Category Archives: Vermont

ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center

Thought #1: After writing my first post, I  decided to change my theme just a little. Instead of limiting the blog to just museums, I want to include aquariums and zoos. I feel that they belong on this blog, too, thus they do.

Continuing from the summer in Vermont: one of my fellow travelers was a docent (I was one once too) at the aquarium back home, and really wanted to see what Vermont had to offer, in terms of fish and marine animals, and thus we visited…

ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, located in Burlington, Vermont. (Sorry no picture of the building; this is one of those posts with lots of words and not much picture.)

The aquarium is located at the waterfront of the Burlington area, so parking was more than what I was willing to shell out, $20. Thus we parked on the streets, far from the aquarium. (It was an uphill walk leaving the aquarium, so maybe I should’ve paid for parking.) Adult admission for the aquarium was $13.50; and for the price,  the aquarium was smaller than I had expected it to be. There were two floors to explore, but what I remember most is not the exhibits, but  the children, hordes of children everywhere. Look to the left, look to the right, look up, look down, you were bound to see a child.

The ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center takes more of the science center approach, than the aquarium part. ECHO has plenty of interactive exhibits, however they are catered towards a younger audience (which explains the amount of children seen).  Nevertheless, as an adult, you can still have fun, (for example, you can pretend to be a weather forecaster, or merge your face with that of a frog’s), as long as you can squeeze your way past the children. For the marine animal lovers, I have to say that you best visit elsewhere, ECHO had few animals on display; I distinctly remember an exhibit on frogs and a tank of fish. The other exhibits and displays were about Lake Champlain: the history, the geography, Champ (the sea serpent), etc.

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My most honest opinion of ECHO lake aquarium and science center was that I was little disappointed as I expected it to be a full fledged aquarium. However, looking back on it now, I realize that I failed to notice that ECHO is intended to be  both an aquarium and a science center, and in that respect, ECHO is both, with some marine life and plenty of interactive exhibits. Thus, the ECHO Lake aquarium and science center is a good place to bring the kids on a rainy afternoon, but not for the  animal lovers looking for that cute penguin or seal or other sea creature found in another aquarium.

 

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Birds of Vermont Museum

This summer, I visited what I consider as the city of free museums, so there is still plenty of material to write about, but the “first” post will be about a museum from last year because it’s the first museum I visited that made me want to start a blog. So without further ramblings, let’s start…

Birds of Vermont Museum, located in Huntington, Vermont.IMG_2005

I believe the admission was anywhere between $5-9. It’s located in a more remote area, but you can’t miss it, since the road is just to the right of the museum (not seen in the picture).

My fellow travelers and I arrived very early, before they opened (around 10am). They have a nice trail to the left of the building, and one across the roadSince we had a little time, we followed the path on the left and found a small creek near the beginning, and that was about as far as we got when the museum opened.

We were greeted by the nice assistants who operated the museum and then shown a video in regards to the museum and its founder. After the video, an assistant gave us this pen-like bar code scanner, which if used properly, will play a recording of the bird’s call for many of the displays on the first floor. We were then free to roam around the two floors.

IMG_2015IMG_2016IMG_2018 Every single one of the birds on display are carvings done by the museum founder! I was (and still am) super amazed by how life like, and detailed the carvings are. The first floor had two display areas, one of birds near water (as pictured above) and the other was of birds on tree branches.  In addition, there was a small bird viewing area on the first floor. I’m not an avid watcher of birds, so I have no idea what birds are what birds, and which belonged to Vermont, and which don’t, but the birds were all beautifully crafted. The color, the texture, the attention to detail, that’s some dedication that I wish I have.

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On the second floor, we have dioramas of the bird carvings, (see above left). I really like the displays on the second floor; the attention to detail for the birds, the habitats and the lighting made everything really pretty, it’s a must see in my opinion. They are something that you may encounter in the natural world, something that can be seen in photographs, but this time it’s captured in carvings (almost like a 3-d picture). Also on the second floor was the founder’s workshop; displays of the tools, materials and the overall process to make the life-like birds we see in the museum.

All in all, me and my fellow travelers really liked the Birds of Vermont Museum, none of us are bird enthusiast, but we had a really good time there. (I believe it was our favorite destination of all the places we visited in Vermont, only a few, and this was the only museum) The place was clean, not crowded, and relatively inexpensive, so bring your friends and family to experience the Birds of Vermont Museum. There’s definitely something for everyone there, not just the bird enthusiasts!