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An Oasis in the Desert – ABQ Biopark

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Red Maple and Waterfall

We went to Albuquerque (ABQ) to have the battery of my iPhone replaced at Best Buy. While we were waiting for the service to be fulfilled, we went to ABQ Biopark. Walking into the botanical garden, we were in an oasis in the desert. The green tall trees lined up the path providing pleasant shade in a hot sunny day. Lots of children were running around the lush lawn. The botanical garden features a conservatory, a Japanese garden, Heritage Farm, Cottonwood Gallery, and a high desert rose garden.

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Bell Pavilion in the Japanese Garden

I was expecting to see cactus flowers. Instead, the familiar irises, tulips, cherry blossoms, crabapple blossoms were flowering. Some roses were also in bloom. The garden is located by the Rio Grande River. Water from the river and human efforts created this oasis in the desert. The Japanese garden is my favorite. Some flowering cherry trees line up the path to the entry garden. A bell pavilion is the focal point of the entry garden with shaped evergreens, and grids of areas covered with pea gravels. The simplicity and austerity of the entry garden contrasts with the main garden defined by a low wall. There a lovely waterfall cascaded from a rock formation into a big koi pond. Huge colorful koi fish were jumping in the pond. Large pink peonies and lavender color wisteria added colors to the Japanese garden. Winding creeks ran into the pond. Stone lamps were placed artfully around the garden, under a Japanese maple, in the pond, by the creek, and on the gravels. A small grove of bamboo adds more oriental element to the garden. I would say water is the soul of this Japanese garden.

A farmer was preparing vegetable beds on the Heritage Farm. She told me that because of the past mild and dry winter, the grapes delayed their growth. Even so, the table grapes have grown to small sizes on the grape vines. They grow vegetables for the restaurants in the Biopark and animals in the zoo. She told us that Chimpanzees like hot peppers. They would make faces while eating the hot peppers just like human beings. They also like sweet peppers. There is a big barn with cows, sheep, goats, and turkey.

The aquarium was nice with a nice selection of dazzling colorful sea fish. Sharks, sting rays, and a giant sea turtle live peacefully in a giant water tank. It was delightful to see such a beautiful oasis in the high desert.

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