101 Things v2 - 2009 to 2011,  Atlanta,  Family

Callaway Gardens

We spent December 22-23 at Callaway Gardens. For their wedding anniversary last year, my parents attended Callaway’s annual Fantasy in Lights. They enjoyed it so much, they insisted we take Luke. We asked them to come with us, and then we discovered that a two bedroom cabin was about the same price as two hotel rooms at the Lodge. That would give us a small kitchen, in case Luke didn’t eat much for dinner at the restaurant, and a living room to sit and chat in after Luke went to bed (oh, the irony, seeing as we were all in bed by 9:30!). We enjoyed an elegant dinner at the Lodge around 5:30, then headed out for our trolley ticket time window, which was 7-8 PM. Needless to say, on a moving bouncy trolley in the dark, it is difficult to get good photos. These were also taken through the plexiglass wind screen at the front of our cart, which adds to the distortion. Still, it gives you an idea of what they had.

The Nutcracker was probably 8-ish feet tall, and the wreath was large enough for us to quite literally drive through. Everyone’s favorite part, though, was too difficult to photograph well. Mom calls it the Enchanted Forest; Luke calls it the light jungle. 🙂 You’ll just have to see it for yourself.

Luke was very impressed and enjoyed it immensely, until we got to the back half where there were no lights to see. At that point, he realized that it was dark and late and cold, and he got terribly grumpy. There is a little village where the trolleys pick up and drop off, and we had promised him a snack. He asked for M&Ms, which were clearly listed on the menu, but they were out of them. He did settle for a Twix instead. DH and Nana got hot chocolate, and I was perfectly happy with my funnel cake, though the wind did make it a bit messy, blowing all of the powdered sugar around. We had Luke tucked into bed around 9, and as I mentioned previously, we were in bed by 9:30.

Thursday morning, we had an excellent breakfast buffet back at the Lodge, followed by a trip to the Butterfly Center. Please sit back and enjoy the pictures! I think we had four different cameras going. When you first enter, they had all sorts of cocoons up in the glass cabinets. Several butterflies were either just hatched or in the process of hatching, and as you can see, there were plenty of others waiting. Luke was absolutely fascinated!

After that, we entered the glass doors to a world of wonder. It was warm in there, bordering on hot, and lusciously humid (the dryness is my least favorite thing about winter). Butterflies were everywhere!

Wait, why would they put a butterfly drawing covering the words on this sign?

They wouldn’t! It was a real butterfly sitting right in the center.

I like the photo below for scale. Those are just regular plain old orange slices, about 3 inches (8cm) in diameter. The wings on that butterfly were about the size of my hand!

I’m glad I didn’t delete this picture when I took it. Someone walked by and spooked them, so they flew off. I was upset at first, but I think I’m the only one of us who got an “in flight” photo that day.

They had beautiful plants in the butterfly habitat, including some unusual flowers I had never seen. No idea what they are, but they sure are pretty!

Okay, so I snuck a couple more butterflies in there! There were also a couple of water features, including a large waterfall, koi pond, and these two fountains, photographed by my parents:

I *love* this picture I took of my parents! And while not the clearest photo of Luke, I still love this one my dad took of him.

And of course, there’s always the artistic debate. Do you go for color and composition (and very nice depth of field)?

Or do you want to see the butterfly close up?

I feel like the eye doctor: which is better, 1 or 2?

I guess it depends on what you are after. Oh, and this brown butterfly with lots of “eyes” on the wings (which is different from the ones with a single large eye in the photo with the oranges)? It looks like this with its wings open. Who knew?!

Even Luke took a few pictures. None of his really turned out (he wouldn’t wait for it to focus, or would move the camera at the last minute), but he still had fun doing it. Mom got a good shot of the butterfly he was trying to photograph in this picture.

And these two butterflies stayed still for quite a while. We all took a crack at photographing them, but I think Dad’s shots turned out the best. These two shots also do a good job of capturing the texture of the bodies and wings, which is so very hard to photograph. You really just have to see them in person to truly appreciate them.

It was a most excellent overnight trip, and we all really enjoyed it.

Currently feeling: beautiful

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