Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Day Trip to Naples, Florida

After sitting here in North Fort Myers now for a month or more, we finally decided to check out the city of Naples, which is located about 60 miles south of us on the Gulf coast.  On television and in the newspaper we hear about events happening there, as well as advertisements about the Naples zoo.  Triple A Tour Book gives Naples art museum an excellent rating, so we chose that as our first stop. 
Pictured above is the Paley Gate which brought us into the courtyard of the Baker Museum.  Albert Paley has gold and silversmithing studios in Rochester, New York.  He is an artist renown for his portal gates.  The art museum currently has two wonderful traveling exhibitions.  We were quite fortunate to arrive a few minutes before the docent tour started.  Our docent had been an art teacher, and we could not have had a better guide.  We started in the gallery which features contemporary artists' self-portraits.  They ranged in theme from the mystical, intriguing, spiritual and ephemeral to the surreal.  One artist imposed the head of his friend Jackson Pollock on his self-portrait.   Each artist certainly has a different way of looking at himself or herself- a very interesting gallery!   The other exhibition's theme is wildlife in America, which contrasts pictures drawn of our western states from the mid 1800s to early 20th century.  Early pictures depict the Native American and herds of buffalo- more recent ones concentrate on cattle and cowboys.  What stands out in these pictures is the loss of what was once our untouched West.  Also in this gallery contemporary artists question what has happened to the extinction of a variety of wild flora and fauna through their pictures.
Speaking of flora and fauna, this seems a nice segue regarding our trip to the Naples Zoo and Caribbean Gardens.  Pictured above is a cotton top-tamarin.  Notice in the lower left corner is a flower blossom.  That is part of a tree which is growing inside the cage, which is one thing I like about that zoo.  The animals are living among a natural habitat of plants and trees.  This can also be seen at the Malaysian tiger enclosure.
There was a lot we enjoyed about this zoo, and the rest of our day in Naples.  I will write more on all of  that in my next postings, for now I will leave you with a picture of an orchid plant which we saw while at the zoo.

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