitting the trail

What is a horse adventure without actually getting on one. A short drive away, near Mammoth Cave, we found a farm offering trail rides to take advantage of through this beautiful landscape. While riding one of these horses you can feel just how powerful they are as they traverse up and down hills along with the uniqueness of each horse. Even on a hour trail ride you can see each one has a different personality which is kind of fun to watch.

Feeding mom while the newborn foal observes from behind

Seeing a 3 month old foal was really exciting but there was another treat for us at this horse breeding farm. In the photo above we’re feeding this thoroughbred carrots but behind it you can barely see a newborn foal. It was born almost 12 hours before this and was still a little wobbly on it’s feet as it tried to walk around in its stall. Such a treat!

Churchill Downs

What is a trip to Western Kentucky exploring horses without stopping at Churchill Downs? There is a museum here that displays the history of the Kentucky Derby over the last century which is quite interesting. Along with the museum there are tours providing views of different parts of this horse track. As you go through each area you can almost feel the excitement and pageantry of the Kentucky Derby. Now when watching this on TV it brings a different perspective. It’s much more personal with increased interest.

The track at Churchill Downs.

 

The Making of Kentucky Bourbon

Recently while on Spring Break our family headed to Western Kentucky to visit friends. During that visit we took some time to visit Jim Beam, one of the several bourbon distilleries in the area to learn how this type of whiskey is made. Their tour is quite interesting and informative making it a fun way to spend a couple of hours in a very nice facility.

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In order for a whiskey to be a bourbon it has to meet a couple of requirements. The first is that it is made entirely from grains with at least 51% coming from corn. These grains are mixed together and added to yeast creating a mash which is fermented for several days. Below is a photo of that mash which gets to be quite sour after a couple of days. If desired this mash can be tasted on the tour to confirm its sour taste.

Grains fermenting for several days called mash

After the mash is fermented for a long enough period of time it is then distilled separating out the alcohol in to a clear liquid which is called a white wine. At this distillery the process is completed twice to get as pure of a white wine as possible. This white wine is also called moonshine by many people.

Mulitple distillations create moonshine which is barreled and aged

Once enough of this moonshine is created and collected it is ready for aging. This is another requirement for making bourbon. Aging inside a new burned oak container. It is this burned oak that is responsible for the color of bourbon and gives it additional and unique flavoring. Below you can see how clear this moonshine is before it is filled into an oak barrel where it is stored for years before being bottled. The contracting and expanding of this oak allows moisture in and out during different times of the year altering the alcohol content and flavor of the finished bourbon.

Putting the distilled moonshine into a barrel for aging

After the appropriate amount of time aging in a burned oak barrel it is opened and tested. If more aging is required it will be re-corked and put back into storage for more time. Each barrel has a unique alcohol content as each one ages a little differently which can not be determined until it is opened. In order to get a consistent alcohol content in each bottle, multiple barrels are added together and water is used to reduce how strong each bourbon is.

Opening a barrel of Bourbon and testing it

I was amazed that in this day with all of the technology we have, wood barrels are still used and “sealed” with a wooden cork much like it has been done for centuries. It felt as though we were going back in time with these barrels everywhere. I’ve seen whiskey barrels available for planting into which I always thought were manufactured just for this purpose. Now I realize how many barrels are used in the production of different alcohols needing a life after being used in distilleries.

Corked and aging

Once the bourbon is processed so it is ready to drink it is mechanically bottled, sealed, and labeled ready to ship to distributers and retail stores for consumption by you and me. This whole bottling process is amazing in how quick and efficient it is as many manufacturing processes often are.

Filling bottles with Bourbon

We were able to tag a specific bottle and watch as it went through this bottling process making it more personal and interesting. Another requirement for bourbon is to be created in the United States of which about 95% is manufactured in Kentucky as that is where it was first discovered and made. This continues today.

Sealing and labeling each bottle

What is a tour without being able to try the product you just learned about? They have a tasting room, as there are more types of bourbon than I would have ever guessed, to see which ones you prefer. There is another area by this tasting room to order a drink or two to further try different combinations if so desired completing this very interesting and entertaining tour of a Jim Beam distillery.

Sampling the end product

Preparing thousands of bottles of Bourbon

Springtime Waterfalls

While away on Spring Break we stopped at Clifty Falls State Park in Indiana for a beautiful spring afternoon. This waterfall is on Clifty Creek which flows in to the nearby Ohio River. With sun abound and temperatures reaching into the upper 60’s Fahrenheit, it was about perfect for a hike through this beautiful state park just beginning to awaken after a long winter rest.

Clifty Falls

With ample rains providing plenty of water to glide over these limestone edges, Clifty Falls provided an amazing landscape to share with family and friends. Add to that ephemeral flowers blooming all over the forest floor and redbud trees beginning to explode with little pink flowers in the warmth of the sun overhead and it becomes almost a day many dream of on a cold winters night. Unfortunately for many people, visiting this state park in early spring does not even enter their list of possible adventures leaving these wonderful sights to those who seek out its early treasures.

Redbuds in full bloom

There are four waterfalls listed on the map for Clifty State Park however we were able to only see two of them in an afternoon providing nice incentives to return when the opportunity presents itself again. The many limestone stairs making up these waterfalls provides such a relaxing environment with their sights and sounds making the hikes to see them a worthwhile adventure.

The upper portion of Clifty Falls

 

Spring Waterfall

Signs of Spring

It seems way to early but the signs of spring continue to increase with each warming day. Every day that I’m fortunate to be able to go out into nearby woods I see spring making its way more and more. By the end of February the days have gotten noticably longer and temperatures are increasing. Most of our snow is gone and the ice on lakes and rivers disappears a little each week bringing open water and a place for migrating ducks to land.

Ice is melting away

One day last week I was out hiking when little white specs caught my eye. On closer inspection it was pussy willows beginning to emerge. This is about 2 to 3 weeks earlier than last year. I keep hoping for a late season snowstorm or two but with each passing week that potential gets further and further away. I know many people are happy about the warm days and they do make every day life easier. Still a reminder of living in Minnesota in early March would be nice.

Pussywillows emerging

Tucked away out of sight there is the occasion sign of spring such as Silver Maple trees beginning to bloom without attracting much attention along with brightly colored mushrooms sprouting from a damp log and moss becoming a lush green almost like a soft, thick carpet covering up a decomposing log. Animals are also beginning their spring rituals as they come out of hibernation while others prepare nests or dens for another year of new creatures to enter the world.

Birds are migrating North

In areas where the water is no longer covered by sheets of ice I see ducks, geese, and swans bobbing up and down as they find nourishment under the surface. This is just the beginning and March has a way of teasing spring weather and then reversing with a blast of winter stealing the motivation to venture outside until it all passes sometime in April. For now it’s fun to witness each new change as the landscape emerges from a long winter nap.

Silver Maple beginning to bloom

Ice Formations of a Waterfall

While exploring Tettegouche State Park on New Year’s weekend we hiked up to High Falls and became amazed at the many different ice formations surrounding this water fall. Just looking at this amazing water fall almost completely frozen is beautiful especially set in the winter wonderland of Northern Minnesota however closer examination of the different pieces that make up this scene makes it even more incredible.

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There are different shapes, colors, and sizes of the many different icicles near the falls. It’s interesting to imagine how these were formed such as in the photo above. Water flowing over the falls has a darker color so how were these created clear at first and then coated in snow or frost? Guessing at the answer I would say these were formed during a recent rain event which was followed colder temperatures and then the spray from the water fall coated them.

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This next picture has multiple colors of ice with a chimney allowing light from the sky to illuminate this natural sculpture. The darker ice which is tinted must have been created from water flowing over the falls but it could also be from water seeping through rocks picking up tannins and minerals causing the water to be tinted and freezing with dripping water from the recent rainfall. What was really interesting to me was the chimney. How was this created? Was there ice there originally that fell creating a hole or was the natural opening wide enough that it never had water running through it?

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While exploring further there were these icicles made from water freezing making two different icicles that merged together leaving open space between them for a portion. Also I found the pieces of horizontal ice attached to the vertical icicles quite interesting.

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This next picture is showing a zoomed out version of the vertical and horizontal icicles highlighting the horizontal ice. How do icicles get created horizontally? My best guess is going back in time to imagine these being formed over hours, days, and weeks. Initially the clear icicles were made from rainfall freezing. Next mist from the running water fall was strongly blowing towards these frozen icicles freezing almost on contact. So these could be made as a result of heavy rains mixed with strong winds after the rainfall but before the falls froze creating unique ice formations.

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This is one of my favorite perspectives looking up at numerous icicles appearing as they are going to fall right on top of you. On the day of this photo these were very secure so no concerns which was confirmed as we broke off one and it did not separate from the rock above easily. In this last picture below I found several different ice formations appearing as a stairway up the falls. Even though it looks like stairs I would never climb it without proper equipment knowing this is a water fall and water is still running underneath this ice making it more unpredictable.

Ice Steps going up the waterfall

Spur of the Moment New Years Trip

As I was finishing my day of work on New Years Eve day I began to look to the rest of the holiday weekend and wondered how to best celebrate the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017. One of the thoughts that kept running through my mind was a desire to enjoy winter. For the last couple of years I’ve grabbed the camera on New Years Day and went hiking at nearby parks. Unfortunately there wasn’t much in the way of good snow this year so began to explore different options for a winter wonderland to start another year.

The last sunset of 2016

Quickly I arrived at the idea of going to the North Shore of Minnesota. That should be far enough to find a snow covered landscape. While driving home I called the rest of the family and ran the idea past them to see if there was any interest beyond my own. Since it was very spontaneous it took a few moments to explain my ideas. Taking some time to digest this they soon determined it could be fun and phone calls were quickly made to take care of responsibilities at home for the next 24 hours as well as secure a place to stay.  Once I returned home from my last day of work for the year we all packed and gathered winter gear, loaded the car and hit the road for a short 2 hour drive to Duluth taking in the last sunset of 2016 along the way.

Enjoying hundreds of Goldeneye ducks

Our arrival in Duluth was met with slightly icy roads as they had just received some fresh snow that morning and a nighttime view of Lake Superior which remained mostly ice free to spite some very cold temperatures the week before. We quickly dropped off our stuff and headed for a favorite place to eat while in Duluth – Old Chicago. After celebrating the change of years it was off to bed. The next morning I awoke ahead of everyone else so decided I should grab the camera and hope for a beautiful sunrise over Lake Superior. Unfortunately, as you can see from the top photo, there was very little sun but there still was a great view as light increased on the morning. There was about a half dozen people out near the canal trying to do the same thing I was, photograph the first sunrise of 2017!

The upper frozen falls of Gooseberry Falls State Park

While the sun failed to make a bright, fiery appearance, several hundred Common Goldeneye ducks swam in the open waters of the Duluth Canal for anyone willing to be up early to enjoy. I’ve never seen this type of duck before so it was a nice treat to watch them for awhile before heading back to the room to gather up the rest of the family and continue north to Gooseberry Falls State Park. A short time later we pulled into the winter wonderland I was hoping for to bring in the new year. Surprisingly most of the waterfalls and river at this park were frozen over making for some beautiful natural ice sculptures covered in fluffy white snow. Not very many people take the time to explore these frozen falls so it was a nice treat to see them in an an unusual way.

The river is frozen over while Lake Superior remains open in the distance

After a couple of hours playing around in the snow and ice of Gooseberry we wanted to continue further north towards Tettegouche State Park. Fortunately this is not a long drive from where we were giving most of the afternoon at one of my favorite parks on the North Shore. Arriving a little while later we got out of the car, put on our winter gear – boots, hats, gloves, snow pants and began our excursion to the high falls of Tettegouche. Along this 1.5 mile trail we became enthralled with this winter landscape enveloping us all around. So peaceful and very few people around giving most of this quiet winter scene exclusively to us. I kept waiting to hear a wolf howl in the distance confirming our picture book arrival to Northern Minnesota but no such thing happened.

The low sun in the horizon shining through the tall trees

Plowing through the snow we arrived at our destination to find that this river and waterfall were also mostly frozen over allowing very different viewing perspectives than I’ve every witnessed before. Now we could walk almost right up to the falls and feel just how large it actually is while listening to the water run under thick walls of ice making us less certain about standing on what would be water during much of the year. A very serene moment looking over this tall wall of ice surrounded by mostly undisturbed snow.

Exploring the High Falls of Tettegouche State Park

As we examined the great ice wall all of the different formations started to jump out. Different clusters of icicles joined together creating an ice filled curtain concealing fast flowing water behind which was only visible in small iceless windows. Closer examination of the frozen water surrounding these falls showed how unique each one is. There were different colors, some were opaque while others almost crystal clear only interrupted by air bubbles frozen inside combined with various shapes. Many were frost covered while others where topped with snow. In other areas the ice formations looked as though they were creating a stairway to the top of the water falls although I would never climb it without proper equipment for fear of slipping into surrounding stone ledges.

Looking at some of the cool ice formations created from the water falls

As daylight began to soften we decided to take in the last bit of sunlight to return to the parking lot to avoid being stranded on icy staircases in the darkness. As the sun dipped lower into the horizon we could feel the cold seeping into our heavy layers of winter protection. Fortunately we had enough hand warmers to accommodate until we made it back to the warmth of the visitors center and our car for the journey back home.

Only a tiny portion of the river is still running free in Northern Minnesota

Another Lake Michigan Labor Day

A year ago I was visiting a friend in Michigan and decided to venture to a beach along Lake Michigan for the afternoon of Labor Day weekend. Surprisingly a year later I’m back doing the same thing only this time from the Illinois side. We met friends for Labor Day weekend in Chicago to explore some of the city sites.

Downtown Chicago

After taking in a drive-in movie, an American tradition that is unfortunately losing popularity, we arrived back at our hotel early the next morning. We awoke, grabbed some breakfast, and drove downtown somewhat sleep deprived to visit Shedds Aquarium and spend the afternoon on the beach before getting some authentic Chicago style pizza.  At least that was the plan in our sleep stupor.

Walking along the Chicago River

Before leaving the hotel we quick checked ticket information for the aquarium and found a $15 service fee added to each ticket to buy online for that day. Opting the stand in line for tickets we sped off towards downtown Chicago to the lake front and Shedds Aquarium. After some time wrestling with traffic we arrived at Soldier Field to park for the day and hiked the short distance to Shedds.

The view of downtown while waiting in line at Shedds

Arriving at the entrance we saw the line that has formed to gain entrance into this well known destination. Following that line further and further back we realized the hike was not quite over. Amazing how long of a line for entrance into an aquarium. I’ve never witnessed a wait like this for fish before. After almost three hours in line we made it to the ticket counter. While standing in line with the afternoon slipping by we discussed purchasing tickets for the next day as the time left in this day was likely not enough to see everything desired. Asking about this option we were informed they could not sell tickets for the next day but we could purchase them online for the same amount as long as we bought them before tomorrow.

Chicago's lake front heading towards Navy Pier

While grabbing a seat and some ice cream we decided to purchase tickets using our phones for the next day and what do you know? There was no $15 service fee. Had we only known that before today all of this waiting in line would have been avoided. Now that the aquarium was out of the plans for this day we opted to walk the Magnificent Mile and see the sights of downtown. From the aquarium we headed towards Navy Pier along the shore of Lake Michigan, turned at the famous Chicago River and headed a few blocks into downtown enjoying the riverfront development which is much improved from just a few years ago.

The famous Bean sculpture in Millennium Park

Once at Michigan Avenue we headed back towards the aquarium passing several street performers before stopping at Millennium Park to see the Bean and listen to some jazz in the amphitheater as there was a jazz festival taking place for the weekend. Every time I’ve looked over a picture of the famous Bean I’ve always thought is was kind of stupid. This polished metal bean sitting near the waterfront of downtown Chicago. I never really understood the interest in it. Seeing it in person I enjoyed watching all of these people excited over the different ways the Bean warps your reflection and the reflection of the city. This made it more interesting and fun to see and now I have a better appreciation for it. Fireworks from Navy Pier

Our day ended with a Chicago style pizza and the last fireworks show from Navy Pier for the summer. A beautiful night for fireworks but yet another late evening returning to the hotel for some much needed rest before waking early again the next day for another attempt and Shedds Aquarium.

Pacific White-sided Dolphins peaking over the railing

Armed with already purchased tickets we entered Shedds the next day without having to wait in line. If you’re ever planning on going and seeing everything in the aquarium, I highly recommend getting tickets online at least a day ahead of time. It could save a lot of time standing around viewing the city skyline. They have one of the best aquatic shows which include beluga whales and Pacific white-sided dolphins that I’ve seen. There was also a stingray petting tank which is seasonal. Overall we spent over 6 hours taking in the exhibits and shows enjoying many different displays.

Enjoying the beach on Lake Michigan near Adler Planatarium

This day ended with a stop at a nearby beach to take in the waves of Lake Michigan on a beautiful Chicago afternoon. Ohh, and for lunch it was Chicago style hotdogs. How could I forget about that? There is so much more to see but we had a nice time for a Lake Michigan Labor Day! Will there be another one next year?

 

Scott’s Bluff

Sounds like a high stakes card game doesn’t it. In this case it’s Scotts Bluff National Monument named after Hiram Scott who died here. While driving through the plains and fields of Nebraska for a significant time the landscape begins to become a little monotonous making any change stand out. In the panhandle of Nebraska lies these beautiful white bluffs. Kind of an entrance to the mountainous terrain of the Rocky Mountains.

The bluffs at Scotts Bluff National Monument

Our family was on our way to Colorado to explore these mountains and stopped near Scotts Bluff National Monument for the night so decided to learn more about the significance of this national park. It was a beautiful sunny Midwestern late afternoon with temperatures hovering around 90 degrees Fahrenheit and a gentle breeze to keep us cool.

There are 3 tunnels through the bluff taking you to the top.

The first stop was in the Visitor’s Center to pay our entrance fee and learn more about the significance of the area. In this place passed several important trails in history including the Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, California Trail, and a Pony Express route for a short time. While these are all significant pieces in United States history, the Oregon Trail was the portion that intrigued me the most. I don’t know if it’s simply because the first computer game I played was called Oregon Trail on an Apple computer or because of the historical significance of people migrating west on this long and difficult trail.

Sun moving closer to the horizon behind the bluffs

After this educational stop we progressed to the Summit Road leading to beautiful views on top of the bluffs. Once at the top we took about an hour to hike around the top looking at different views which enhanced all that was recently learned in the Visitor’s Center as well as just enjoying the landscape from this vantage point. As we finished taking in the sights on the bluff we decided a trip to check in at our hotel nearby and refresh after a long day of travel was in order along with dinner before returning to walk along the Oregon Trail as sunset engulfed the horizon.

Walking along the wagons of the Oregon Trail

As the air began to cool and the sun relented it’s midday power we returned to find the park shutting down for the day with only the parking lot left open to explore the Oregon Trail. A very humbling experience to walk along these wagons depicting the horse and ox drawn trains of people and all their belongings attempting to find a better life in the west. Difficult to imagine traveling about 20 miles a day and having to obtain food, water, and shelter each night for the many months it took to reach the western destinations. Certainly an evening such as this was one of the easier days to make this trip but these types of nights only lasted a few months. Not long enough to complete their journey.

Sunset over the Prairie

What a beautiful way to end another day along our journey west!

 

The Infamous Corn Palace.

On a recent road trip in the upper Midwest we had the privilege of staying in Mitchell, South Dakota and of course we had to see this years version of the Corn Palace. The theme was “Rock of Ages” and was almost complete at the time of our visit. On the front of the building there is a picture of a guitarist and Willie Nelson constructed out of pieces of grain. Moving around the building there is a mural of Elvis, a singer, piano, person playing guitar, singers, and dancers to finish off the adjacent wall.

The adjacent wall murals

Most of the lighter portions are created using corn cobs along with wheat stems bundled together and sorghum stems bundled together created to give a darker contrast all working together to form these giant pieces of art. This is a very time consuming and laborious process which they undertake every summer creating a new theme covering two sides of the building.

Area set up for creating the pieces of each mural

This marks the third time I’ve been to this popular attraction. The last time was about 6 years ago with my first visit occurring a little over 7 years ago on my first trip to South Dakota. One of the surprises for me this summer was the change in domes on top of the building. Previous domes where solid and painted yellow and green that I remember. I like the new ones better.

The new domes and balcony

More modern and interesting allowing light to play off of the metal creating some nice effects. We didn’t see it at night but from pictures I searched the Corn Palace lights up beautifully with the new metal domes. Another nice addition since I last visited was a second floor balcony allowing more light inside due to large windows and the ability to walk outside on a nice day such as the one we visited on.