Something tells me…

Something tells me…

…it’s all happening at the zoo! And our visit last week confirmed how true that is.

Had a chance to visit The Brevard Zoo again just a few days ago. This fine Central Florida zoo–like most in the country–closed back in March. It reopened about six weeks ago but zoo-lovers must book well in advance and will not be admitted until the time of the reservation comes around.

The few guests that are admitted each half hour can take in some fine sights and see plenty of critters. It was reassuring that with the admission policies and the rules about the wearing of masks and social distancing, the zoo is as safe as any public place can be.

Enjoyed seeing many of the “usual suspects” on this visit. Below is one of the jaguars that call this zoo home. He was just chillin’ and though we only saw him from the neck up, it was pretty cool!

We stayed around to get another shot or two. But Jerry Jaguar soon got bored with our feeble efforts to immortalize him digitally and he went back to what he had been doing before we showed up. Napping, of course!

Because the Brevard Zoo is here in the East Central Florida region, it must have a gator or two. So here are a couple of photos featuring one of the reptilian superstars that were checking us out while I was angling for a good spot to catch him for posterity.

Mike Macaw was enjoying the pleasant mid-afternoon slice of a fine Thursday. As usual, he wasn’t doing much besides just looking authentic and colorful.

The Brevard Zoo has a large and colorful aquarium and it kept me entertained for quite a while. Here’s one photo that’s ready for prime-time.

Our piscine friends seemed to be enjoying their their afternoon cruising all about. I understand they sometimes travel in schools of three…

One of my favorite things to do at the zoo is to get photos of some of the vistas that don’t actually feature a creature at all. The beautiful landscapes at this–or any zoo–can keep a shutterbug like me entralled for hours.

Zoos are the one place where ordinary people can observe an assortment of animals, learn something about them and their habitats, and how they’re faring in the natural world.

The girl in this picture is enjoying a rare opportunity to observe a wild primate up close; this encounter was fun for all but–sad to say–involved neither a real girl nor an actually monkey.

The Brevard Zoo offers something you won’t find in most zoos: a chance to go on a guided kayak tour around a good portion of the park.

We arrived too late to take advantage of the tour but found that the view from the pavilion where guest wait until their tours begin, was splendid, indeed. Have a look, I think you’d agree.

Being annual passholders for this fine zoological park, located in Melbourne, Florida, is something we feel very good about. I’ve taken many trips to plenty of zoos; more than I can count, truth be told.

And I’ll take many more.

A proud, card-carrying lover of zoos, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Benjamin Basile

You Can’t Go to the Zoo Today

You Can’t Go to the Zoo Today

Going to zoos is — without a doubt — one of my most favorite ways to spend an afternoon.

But, as you know well, it’s something we just can’t do today.

Fortunately, I’ve been to zoos many, many times and have some good photos of those visits.

Today’s banner photo is a pic from a 2017 trip to the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida. It’s a pic I like a lot.

I’m delighted to be able to say that I went on four different outdoor adventures in the last three months, while we could do such things without fear of compromising our own or others’ health.

And, yes, I’ve got plenty of photos!

So I will be posting about said adventures soon.

So the fine foto of my feathered friend above is the latest pic from one of my nature excursions.

And it most certainly will not be the last even if it takes me a while to escape the confines of my home!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Fave Fotos: Two Fish Friends

Fave Fotos: Two Fish Friends

This photo of two fish hangin’ out together is a 2016 shot of mine taken at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida. I’ve always liked it and thought I’d feature it on the blog today. It matches the languid, lazy feel of this fine Sunday afternoon.

Have not visited the Brevard Zoo in a few months. I’ll be getting back there soon.

I hope you’re enjoying this Sunday. Not too much of the weekend left. Mine has gone well.

Check in with you another time.


Bulldog Ben


Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Fave Fotos: Crow with Attitude at The Brevard Zoo

Fave Fotos: Crow with Attitude at The Brevard Zoo

And speaking of the Brevard Zoo! That Fave Foto is a pic I love from my trip to the Brevard Zoo three or four weeks ago that I think is well worth a look. This dude has a ‘tude, wouldn’t you say?

That was a very fun and productive trip; the critters — for the most part — were very cooperative, the weather was perfect and I saw some new things I couldn’t have seen in previous trips. What’s not to like? (Well, the zip line damn near killed me, but it was still fun!)

I hope your hump day is going well. I’ll be posting again before long. I just might have more to say about that totally exhausting but totally fun zip line adventure…


“Bulldog Ben” Basile


Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile


Bulldog Really, Really Loves the Brevard Zoo

Bulldog Really, Really Loves the Brevard Zoo

I really love going to the zoo. I’ve been to four zoological parks in the last couple of years. And even though I can say I liked them all, I must add that the Brevard Zoo in Melboure is definitely my favorite.

One advantage they have over some other parks is that it was well-planned right from the very beginning. Some parks expand gradually and that’s a whole ‘nother thing, as the saying goes. So the B.Z. offers more than many of the others and each area or attraction flows naturally into the next one.

There are two different boat rides where visitors can get a different perspective on each area and the featured critters. Many zoos have one, having two here is very cool. And the train ride is lots of fun. Below is the rider’s view from the front train car. Because this visit was in late October of 2015, close to Halloween, they called it “the boo-choo train!” How cute is that?!


A highlight at any zoo is seeing the primates; the monkeys, orang-utans, chimps and so forth; the Brevard Zoo is the only one I’ve visited that features the Siamang. This species looks to this layman something like a scaled down gorilla and I find them terribly interesting. They’re a type of gibbon and are native to Malaysia, Thailand, and Sumatra. They’re deathly afraid of water and can’t swim at all, so in that particular exhibit, zoo-goers are pretty close to the animals as the not-so-large moat is all that separates you from a siamang; there is no high fence.

There is an exhibit that features animals — and even botanical specimens — from the Caribbean and it’s no surprise that the zoo folk who designed this part of the park chose to wrap a pirate theme around it. I can’t remember any of the critters feature there, but here’s a couple of shots of mine that I like especially from the part of the park.


If you have small children, there is a splash pad here, right behind the pizza place. All zoos seem to have these, and it’s something parents of small kids like. They have a challenge course with very good and very high zip lines; that’s a fine addition, I must say. It is a separate business with a separate admission charge. You can do the zoo and not the zip lines or vice-versa. It’s a very full day if you or the kids opt for both. I did the zips and lived to tell the tale! They are NOT for the faint of heart! I just had to buy the tee shirt that says I got through the course!

One thing to add: I’m an annual pass holder and think it’s a very good value. If you’ve never gone that route, please know this: if you hold an annual pass to any accredited zoo, you receive half off when you visit any other one! I love that; it’s just one more reason to patronize a zoo in your neck of the woods.


Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile


Bob Evans in Melbourne Is a Not To Be Missed Dining Experience

Bob Evans in Melbourne Is a Not To Be Missed Dining Experience

There is a Bob Evans location in Melbourne right off I-95. The Wickham Rd exit to help you zero in on that unit. It’s a fine establishment and I recommend it without hesitation.

Let me say that I’ve been to three locations in this well-known chain and have never had a bad dining experience. But this is one of those times that everything went well. Very well.

I’m not the easiest diner to please; I spent many years working in the restaurant business and I know my way around the kitchen and the dining room. I really, really hate bad service. And, honestly, my visit two days ago to the Melbourne location was about as perfect as you can get.

I’m a creature of habit and often have one or two orders at a lot of the eateries I like; Bob Evans is no exception. I just love the Pot Roast. Had it again and it was divine.

The service I received was first-rate. Shelly, Jennifer and the management staff treated me like a king. I must say that it was not busy when I visited; I try to hit most establishments when they’re not blowing up. But good service is good service and it’s one of the reasons I like the B.E. chain so well and don’t mind saying so.

You’ll find that all Bob Evans are family-friendly and that the variety on the menu is very good. If you’re not like me and order lots of different stuff, your taste buds are not likely to be jaded for a while.

One other thing I like about this particular one: it’s right around the corner from the Brevard Zoo. I’m an annual pass holder to that very cool place and I’ll bet that a big chunk of their business comes from other zoo lovers. If you’re visiting the zoo or just find yourself in Melbourne, stop in. It won’t be your last visit.


Bob Evans ~ 100 Sheriff Way ~ Melbourne, Florida 32940 ~ Call 321 757 5014


Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Fave Fotos: My Pigeon Friend from Crane Creek Streaks By

Fave Fotos: My Pigeon Friend from Crane Creek Streaks By

I was very pleased with the pix from that visit to Crane Creek Promenade in Melbourne. The one featuring Pete the Pigeon doing Warp 10 right past my face just might be the best one from that afternoon.

I’ll let you decide. It certainly is a fave of mine.

This park is known for being a spot where one can spot manatees; I didn’t have the good fortune to see any of those guys, but had decent luck with the pigeons.

By the way, the wall art adorning the back wall of a business on the street where the park is located is not a part of the park itself. But you see the murals easily once you’re on the park grounds. I loved them. I’ll make a couple of them a part of this posting, too. You may have seen those pix already two posts before this one.

It’s way later than I thought. Time for me to make short work of a grilled cheese, power down this computer and get some shut-eye!


Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile


Fave Fotos: Crane Creek Promenade in Melbourne

Fave Fotos: Crane Creek Promenade in Melbourne


I’m on vacation right at the moment. Will visit some great settings for photography before I have to turn myself in next Tuesday.

I visited Crane Creek Promenade in Melbourne two or three vacations ago. Liked the pix I got while I was there.

Will be heading somewhere in the next day or two to get a new passel o’ pix! But at this moment I’ll enjoy a few from a previous photo excursion.

Photo credits Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Very Good Experience at the Days Inn in Melbourne

I booked the Days Inn in Melbourne recently. To be honest, it was 15 minutes away from my objective. That would be Cocoa Beach, my frequent weekend getaway. Rates for beach front hotels in the middle of summer are crazy. So I decided to try going just a bit down the road and try a more affordable way to go; that strategy worked well for me this time around.

Some of you may have read my previous blog entry about the Red Roof Inn near Busch Gardens in Tampa. That was a hellish experience from start to finish. But my stay last week at the Days Inn in Melbourne has restored my faith, so to speak, as far as choosing moderately-priced hotels when traveling.

There was nothing to not like about the accommodations. A clean and comfy room, of more than ample size and no issues with noise and such. The wifi was down when I first tried to log on. I called the front desk, they apologized and told me that the tech folk were working on it. When I tried again, all was well and I had many hours on problem-free web surfing.

Something that has been a problem for me in other bargain-priced hotels is not having the cable channel line up in the room. They did here, the remote was sitting on top of it. It may seem like a little thing, but it’s something I always notice. I have found so many other places where there’s an HBO guide but no channel line up. A real pet-peeve, good to see that these folks take care of the little things.

I asked them to trade out my wet towels for new ones pretty late-ish, around 9 PM and a staff member was at my door in about ten minutes with fresh towels. That’s good service.

The continental breakfast was better than most and the crew actually kept it very well stocked. I know because I came down near the end of the stated serving time. Another plus, even if it also seems like a little thing. I’ve been to plenty of places where if you’re not there at the time they throw down the chow, you’ll have to settle for one of those tiny muffins and a glass of watered-down orange juice. And the coffee was very good. And hot. Yay!

What I liked best about my stay was that all three of my personal interactions with staff were unabashedly positive and weren’t rushed or cursory. I don’t take it well when hotel staff seem to be trying mightily to get those guest interactions done as quickly as possible without the tiniest bit of a personal touch; that did not happen at the Days Inn. They were pleasant and unhurried and treated me like a valued customer and guest. Because I don’t experience that very often, it meant a lot to me. I highly recommend the Days Inn in Melbourne and will be staying there again without a doubt.