Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The International Crane Foundation in Baraboo Wisconsin

In the past few weeks I've been sharing posts about our anniversary weekend trip to Madison, Wisconsin (see those posts HERE and HERE if you missed them).  We spent the day in Madison touring many of their beautiful gardens and then the next morning we woke up and wondered what to do next.  We weren't quite ready to head home yet, so I googled "Things to do in the Madison area".  To my surprise, there was a crane foundation in nearby Baraboo which was on our way home anyway.  I couldn't believe it! I love birds, and I really love cranes!  We have the joy of seeing sandhill cranes near my house all summer long, so I was so excited to visit a place that was dedicated solely to cranes...so off we went!


You can hear the cranes calling the minute you step out of your vehicle!  I couldn't believe my luck!  I've lived in Wisconsin most of my life and I have been to Baraboo many times (in fact I even lived in the area very briefly) yet I had no idea this place was here!  Thank goodness for Google!

On our walk to the Visitor's Center we were greeted by these beautiful sculptures of flying cranes!


The sculptures show the cranes in various stages of flight.


The International Crane Foundation has a nice Visitor Center and gift shop, but unfortunately I don't have any photos of it.  The minute we got there a tour was starting, so we quickly joined in on the tour.  The foundation does different free tours regularly.  The tour we took that day was on the East Asia cranes.

Saurs Crane

The International Crane Foundation in Baraboo Wisconsin is the ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD with all fifteen species of cranes.  Can you believe that?  That's crazy!  Baraboo is just this little town in the middle of Wisconsin.  No one would expect to find rare cranes here, but there are!


All the cranes have an indoor and outdoor habitat to live in.  Some can be a little camera shy like the crane pictured above.  Some of the cranes are visible only behind a fence, but others are behind glass so you get a nice clear view.  

The foundation is so beautifully decorated with architecture, sculptures, and scenic backgrounds of the cranes home of origin.


The Black-necked Cranes pictured below and in the video were a hoot!  They were behind glass, so we got a nice clear view.  Be sure to watch the short video so you can hear the sound they make.

Black-necked Cranes

The Black-necked Cranes are a "Near Threatened" species.




Here is a fun and elegant work of art showcasing origami cranes.


This sweet bird was one of my favorites.  Their population is rated "Vulnerable".

Red-crowned Crane



The main purpose of the International Crane Foundation is "Crane Conservation".  They work tirelessly to protect the crane population around the world, but they also do captive breeding and reintroduction, landscape restoration, and education to safeguard the world's fifteen species of cranes.  Pictured below is a photo taken at their "Restoration Overlook".  It is a panoramic view of their 120 acre landscape restoration.


In the distance, and in the closeup below you can see the research center which is not open to the public.


Hooded Crane

The Hooded Crane is rated as "Vulnerable".



The Eurasian Crane is rated "Least Concerned".  It is a common crane and while we were visiting we got to see this bird in action as it came towards us with wings outstretched screaming his fool head off.  Our tour guide said it was a treat to see that, even though it was a bit startling at the time.  She said that is how the crane scares dangerous predators away.

Eurasian Crane



Wattled Crane

Some areas of the foundation have nice amphitheaters like the one above the Wattled Crane exhibit where lectures can be held.  Wattled Cranes are rated as "Vulnerable".


Such a funny beak on this guy, almost like a turkey!


This fun resting spot is in the "Spirit of Africa" section of the park.

Spirit of Africa



Demoiselle Crane


The Demoiselle Crane is so elegant and beautiful, isn't it.  This crane is rated as "Least Concern". I'm happy about that!



 Black-crowned Crane

The Black-crowned Crane is perhaps the most unique of them all!  Just look at that fun haircut!  He is rated as "Vulnerable"

Blue Crane

The Blue Crane is also rated as "Vulnerable".  My, what a beautiful bird.  I love its soft coloring.

Pictured in the two photos below is the Whooping Crane Alcove.  Unfortunately we didn't see any Whooping Cranes out and about this day.  The Whooping Crane are rated as "Endangered". 



And before we left for the day, we got to see one last bird:  the Siberian Crane, which is rated as "Critically Endangered".

Siberian Crane


I forgot to mention that we did also see the common Sandhill Crane, but his exhibit is right in the Visitor Center, which I forgot to take photos of.  

You have to exit through the gift shop to leave the foundation, and on our way out we found these fun crane garden sculptures.  They move elegantly in the wind.  I really wanted to buy one, but they were kind of pricey for my taste.  Looking back, I should have purchased one to support the worthy cause of the foundation.  Maybe next time!



 If you're ever in the Madison/Baraboo area I highly suggest a stop at the International Crane Foundation, you won't regret it!  Where else in the world will you see all fifteen species of cranes?  No where!  

The International Crane Foundation is open daily May 1 to October 31 from 9:00 to 5:00.  Admission is $12.50 for adults, $6.00 for youth, and under five is free.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The Hidden Gardens of Madison Wisconsin

Two weeks ago, in THIS POST I shared that for our anniversary we went to Madison, Wisconsin for the weekend.  In that post, I only showed the Olbrich Botanical Gardens because I had so many photos it was already too long for most readers.  We did however, visit three other smaller gardens in the city of Madison that I wanted to talk about; so this week's travel post will show the rest of the garden hopping we did in Madison Wisconsin.

Period Garden Park


Period Garden park is a small garden open to the public in downtown Madison.  It was so hard for us to find because it's not that visible from the street. Even with GPS we couldn't see it from our vehicle.  We finally decided to park the car and get out and walk and it was then we discovered "the park" was actually the front lawn of an old home.  In 1972 the owner of the property wanted to build an apartment complex on the lot, but a group of private citizens felt it would have ruined the aesthetics of the Victorian neighborhood so they purchased the property and turned it into a public park/garden.  I didn't take any photos except the one above as it was so small (.235 acres) but I thought it was cool that a group of citizens and volunteers have purchased the property to keep the historic significance and also made it accessible to everyone to enjoy.

You can see more photos of Period Garden Park HERE.

University of Wisconsin - Madison Botany Garden


Next we went to the University of Wisconsin - Madison campus to enjoy their Botany Garden.  A pond filled with koi and a pretty gazebo was its star attraction.


Allen Centennial Garden


Our last stop was the Allen Centennial Garden, and this garden is really worth the stop if you're ever in the Madison area.



This garden is also free and open to the public from dawn to dusk for everyone to enjoy. 

According to its website:  

"Allen Centennial Garden is the artful living laboratory and public botanical garden of the Horticulture Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Garden serves as an outdoor classroom for UW-Madison students and the surrounding communities, providing meaningful learning opportunities for visitors of all ages."


This beautiful garden is the backyard of another historic home.  The home isn't occupied now, but it once served as the Agricultural Dean's Residence.  The ground breaking of the garden was in 1985.  The garden is two and half acres.



There is lots of architectural interest in the garden such as the gazebo above and the stunning red bridge below.  

There are six different gardens at the Allen Centennial Garden:  Japanese/Cottage Garden, New American Garden, French & Italian Garden, English Garden, Rock Garden, and a Woodland Garden.


It seemed odd to see modern university buildings in the background of the garden.  It's like a small spot of Eden in the midst of an urban jungle.


The pond was filled with lily pads and koi.  


I just loved the red bridge.  The color really popped in the sea of green.  



The house was closed up tight when we were there.  I have no idea if the home is ever open for tours, but I would have loved to have seen the inside.


This is the front of the house and what it would like from the street if you were just pulling up in your car.



There are so many meandering paths leading to different styles of gardens.  This inviting path pictured below led to the shade garden on the side of the house.  I gathered lots of ideas for my home garden.  I loved the idea of creating lots of different styles of garden in your own yard while considering all the different ecoclimates one could have in a large space.  My yard for example has hot dry spots but also moist cool areas.  Different types of gardens could be created that thrive in those areas of my yard.




There were multiple gazebos and spots to sit and just enjoy the view.


The area in the front of the house opposite of the shade garden was very sunny so a nice circular front lawn was put in bordered by sun perennials.



There were even gardens up against the foundation of the house.



We really enjoyed finding and exploring all the hidden gardens of Madison Wisconsin.  It was like being on an adventurous quest!

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!