Monterey Bay Aquarium: Fantastic Tentacles Exhibit!

Tentacles Entrance Sign

Tentacles Entrance Sign

Tentacles Exhibit Sign

Tentacles Exhibit Sign

Tentacles "Myths Prevailed" Display

Tentacles “Myths Prevailed” Display

Octopus Attacking Golden Gate Bridge in 1955 Movie "It Came from Beneath the Sea"

Octopus Attacking Golden Gate Bridge in 1955 Movie “It Came from Beneath the Sea”

Tentacles "Early Influences" Display

Tentacles “Early Influences” Display

Octopus Petroglyph, Easter Island, Chile

Octopus Petroglyph, Easter Island, Chile

"Night of the Ammonites", Ray Troll, 1998

“Night of the Ammonites”, Ray Troll, 1998

"Colossal Octopus" Pen and Wash Drawing, 1803

“Colossal Octopus” Pen and Wash Drawing, 1803

"Gamochonia" Octopus Scientific Illustration by Ernst Haeckel

“Gamochonia” Octopus Scientific Illustration by Ernst Haeckel

Minoan Vessel with Octopus Motif, Crete, 9th Century BC

Minoan Vessel with Octopus Motif, Crete, 9th Century BC

Giant Pacific Octopus 1

Giant Pacific Octopus 1

Giant Pacific Octopus 2

Giant Pacific Octopus 2

Giant Pacific Octopus 3

Giant Pacific Octopus 3

Mechanical Octopus Display

Mechanical Octopus Display

Bigfin Reef Squid

Bigfin Reef Squid

Broadclub Cuttlefish

Broadclub Cuttlefish

Stumpy Cuttlefish

Stumpy Cuttlefish

Purple and Yellow Australian Flamboyant Cuttlefish

Purple and Yellow Australian Flamboyant Cuttlefish

Chambered Nautilus

Chambered Nautilus

Richard's Cephalopod Selfie Video taken at Tentacles Exhibit

Richard’s Cephalopod Selfie Video taken at Tentacles Exhibit

We just got back from a visit to California, and tremendously enjoyed seeing the new Tentacles Exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  The exhibit features animals in the cephalopod family, including octopus, cuttlefish, squid, and nautilus.  They are masters of disguise and quick color change artists – it has to be seen to be believed!(http://ocean.si.edu/ocean-news/how-octopuses-and-squids-change-color)

Octopus are known for their intelligence (https://orionmagazine.org/article/deep-intellect/), and are said to be as smart as cats.  Each one has its own unique personality.  Octopus recognize and greet their favorite people (and sometimes they deliberately squirt people they do not like).  A link to one of my favorite pictures posted last year by the aquarium is at:  http://montereybayaquarium.tumblr.com/post/17955182992/why-were-so-attached-to-the-giant-pacific 

A few years ago one of the night watchmen at the Monterey Bay Aquarium saw an octopus crawling on the floor.  Apparently at night it would leave its tank and travel to other tanks for a midnight snack!  That solved the mystery of the missing fish.  More info about the Giant Pacific Octopus is at:  http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/octopus-and-kin/giant-pacific-octopus 

The Tentacles Exhibit is the best!  More info about these amazing animals is at:  http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals-and-experiences/exhibits/tentacles  As usual, click on any of the pictures in the post to enlarge and get more detailed information.

Amazing Agave Flower Stalk

Agave Flower Stalk Starting to Grow (August 12, 2014)

Agave Flower Stalk Starting to Grow (August 12, 2014)

Agave Flower Stalk Rising (August 18, 2014)

Agave Flower Stalk Rising (August 18, 2014)

Richard Beside Fast Growing Agave Flower Stalk (September 4, 2014)

Richard Beside Fast Growing Agave Flower Stalk (September 4, 2014)

Agave Flower Stalk Branches Opening Out (September 16, 2014)

Agave Flower Stalk Branches Opening Out (September 16, 2014)

Richard Beside Agave Flower Stalk (Nov. 1, 2014)

Richard Beside Agave Flower Stalk (Nov. 1, 2014)

Richard Looking up at 16 Foot Tall Agave Flower Stalk (Nov. 6, 2014)

Richard Looking up at 16 Foot Tall Agave Flower Stalk (Nov. 6, 2014)

Agave Flower Stalk at End of Bloom (Jan. 24, 2015).  Sandhill Crane is on Left.

Agave Flower Stalk at End of Bloom (Jan. 24, 2015). Sandhill Crane is on Left.

Comparison Between Asparagus and Agave Flower Stalks

Comparison Between Asparagus and Agave Flower Stalks

Agave Flowers Attract Honeybees

Agave Flowers Attract Honeybees

Agave Babies May Grow from Flower Stalk Branches after Blooming Ends

Agave Babies May Grow from Flower Stalk Branches after Blooming Ends

Close-up of Baby Agave

Close-up of Baby Agave

In August our 2-year-old agave plant surprised us, and starting sending up a massive flower stalk. It is staggering how quickly it grows. Final height has reached 16 feet – it is quite the show-stopper! Agave are members of the asparagus family (which includes yuccas and ponytail palms). Although the mother plant dies after the plant flowers, there are always several baby plants clustered around the base to take its place. Sometimes an agave will also grow baby plants straight off the flower stalk branches. Products of agave include nectar (a light liquid similar to honey) and tequila. Agave are often called century plants, but happily they don’t actually take a century to bloom!

Florida: Flower Garden in January

Passion Flower - Side View

Passion Flower – Side View

Blue Sky Vine Flower

Blue Sky Vine Flower

Whirligig Daisies

Whirligig Daisies

Powder Puff Flowers

Powder Puff Flowers

Pink Hibiscus with Rain Drops

Pink Hibiscus with Rain Drops

Fancy Orange Hibiscus

Fancy Orange Hibiscus

Aloe Flowers

Aloe Flowers

Stapeliad Starfish Flowers

Stapeliad Starfish Flowers

Agave Leaf with Rain Drops

Agave Leaf with Rain Drops

Agave Spine with Rain Drop Magnifying Plant Below

Agave Spine with Rain Drop Magnifying Plant Below

Mammillaria Cactus with Tiny Pink Blooms

Mammillaria Cactus with Tiny Pink Blooms

Cactus Spine Patterns

Cactus Spine Patterns

Purple Shamrock Flowers (Love Plant)

Purple Shamrock Flowers (Love Plant)

Our Fountain at Dusk

Our Fountain at Dusk

One of the advantages to living in Florida is that you can garden year round.  That is a big plus if you like flowers!  We just bought a new batch of plants today.  Here is what’s in bloom in our yard (click on any picture for more information or to enlarge).

Florida: December at McKee Botanical Garden

Pink Bromeliad Blooming (Friendship Plant)

Pink Bromeliad Blooming (Friendship Plant)

Close-up of Friendship Plant Flower

Close-up of Friendship Plant Flower

Orchid Tree Blooming

Orchid Tree Blooming

Purple Waterlily with Spotted Lilypad

Purple Waterlily with Spotted Lilypad

Giant White Spider Lily (Crinum species)

Giant White Spider Lily (Crinum species)

Palm Frond Patterns

Palm Frond Patterns

Holiday Flamingo with Pom Poms on Head

Holiday Flamingo with Pom Poms on Head

Holiday Flamingo with Beads and Christmas Balls

Holiday Flamingo with Beads and Christmas Balls

Holiday Flamingo with Beads and Pink Ribbon

Holiday Flamingo with Beads and Pink Ribbon

Inflated Snowman Resting on Lawn

Inflated Snowman Resting on Lawn

There is always something blooming at McKee Botanical Garden in Vero Beach, Florida.  It is especially fun to visit in December when the holiday decorations are up.  Florida truly is the “Land of Flowers”.  More info is at:  http://www.mckeegarden.org/index.php

Florida: December at Bok Tower Gardens

Christmas Garden by Historic Home

Christmas Garden by Historic Home

Holiday Path to Historic Home

Holiday Path to Historic Home

Red Poinsettias

Red Poinsettias

Pink Poinsettias and Amaryllis

Pink Poinsettias and Amaryllis

Holiday Dining Room in Historic Home

Holiday Dining Room in Historic Home

Silver Holiday Table in Historic Home

Silver Holiday Table in Historic Home

Christmas Tree and Harp in Historic Home

Christmas Tree and Harp in Historic Home

Christmas Tree Decorated with Red Hibiscus and Crocheted Garland

Christmas Tree Decorated with Red Hibiscus and Crocheted Garland

Christmas Tree Decorated with Knitted Red Poinsettia Flowers

Christmas Tree Decorated with Knitted Red Poinsettia Flowers

Close-up of Knitted Red Poinsettia Flowers

Close-up of Knitted Red Poinsettia Flowers

Welcome Pineapple on Door Composed of Sweetgum Seed Pods (also called gum balls or porcupine eggs)

Welcome Pineapple on Door Composed of Sweetgum Seed Pods (also called gum balls or porcupine eggs)

Bromeliad Christmas Tree in Visitor Center

Bromeliad Christmas Tree in Visitor Center

Bromeliad Wall and Poinsettias by Visitor Center

Bromeliad Wall and Poinsettias by Visitor Center

Bok Tower Gardens is especially beautiful in December (located in Lake Wales, Florida).  Plenty of flowers are always in bloom, and each room in the historic home on-site is decorated for Christmas.  It is well worth a visit!  More info is at:  http://boktowergardens.org/christmas/

Florida: Holiday Boat Parade

Boat Parade 1

Boat Parade 1

Boat Parade 2

Boat Parade 2

Boat Parade 3

Boat Parade 3

Boat Parade 4

Boat Parade 4

Boat Parade 5

Boat Parade 5

Boat Parade 6

Boat Parade 6

Boat Parade 7

Boat Parade 7

Boat Parade 8

Boat Parade 8

Boat Parade 9

Boat Parade 9

Boat Parade 10

Boat Parade 10

House with Christmas Lights Reflected in Canal

House with Christmas Lights Reflected in Canal

The Merritt Island, Florida, holiday boat parade was held on Saturday, December 20.  It was especially beautiful this year!  Everyone was happy and cheering all the colorful boats, and the night was warm and calm. 

Pink Florida “Snow”

Field of Pink Florida "Snow"

Field of Pink Florida “Snow”

Pink Large Flower Pusley

Pink Large Flower Pusley

Honeybee Flying to Large Flower Pusley

Honeybee Flying to Large Flower Pusley

Honeybee Sticking Head into Large Flower Pusley

Honeybee Sticking Head into Large Flower Pusley

Green Bee on Large Flower Pusley

Green Bee on Large Flower Pusley

Great Egret Sitting in Field of Pink Florida "Snow"

Great Egret Sitting in Field of Pink Florida “Snow”

Wood Stork Standing in Field of Pink Florida "Snow"

Wood Stork Standing in Field of Pink Florida “Snow”

Right now we see fields of pink “Florida Snow” when driving around town.  These fields are composed of Large Flower Pusley, which is also known as Mexican Clover (species Richardia grandiflora). The honeybees are crazy for it, so never run barefoot through these flowers.  We see bees sticking their heads far into the flower cups to drink the sweet nectar, and also collecting balls of white pollen.  These flowers are a delightful treat in winter!

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