My mom found this cool park about an hour from us in Sumter. This guy (a long time ago) bought up a bunch of swamp land, filled it in some, and created a beautiful park. There is still a big pond with giant Bald and Tupelo Cypress trees (my favorite), walking paths, a garden for the visually impaired, an "island" of camelia bushes, herons, ducks, geese, and representatives of all 8 species of Swans (who knew there were 8).
The black ones were our favorite - all of the swans are obviously mated pairs because each pair was always together, they rarely left each other and swam that far away. The black ones were cool because they had these ruffled feathers on their backs. All birds were obviously used to people and the ducks/geese/swans weren't too aggressive - even with the kids feeding them. We ended up feeding them a loaf and a half of bread, and they followed us in the water as we walked around on the path.
We also watched this Anhinga (Cormorant) catch his fish, throw them into the air and swallow them whole. The girls would cheer every time he came up with a fish. If I can get Brian to zoom in on this and edit it I will post a better pic later. We are definitely easily entertained.
Brian snuck up on a heron and took some gorgeous pictures.
While waiting for Brian to take a million pics of the heron, Blondie and Cheesie and I were looking for "cool" things in nature. Blondie found gold mushrooms, and seedpods, while Cheesie found Camelia bushes blooming. The little girls climbed on the Cypress knees and tried to see if they could balance on some of the points. All of the girls thought the visually impaired garden was cool because the plants were chosen for their fragrance or texture, and as you followed the rail around the garden there were signs in print and in braille describing the plants - we're definitely going back in the spring to check that out when its in bloom - not a whole lot going on in the garden at the moment.
We were only able to stay about an hour because Blondie had therapy today, but all of the girls want to go back. We need to finish our trek around the pond/lake, and go across the bridge to the other side of the park. We also need to buy more bread!