Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2018 with Colorado Traveling Ducks

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day.   This is exciting when the actual day is on a Saturday.   We, the Colorado Traveling Ducks and our humans, wish you a happy and safe day.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

St Patrick, an English person, moved to Ireland, became a priest, and introduced Christianity to Ireland in the year 432.   The shamrock, a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day, was used as a teaching tool and metaphor for the Holy Trinity.   St. Patrick is also credited with chasing all the snakes out of Ireland.   However, fossils show no evidence that there ever were snakes in Ireland.   Much of the world celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with parades, parties, corned beef and cabbage and lots of green beer.   Many people here, and elsewhere, celebrate with friends and family, in pubs and restaurants and many with huge dinners and fun at home.   Green is the color of the day.   Many things show up green that usually are not green.   In the US city of Chicago, Illinois, 40 tons of green dye (a secret recipe) are used to color the Chicago River just the correct shade of green for the day.   Some people add green food coloring to regular food, including green mashed potatoes.   This is a holiday for fun for everyone.   And on this day, everyone is a little bit Irish.

St. Patrick’s Day for all

Even our four legged friends.   You will often hear “Erin Go Bragh” in many establishments.   According to http://www.Mentalfloss.com, this is a corruption of a phrase meaning “Ireland Forever.”   Have fun tomorrow, wear green and be safe.   Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Creatures of Light Exhibit with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

These creatures light up.   We don’t.   Yesterday at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, we saw animals with bioluminescence and biofluorescence, from tiny fireflies to strange creatures in the ocean depths.

Let’s see the Creatures of Light

Let’s explore!  That is a giant firefly.   You will notice that it is dark in here, so pictures of us with these lighting creatures just doesn’t work well.   So what does this bioluminescence mean?    Bioluminescence is visible light generated by a living organism through a chemical reaction.  Eighty percent of all bioluminescent groups are in the world’s oceans.   Not so many on land. There are some fungi and insects, but no flowering plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians or mammals that glow.   Look at this glowing mushroom.

Glowing mushroom. With Eider duck

It exists in eastern North America, where it grows on decaying wood in the forests.   This is a huge model of the mushroom.   They are really much smaller, just a normal mushroom size. And a glowing variety of a millipede.

Variety of millipede

We have never seen these, but they are fascinating.   And a dark New Zealand cave with simulated glowworms.

Cave with glowworms

In the cave, fungus gnat larvae drop sticky “fishing lines” from the cave roof.   Glowworms give the light and the sticky lines attract and catch food.    Most glowing creatures are found in the ocean.    Ponyfish also glow.  Here is the sign that explains a little about the glow.


Ponyfish are called Sapsap in the Philippines, where there are caught in huge numbers for soups and stews.   Guess they don’t glow when cooked.   These jelly fish, if poked or jostled, light up their rim.

These jellyfish also can light up

The jelly fish have both bioluminescent and fluorescent lighting.   This female anglerfish is a serious predator.

Female anglerfish

Have you ever heard of siphonophores?


Well, here is one and do you know how big they can grow?    Some are 130 feet long (40 meters).  That is longer than the largest known blue whale.   They attract fish for food by twitching and using light.     And the dinoflagellate became our favorite.   This model is huge, but a real dinoflagellate is about the size of the head of a pin.

Dinoflagellate. Really the size of a pin head.

When something bumps into a dinoflagellate, the impact triggers a chemical reaction that ends in a burst of light.  This is very active in Mosquito Bay, a quiet lagoon on the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico.   When you touch the waves at night, your hand leaves a trail of sparks in the water.   The more activity, the more bright lights.   We have never seen this, but mom, we want to.   Can we go to the Caribbean??   There is so much more to see here and you will learn so much.   The exhibit runs until June 10, 2018.   When it leaves Denver, it may be coming near you.   We hope you see this exhibit.  In Denver, the exhibit is free with your paid admission to the museum.    But beware, as the ducks said, you will want to visit everywhere and see some of these creatures for yourself.   But take the risk and visit this exhibit.

An Alaskan Dog Sled Ride for Zeb and Eider Duck

Let’s ride on a dog sled!   Mom really said those words and we quickly agreed.   We are in North Pole, Alaska, near Fairbanks, to work on Eider’s dad’s estate, but not today.    Mom made reservations and our friend, Barbara, drove us to Sirius Winter Sled Dog Tours .   Arriving for our 6 mile, one hour trip, we watched our dog team get harnessed to our sleds.

This is our dog team and sleds. Ready to go

This is our sled, with mom.   Barbara has another set of sleds with her driver, or musher.   I, Zeb the Duck, and cousin Eider Duck are on the second sled.

Ducks on sled, ready to ride.

This is Avett, one our dogs.   While riding, Nita, our guide and musher, stood behind the first sled and guided the dogs.   We rode with mom, standing on the back of the second sled.   Standing gave us a great view, and wasn’t as cold as sitting so close to the snow.   Mom stood, with her knees bent, on the ride.   She said it felt like water skiing.   During our ride we did not take photos.   We were moving fast; going up and down small hills, and over frozen creeks.   Dog sleds on ice feel a little different.   During turns, Nita told us how to lean to make things easier for the dogs.   We loved our ride.   Here we are, sitting on the first sled, exhilarated after our exciting and wonderful tour.

Nita, our guide and musher is standing on the first sled, waving to mom.

We love these sleds and the Alaskan Huskies that pulled us through the wooded snow area.   The trails were groomed, but Nita told us the untouched snow would be almost waist deep.   That’s a lot of snow.   We just had to pose for another photo on our sled, with our dog, Avett.

Ducks with Avett

While we still wanted to go further, we aren’t ready for the Iditarod.   That famous dog sled race began Sunday, March 4, 2018.   The official start was crossing frozen Lake Willow, 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of Anchorage.   The finish line in Nome, Alaska, on the Bering Strait, will be reached in about 9 days.   That is too much for us.   Isn’t this a great picture of the dogs pulling the sled?

Dogs pulling sled through woods

This photo came from Sirius Dog web page.   The only time we were on the trails with dogs, we were on the sled.     These winter sled dog tours are available from Sirius from November through March.   We hope you enjoy a dog sled ride soon.   Of course, they are available in Alaska, but many other locations also.   They are offered in Colorado, in many of our ski areas.   We had never been on a dog sled before, and we love it!   Maybe again sometime?   Driving back home, we again drove on snowy roads and under branches, bent from the heavy wet snow.

Driving on a snowy road with low hanging snow covered branched

This was a perfect day in Alaska.   This is the end to this Alaska trip.   But we want to show you one more photo.   This was taken about 15 minutes before official sunrise, from our back window.

So blue, just before sunrise

The morning really did not look so blue to us, but we heard that the time just before sunrise and after sunset has great light for photos.   We just love the blue in this photo.   We took many photos, but this one has the most blue.   Mom did not enhance or alter anything about the photo.    This is just how it came with our iPhone.   Next time we will show you more of our beautiful Colorado.

Christmas in Ice from North Pole, Alaska with Zeb and Eider

Zeb the Duck here with more from North Pole, Alaska.   Last time we showed you Santa’s house.   Well, behind Santa’s house, near the reindeer herd, is a Christmas in Ice park.

Christmas In Ice

These ice sculptures have been here since mid December, without melting.   The ice does have new snow, some added almost every day.   Santa’s reindeer are pulling the sleigh here.

Reindeer pulling sleigh

We also liked this one, but we are not really sure what it is.   Maybe a present with a bow.

We like this

Same here, but again, we like it.  An elf?

We like this one

This appears to be an ice sculpture of a globe, with a picture inside.   We appreciated the added colors.   Zeb and Eider joined this family, maybe heading for outdoor fun.

Family heading for winter fun

A moose of ice provided a resting place for Zeb and Eider Duck.

Moose chair

This bear continues guarding an igloo.

Bear guarding igloo

An igloo?   Let’s go inside.   Zeb and Eider like this igloo.

Inside an igloo

Did you know, people in Alaska do not live in igloos.   But sometimes it makes a good story.   Here we go.   Zeb and Eider gliding on ice.

Graceful on ice

You might correctly guess that after sitting on all that ice, I, Zeb the Duck and cousin Eider Duck are getting cold feathers.   We told mom and her friend that we wanted to sit in Santa’s chair.

We are in Santa’s chair

And that was enough ice for today.   We loved seeing the ice sculptures and we are happy that nothing melted or fell down in this ice park.   The winters here can really be cold.   We have another Alaskan adventure to show you next time.

Santa Claus Lives in North Pole, Alaska says Zeb the Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, have seen Santa’s house in North Pole, so I know he lives here.

Santa Claus House in North Pole, Alaska

I also saw this statue of Santa behind his sleigh.

Santa watching his sleigh

My cousin Eider Duck and I sat in Santa’s sleigh, but we didn’t fly anywhere.

Zeb and Eider ready for a sleigh ride

We were ready and eager to fly, but the reindeer were occupied.

Reindeer is eating. No flying for us today

This one was busy eating.   We guess reindeer need to eat to keep energy also.   For those of you that are curious, reindeer are also called caribou in Alaska.   There are large herds of migrating caribou or reindeer in northern Alaska.   But these reindeer are in pens so they are ready to fly for Santa.   When we were there a week ago, Santa’s house was not open to the public.   Santa is remodeling and many said he is adding a restaurant.   Mom has visited there before and she said they sell many great items.   Maybe next time Santa will be accepting visitors.   Santa’s House has been there since 1950 and he lives at 101 St. Nicholas Drive in North Pole, Alaska.   The entire town of North Pole seems to have the Christmas spirit all year.   The pole for the bank sign resembles a candy cane.

Many signs resemble candy canes

Yes, that temperature is correct.   The weeks before we arrived, the temperatures were well below 0.   Often -35 degrees F.  Brrrr.  But when we were there, the temperatures were above zero, often in the 20’s.   That 17 degrees on Mt. McKinley bank sign is correct.   We stopped at Wendy’s and it seemed like Christmas.

Christmas decorations at Wendy’s

This Christmas tree, presents, and even the picture on the wall remind us that every day can be like Christmas.   Even the trash can were decorated for Christmas.

Christmas reminder every day at Wendy’s in North Pole

Eider says that living there, every day seems like Christmas.   We saw lots of signs with candy canes.   We enjoyed our time in North Pole.   And we have more to show you next time.

North Pole, Alaska. Here come the Colorado Traveling Ducks

Yes, you read that correctly.   Mom said we are flying to North Pole, Alaska.   Not THE North Pole, but the suburb of Fairbanks, named North Pole.  I, Zeb the Duck, am going to Alaska.   Mom, isn’t this winter and isn’t it cold in the winter?  Well, we will experience North Pole, Alaska in February.   Driving to Denver International Airport that morning, Soapy Smith Duck’s mom drove us through snow, ice, and subfreezing temperatures.   Thanks for the safe ride!   After boarding our Alaska Airlines flight, we taxied to the de-icing area.

De-icing our plane in Denver

This man high above our plane, sprayed us.   Driving all around the plane, spraying, he then got higher and further away, and sprayed some more.

More de-icing to keep us safe

Airborne now, our first stop was Seattle, a fast change of airplanes and then on to Fairbanks, Alaska.   Approaching Fairbanks, there was a lot of white snow on the ground.   From our window, we saw the frozen rivers below us.

From airplane, approaching Fairbanks

The Chena River flows into the Tanana River, that flows through Fairbanks.   The Tanana then flows into the Yukon River.   Mom wasn’t sure which river this was.  While waiting for our baggage, we enjoyed seeing this small plane.

Baggage claim area at Fairbanks International Airport

Many areas of Alaska are accessible only by air.   As you can guess, many Alaskan are pilots, with many owning their own airplanes.   But today, our reason for flying to Fairbanks is rather sad.   You may remember that Eider Duck, our Alaska cousin, lives with his dad, my mom’s brother.   In October 2017 mom and I flew to Anchorage, Alaska.   Eider’s dad was in the hospital and he passed away in November, 2017.   Mom and I brought Eider Duck to Colorado and he now lives with us.   Mom is executor of his estate, so Eider, Zeb and mom are here for a few days to start settling things.   Between the airport and Eider’s house, we drove down this road.

Road with snow covered trees

The snow this year is wetter than usual, so snow did not fall through the trees and pile up on the ground.   The wetter snow stayed on the trees and power lines.   The snow covered trees are beautiful, but the snow is not melting and many trees are breaking.   It is not certain if the trees that do not break, will ever be straight again.   Eider is getting excited now.   He knows we are just a few blocks from his house.

Approaching Eider’s house

Here we have many trees that are not bent, but there is still a lot of snow.   Eider and I, Zeb the Duck, are sitting on pile of snow in front of Eider’s house.

On snow pile in front of Eider’s house.

There is about 2 feet of snow on the ground.   It was difficult for mom to try to walk.   She gave up and just stayed where the snow had been plowed and shoveled.   All is so white here.   The white snow, the skies were cloudy and more snow clouds were moving over the area.   Almost every day of our stay, we had some new snow, overcast skies and power outages.   The power company tries to keep the lines clear and keep power on, but it is a huge job.   Usually the power would be out for less than 2 hours, so things were OK.   We did miss our bright blue Colorado skies, but the peaceful, quiet and calmness of the area was wonderful.   A low population means fewer vehicles so the snow stays pristine white and beautiful.   Looking through the window of Eider’s house, was soothing.

So peaceful and calming

Mom took this photo about 20 minutes before sunrise.   In that special early morning light, photos often have that special blue tint.  Very nice in the photos.   We’ll tell you more about North Pole, Alaska next time.

Zeb and Chanel Love the Aquarium Restaurant

Clear water, fish, a mermaid and great food.   What more could Chanel the Bear and Zeb the Duck want?   Our moms took us to lunch at the Denver Downtown Aquarium.

The Denver Aquarium

There is a really good restaurant inside.   And the restaurant has its own aquarium.   Walking outside to the aquarium restaurant, we stopped to visit with Sharky, a new friend.

Chatting with our new friend, Sharky.

He is nice.   Let’s go inside the restaurant now.

Let’s go inside to the restaurant.

Before we even enter the restaurant, we see the aquarium.

We love fish

Beautiful.   Inside we admire this painted pillar.

Inside decorations

The glass spears are like seaweed in the ocean.   Our table is next to the aquarium.

We could watch fish all day.

Those fish are swimming very close to us.   We, Chanel and Zeb, love the active fish.   Our moms ordered our lunch, but we aren’t sure about this.

Delicious lunch. Slightly crispy. Perfectly flakey. We get hungry remembering.

Moms, should we really be eating fish in an aquarium?   Are we eating their relatives?  But our moms said it is OK.   No relatives being eaten.   We have shrimp and tilapia.   And they are delicious.   Did you notice the salt and pepper shakers on our table?   They are seahorses.   Isn’t that just perfect for an aquarium?   This is part of Landry’s Seafood Restaurants.   Yum!  Look!!   A mermaid.   She is swimming right by our table.

Our mermaid!

She comes up to the glass and waves and throws kisses to bear, duck and human children.

She likes us the best

We think she likes us the best.  There is a nice variety of fish inside the aquarium.

Love the fish

Here is another type of fish.

Fish of a different color

More colors.   Even the lights hanging from the ceiling are fish.

Love these lights

Notice the small light on the belly of each fish?   All these small lights really give a lot of light, but do not detract from the fish in the aquarium.   Very nice.   Lunch was delicious and the restaurant is fun to explore.   But moms said we must go.   Lucky for us, the exit is through the gift shop.

In the gift shop, but our moms are not selling us.

We love these stuffed animals, but Chanel and Zeb are the cutest on this display.   Chanel and Zeb will perform on this outdoor stage.

An outdoor stage. Featuring Chanel the Bear and Zeb the Duck

Well, maybe we will return during warmer weather for our performance.   Our aquarium has a theater also.

Theater at the Denver Aquarium

We did not go inside the main aquarium today, but we saw a lot fish while savoring our lunch.   Maybe another time we will visit the entire aquarium, but we really loved our time here.   We hope you visit the Denver Aquarium or an aquarium near you.   Fish and water are soothing and we love watching the beautiful fish swim and we think you will enjoy it also.