As an official photographer during the 18th Annual Be A Tourist In Your Own Town event held last Saturday June 2nd here in Greater Lansing, I obviously saw a bunch of cool things. The most memorable though was not when I was downtown Lansing, surrounded by thousands of local "tourists"and not even as I waited in an ever-growing line of Spartan fans to tour some awesome campus history at Beaumont Tower. Nope. The most memorable moment I hadwas when I pulled into Fenner Nature Center. I didn't see a lot of cars, but I wasn't too surprised. With over 60 attractions now participating in Be A tourist, its not un-common to go to one spot and they are experiencing a temporary lull in the action as people hit otherattractions all over town, wait for busses, grab lunch, etc.

So as I walked into the nature center I thought that I was going to have some relaxing time alone in this awesome, scenic natural area. Sounded pretty nice. I could not have been more wrong. It was certainly nice but it turns out I was WAY off about being alone.

Muskrat at Fenner Nature Center in Lansing

Animals at Fenner keep you company while you enjoy some time alone.

As I crossed the parking lot I saw about 4 or 5 different birds flying from tree to tree. I get a little closer to the nature center building and a 3-foot snake made his way across my path, sending me nearly runningup a tree nearby, as I'm not a huge fan of serpents. I know, its not justified, they just have always creeped me out. Running out of the direction of the snake sent me around the corner of the building structure, back to the huge pond behind. Even though Im not a fan of snakes it was cool to get my heart rate going a bit with the scare, you know? So as Ibegan to chillout from that I thought the pond looked good, so I head over that way and I see a turtle about the size of a small pizza climb out from under a bush and plop into the pond! Right as Im thinking, "Good grief, how much wildlife can you pack into a 4 minute span?" I step onto this little dock area and look down over the edge and see this cute little guy, pictured here on the left, swimming right toward me! I didn't even know what it was at first. He looked like a super mouse of some kind, taking a dip in the hot afternoon sun. After he swam away I was thinking about how cute he was, and what he might be doing in the water and I saw all at once a bunch of little fish, frogs and tadpoles swimming around. I think he was doing his version of grocery shopping.The water, and the entire nature center was teaming with life, and here I was, thinking I was alone. The place was packed. It's just I was the only one wearing pants and speaking English.

Do you want a cool moment like this? Where you don't have to say a word and you can simply look around and see creatures of the earth enjoying their habitat? No cell phones, no interruptions, no tweets (except real ones from the birds). Consider this your invitation to check out Fenner Nature Center near the intersection of Mt. Hope and Aurelius road in Lansing.

Come get some of the busiest, most crowded peace and solitude you'll ever find.