Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Orange you glad I posted this?

Spring and Summer are upon us, dear readers! Are you planning a vacation with your family? Are you tired of the typical "Disney Land" California vacations? Well, then the Shangri La Gardens and Nature Center in Orange, TX is a great alternative! And...they are Eco-friendly!

Nowadays, it pays to be "green", especially since we just celebrated Earth Day. Well, the Shangri La Gardens actually received an award just for being "green" and eco-friendly! The award the gardens received was a Platinum Certification, the LEED-NC award, which is a prestigious green building rating standing for:

LEADERSHIP IN ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION (LEED®-NC)

The Shangrila Gardens was the first project in Texas to win this award, and the 50th in the world!!! That my dear readers is quite an accomplishment if you ask me. I bet you are wondering how they won this award, right? Well, one of the many factors was the fact that they were able to reduce their energy costs by a whopping 70%, due to their innovative architecture and their efficient equipment. They have used soy-bean sprayed foam insulation, geothermal heating, and they even pump water from 800 feet underground to take advantage of the earth's temperature.

The garden was open to the public in 1946 by H.J. Lutcher Stark, and by the 1950s, thousands of visitors were arriving to visit its beauty. But unfortunately it was hit with a tragic, and freak ice and snow storm, which caused it to close its doors for over 50 years. In 2002, however, plans were put into effect to re-open the gardens and nature center to the public once again. The end result is what we have today! Shangri La continues to be a big tourist desination in the city of Orange, Texas.

Shangri La Gardens offers a wide variety of opportunities to take part in. They are situated on a 252-acre preserve, and also have a hands-on nature discovery center that is perfect for kids. I know my kids would love to go to something like that, they love to explore and they love to learn about nature, so this sounds like a perfect place for us to visit. It is also a great place to hone your photography skills. I love to take pictures of nature, so I am sure I could find thousands of perfect photos here. The pictures on their site are breathtaking. It truly is a site to see!
Here are a few images captured from the gardens and nature center:





And when you are done exploring this beautiful site, be sure to explore the city of
Orange , Texas a bit too!




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