Outdoor Wedding Venues in Louisville

An outdoor wedding in Louisville is a popular choice of couples during the warm weather in the spring and summer seasons. This wonderful city features several historic homes, outdoor gardens, courtyards, historic buildings and cultural centers for wedding receptions and wedding ceremonies. The following outdoor wedding venues in Louisville will help you choose from the finest that this beautiful city has to offer. Here’s a look at some of the popular ones:

For sophisticated outdoor weddings in Louisville with an historic appeal, you have a choice among the several historic homes here. There is the Brennan House which is a Victorian mansion located in the Louisville’s downtown district that features an outdoor garden area for wedding ceremonies or receptions. Another popular choice is the Thomas Edison Mansion. Built in the mid-19th century, this historic home features an outdoor courtyard, landscaped perennial gardens and a fountain for small wedding receptions.

Another famous and interesting outdoor venue is a garden. In a garden, you can easily prepare one of your own landscapes. You can also install tents if it is allowed. As an example, the Gardens of Ray Eden is open to weddings. It is a 15-acre venue situated in Eastern Jefferson County. This venue hosts ceremonies and receptions in a forested surrounding and features a beautiful lake area and a wide variety of garden areas.

Looking for a fun outdoor venue that is out of the ordinary? Consider one of the unique venues in the Louisville Zoo. The Louisville Zoological Garden is a 135-acre zoo, situated in the city’s Poplar Level neighborhood. The Oasis Festival Tent that overlooks the lush scenery of the adjacent Waterfowl Lake; The Gheens Room in the Islands Pavilion features a private view of our tropical forest aviary; The African Outpost features lush landscaping, authentic African art, tiki torches on the wrap-around deck; and the open-air Hillside Gazebo provides a gorgeous view overlooking Waterfowl Lake.

Planning your wedding ceremony takes a lot of care and thought. When choosing outdoor wedding venues in Louisville, you should make sure that you are familiar with the venue. Don’t rely solely on photos of the venue and must visit and see each of your prospect sites personally. It will also help greatly to decide if you have an idea of how many guest will you have and what type of wedding you want it will be so it will be easier to make a choice among the prospect sites.

Student Group Travel: WILD FLORIDA Is a Hidden Gem

When was the last time you saw an alligator in its natural habitat? Though the area has been around forever, WILD FLORIDA is the newest attraction in Central Florida and certainly the best way to get an authentic taste of what Florida has to offer. When you visit the Orlando area with your student group you will most often fill an itinerary with visits to the theme parks, dinner shows, water parks, putt-putt courses, go karts, and more. Just minutes away from the excitement, and not too far off the Florida Turnpike, is this 4,200 acre untouched nature preserve. WILD FLORIDA has so much to offer and is a true Florida experience which should definitely be included in your next student trip. Student travel to Orlando has just gotten better with our discovery of this hidden gem.

Upon arrival at WILD FLORIDA you will be greeted by Kramer, the Umbrella Cockatoo, who has a lot to say and loves attention. Your guide will escort you out to one of their beautiful airboats via their brand new 500 foot dock and prepare you for your tour of Cypress Lake, where you will have the opportunity to see Florida wildlife at its finest. There are an estimated 1,100 alligators of all shapes and sizes that can be found throughout the lake. There are also several native species of birds including Bald Eagles, American Coot, Great Blue Heron, Great White Egret, Limpkin, Moorhen, Osprey, Sandhill Crane, and, oftentimes, Wild Turkey. There are several other birds that make their way through the area as they migrate south for the winter. If you have never experienced an airboat ride, you will be amazed as you sail smoothly across the lake, sitting high over the water, with an amazing view of your natural surroundings. Your experience promises to be different every time as the season, temperature, time of day and many other factors will determine exactly what you will see.

When you return to the dock, you will have the chance to actually meet one of the inhabitants up close. Each airboat ride includes a hands-on live alligator demonstration, where you will even have the opportunity to take a photo, if you so choose. After your airboat ride you have a couple of options. You can stop for a quick bite at Pete & Peg’s Silver Platter Bar-B-Q, where they offer some of the finest Bar-B-Q you have ever tasted, or a sampling of Gator Tail, Frog Legs, or Sweet Potato Fries. Or, you can head into WILD FLORIDA’s very own Wildlife Park, one of the offerings that make this Florida gem so unique. When you enter the area you will pass by an aviary filled with exotic birds. You will see hoof stock such as Asian Water Buffalo, Emu, Zebra, White Tail Deer, Pygmy Goats, and Ankole-Watusi Cattle with horns that can reach up to 8 feet. There is a Gator Platform where you can see some of the largest alligators found in the state of Florida, as well as feed them. Soon you will also find a petting farm and a nature trail that will add to the entertainment value of this incredible attraction.

It may be challenging to convince a group of students to take time out of their day from the Orlando theme parks, but it will be well worth their time to give WILD FLORIDA a try. This is more than just an airboat ride… it’s a Florida experience.

Article Writers: Traveling This Summer? Here’s What to Shoot – Part 2

Granted, you’ve accepted and applied that shooting your own “art” to accompany your articles and add depth to your queries is an essential tool of the article writer. Perhaps you have a slant or two specifically in mind. But why not add even greater range to your efforts “on location” and explode your options and possibilities for writing? In part 1 of this two-part article, we looked at slants for shooting people pictures in a variety of ways. Here we’ll consider other options to help bolster your multi-media research package. Use these ideas to expand your photo essay shooting range.

Food

While you’re on assignment for goodness sake, don’t eat at the hotel restaurant everyday. Get out there and sample the local fare. Check out farmer’s markets and supermarkets too. Shoot food platters, local fruits and vegetables. I’m shamelessly notorious for taking photos of not only everything I eat, but shots of other people’s meals on occasion as well. If you don’t know the local foods chances are your readers won’t either. While you’re at it, get a few recipes too. Talk to the cook or chef. And yes Bunky, get their pictures. If you discretely record your conversation, these interviews can fuel personality pieces for trade and technical publications dealing with that locale or theme area. In Oaxaca, Mexico, I actually had people coming up asking me to photograph and interview them. It provided me with enough raw input, quotes and photos to write more than 20 articles and shorts from just that one trip.

Architecture

A variety of local architectural styles might make for a good photo shoot. Architectural, building supply and construction publications are potential markets. Flower-adorned porches, balconies and staircases, decorative plants, gardens, leaves and blooms can all add a splash of nature to your portfolio. Storefronts or displays of goods can be editor-pleasing shots too.

On a recent trip, I noticed that an overwhelming number of houses were made of wood, from the most expensive-looking ones to the shabbiest and poorest abodes. I started shooting examples of different types of wooden homes along with architectural details of stairs, doors, balconies and trim winding up with scores of interesting shots that included a two-story house designed to look like a boat. The resulting multi-media package can be milked from now on without the need to travel again to the exotic location I shot from.

Nature

Visit the zoo, aviaries, wildlife preserves, gardens and other promoted sites. Use a fresh eye and your inquiring mind to generate questions, elicit opinions and capture quotations. I almost never miss a chance to spend time in the local zoo. When I heard of an “Iguana Park” in Cali, the Salsa music capitol of Colombia, I couldn’t resist. From Ambato, Ecuador to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania I’ve ogled animals of all types with photo ops leading to numerous assignments on creatures from Ants to Iguanas to Three-toed Sloths. Features and shorts for children’s magazines, animal lover rags and educational pieces with an “on location” flare await you on your next trip or vacation.

Talk with curators, animal keepers, biologists, environmentalists, horticulturalists and gardeners, local green thumbs – anyone who could add depth to your proposed articles. Don’t forget to photograph everyone you can – preferably “in action”. Get their contact information to expand their quotes and bios if you need to later.

So article writers, if you are traveling this summer, by all means, take a camera or two along on your next trip or vacation as part of your article writing research equipment. Shoot high-resolution digital photos. Shoot color slides and some prints too. Photograph people, food, nature and architecture. Record those interviews and quotes to flesh out and deepen your resource pack materials. Offer editors a multi-media package that includes art and article text. You’ll find that your acceptance rate just might start changing – for the better.

Studying Nature in Mexico is an Unforgettable Adventure

After spending many vacations in Cancun, Mexico, I decided to take the plunge and move there to study the beautiful nature I’d admired in my previous trips. Having lived many years in the comfort and safety of American suburbia, it was time for some adventure. After learning Spanish, I went to the Yucatan and rented a home in suburban Playa del Carmen and hired myself a maid. Then, with help from hired guides and friends, I visited a variety of remote places in the Mexican jungles. It was an unforgettable experience to see a variety of animals in their natural habitats.

The ever-growing city of Playa del Carmen is an hour south of Cancun, and easily accessed by public buses. Both cities are on the Caribbean Sea, where coral reefs abound up and down the coastline. The beauty of pure white, limestone sand, and richly colored, turquoise water of the ocean drew me down there. Being a nature artist, I was fascinated by the plants and animals of the region. Armed with my cameras, drawing paper and pens, I got to work drawing and photographing bugs, birds, plants and anything else exotic. Soon, my artwork landed me a job as main illustrator for a large nature park called XCaret.

Whenever I had a drawing to deliver to my employer, I would board the employee bus for XCaret, and then walk down a long, back jungle path next to the park to the office. These walks fascinated me, due to the path was directly next to fenced enclosures for their zoo and aviary. Flamingoes, spider monkeys and a harpy eagle were animals I could see the best from the path. One time I made the mistake of giving one of the monkeys a cookie, only to see the other monkeys chase after him to steal it, trying to beat him up! I quickly got out a couple more cookies and gave the rest to them, to avoid the original monkey from getting hurt. They all sat there munching peacefully as I snuck off, hoping nobody saw.

In Mexico, you will see iguanas in nature frequently. As I walked down the nature path on my way to work, there was rustling in the big tree near me. I looked up only to see a large, 6 foot green iguana male with bright orange fringe on his back, in the canopy of the tree. He looked down at me. I remember people telling me that iguanas are good eating, taste like chicken, and that they are called “chicken of the tree”. I never found out if that was true or not, but then, I wasn’t about to go eating iguanas. Nope, I’m not that adventurous in my dining choices. Black iguanas can be seen usually sitting one per rock pile. Everywhere there were rocks, were male iguanas sunning themselves. Interesting creatures. In Chankanaab Park (on the island of Cozumel) there is a huge iguana that walks around public areas, oblivious to the humans that walk past it. It will bite if petted, the park employee told me. So, I took photos of it and kept my distance.

Another lizard that was interesting and plentiful, was Basiliscus basiliscus, the basilisk. There are a few varieties of basilisk to be found in Mexico. It can run on water if it gets scared enough, and I witnessed it after scaring one unintentionally. Later, I found a smaller one and drew it for my job, they have intense eyes, looking very serious. When I was finished drawing him, he ran upright into the jungle, glad to be free of the big, scary human with whom he’d spent a few hours with.

The jungles of Mexico are fascinating, but I would never recommend walking off your path into one. First off, the foliage is very dense. Second, there are critters in there that can hurt you if provoked, namely scorpions, snakes and spiders. Look, but don’t touch. I have seen all of these, and have paid people to remove them from my home. Scorpions will come after you if they are agitated. Back away quickly, wherever they cannot follow. The lighter colored ones, I was told, are more dangerous than the black ones. There are tarantulas in Mexico, and they are big but not aggressive, thank goodness. I had a red-kneed tarantula taken away from the front of my door once. My maid used to throw out other spiders she found inside, and laugh when I would be freaked out by them. “This? It’s harmless!” she’d tell me. Yuck. I took her word for it.

As for snakes, there are a few that are reason enough not to go walking alone in the jungle. First, there are huge boa constrictors. My ex-husband was called by the ladies next door, to remove a 6-foot boa out of their rental flat. They said it just slithered into the open back door. Lesson learned, never leave an open door to your house if you live close to the jungle. Then, there is a crimson colored snake the locals called Coralio. I don’t know its scientific name, but it was beautiful but deadly. A man who lived near me had a whole apartment full of snakes, and he showed them to me up close. Snakes are interesting but it pays to watch where you step, since my ex and I nearly stepped on one during an evening walk. There are other snakes to watch out for, but these are the kinds that we saw. All snakes will mind their own business if unprovoked, it seems, trouble seems to be when humans aren’t paying attention and step on one by mistake. So, it pays to watch where you walk.

Then there were the amazing birds. A gorgeous variety of colors, shapes and sizes, birds in Mexico are exotic and fascinating. My favorites were the toco toucan, motmot, currasows, Yucatan jay, cinnamon-colored cuckoo, and pileated woodpecker and violaceous trogon (a relative of the resplendent quetzal). They had a knack for showing themselves whenever I didn’t have my camera with me. I did draw and take notes of what I saw, then look them up later. There was a bird that was so colorful that locals called it, “siete colores” (seven colors). After looking it up, I identified it as a painted bunting. Another bird locals call “pecho amarillo”(yellow breast), otherwise known as the great kiskadee, used to sit outside my window and yell, “Eeee, Eeee!” at the top of his lungs. We used to call back at him, and he’d answer. Very funny bird.

In Playa del Carmen, there is an outdoor aviary, built into the jungle, in the Playacar section. I went in there and walked around, to see the different birds that usually are hidden by jungle. One bird took a fancy to me, a barred currasow who followed me everywhere. She was my feathered tour guide, and posed for photos freely. I finally got to see a chachalaca up close, a relative to a turkey, that is shy, loud (its call sounds like a rusty meat grinder), and travels in groups. Also, there were red ibis, more flamingos, egrets, and much more. The aviary is a must see if you visit Playacar.

Another interesting natural sector in the Yucatan were all the bugs. Insects of every kind, in great quantities. I could’ve done without all the mosquitoes, though, thank goodness for bug repellent. My favorites were the butterflies. Sometimes when driving down remote roads, we came across undulating masses of various butterfiles colored yellow, white or black. Monarch butterflies also migrate in large groups down to Mexico, I saw them once, too. The most beautiful butterfly I came across in the wild, in my opinion, was the morpho butterfly. It has large irridescent blue wings, wasn’t as common as other butterflies, and preferred the privacy of non-populated areas like fields and jungles. There was another butterfly that was big, brown and with its wings closed, was the size of a large dinner plate. It was called an owl butterfly, and flew slowly. I got really close to him and he seemed unafraid. He had patterns on his wings that were like numbers. Fascinating.

Beetles. Ahh, beetles..not very graceful, and apparently not all that bright, but endearing with their less than graceful antics. There were golden scarab beetles that used to fly into my window as I was working, frequently. They usually landed on their backs with their feet flailing helplessly in the air. Eventually the situation would rely on me turning them right-side up, some would then fly off, others would somehow end up on their backs again. It was odd, but I took the opportunity to draw these metallically colored insects, who looked as if they were gilded in brushed gold.

Grasshoppers and katydids are in large quantity in the jungles of the Yucatan. There are so many varieties of grasshoppers, I lost count. As for katydids. their bodies are gigantic, the size of a sparrow. I caught one, to draw him, then when I let him go off my balcony, he flew away in a straight path. His big, green body was visible for a very long time as he flapped off into the sunset, it was surreal.

Sea creatures and fish are plentiful in the Caribbean Sea. Though the reefs are endangered and show signs of damage, they are still beautiful. Every day, I’d snorkel in the low-traffic area near my home. It was serene to get to the beach early in the morning, pick up a few shells that washed up on shore, then make my spot on the beach. I’d snorkel until my body got cold, every day. There weren’t many large predators in the areas I swam in, due to the breakwalls that run up and down the coast, separating the shores from the deeper, ocean water. Once in awhile, a barracuda would find its way into the reef area, my, what big teeth they have. Out there, you can see dolphins playing in the waves made by large yachts or ferries. Bottle-nosed dolphins are very social creatures and seem unafraid of humans. Some of the most memorable smaller fish and creatures I saw were brittle starfish (they live under rocks and will climb off your hand quickly if you try to hold one), octopus, conch, sea turtles, moray eels, blue tangs and of course, those feisty damselfish. Though I haven’t gotten my scuba license, I went on a few professional scuba tours where the water was so shallow, snorkeling was possible. Tours are great for finding gorgeous coral gardens that aren’t visible to everyone else. The prettiest ones I saw were near the town of Puerto Morelos.

Other places I liked to explore were the Cenotes Azul, and Dos Ojos. Cenotes are brackish water natural bodies of water that the Mayan indians used to build their villages around. Now, they sit in the jungle and tourists enter them to go cave diving. Underneath the Yucatan is an elaborate network of caves that attract cave-divers from all over the world. Not me, I preferred just swimming in the crystal clear water in the mouth of the cenotes, and observing the fish I saw. One of the cenotes had fish that I’d seen in pet stores back in the US, swimming there naturally. Jack Dempsey fish and green sailfin mollies, along with a kind of livebearer fish I didn’t recognise. They were very colorful, and the Dempseys, being combative cichlids who like to pick on one another, had tattered fins. But, all the fish were very healthy. What a wonder it is to swim among them in their natural habitat. The nature around cenotes is interesting, too. I saw a basilisk run across the water, when I swam too close to him, and a duck that would dive for fish and stay underwater for a long time. Nature abounds in and around cenotes.

The nature of Mexico is plentiful and beautiful in all its forms. The tropical, hot climate brings out flora and fauna unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my home state of Ohio, or even in my current state of Florida. Living among the lush jungles, hearing jungle frogs sing at night and spending time with my wonderful Mexican co-workers, guides and friends changed my life. By being respectful of nature (look, don’t touch) and watching where you walk, you will see clouds of butterflies, brilliantly colored birds, and animals like coatimundis, agoutis and others normally only seen in zoos. My employer promoted the preservation of Mexico’s wildlife, and it was my honor doing artwork of all things natural for them. I miss walking the jungle path to their office weekly and seeing the zoo animals, as well as the wild ones in the trees. If you love nature, make sure to visit Mexico and go on tours to see the beauty of the wild, but with professionals who know where to take you. It will be an experience you will appreciate and remember forever.