Tag Archives: field trips

Wright Brothers stop ~ Mega Field Trip

One of the things we wanted for this mega field trip was to not be too rushed with stops and to stop at several things along the way that caught our eye. Well, I had totally not looked ahead to see that we would be going through Dayton, Ohio, and thus could make a stop at the place where the Wright Brothers got their start. We realized it as we drove across and saw a marker for the birthplace of one of the brothers. We were unable to get to that museum – the road was out and we had no idea how to go around AND it was a day the birthplace was closed. BUT, we did note that we could go to the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park was in Dayton and we were going right through. So, we stopped.

It was quite rainy and that really interrupted the stop, as the park is in several locations and partially outdoors, but we still enjoyed ourselves. We visited the main location where the indoor museum is, as well as taking a quick peek at the bicycle shop and a stop by where their home had been located.

The museum focused on the lives of Orville and Wilbur but also Paul Laurence Dunbar, who was a writer and about the same age as the brothers. They all sort of strengthened each other and helped their own creativity grow. Working together was a boon for all of them. The museum talked about all three men and we learned a lot. There were a good number of hands-on options to help learn a bit about the way flight works. There was also a very good movie that taught us a lot about the lives of the Wright Brothers.

Printing presses, airplanes, bicycles, attempts, failures, business, and more – all of these things run through the museum and the lives of the Wright Brothers. The home life of the Wright Brothers strongly influenced their ability to move forward and to see the benefit of each failure or restart they had to make. They were persistent and many people admired that. It was a good trait for them to have.

One thing that I learned about them is just how scientific they were about their models. I knew they had tried things out in a bunch of different ways but I was fascinated to read and see how they worked on things in an extremely regimented and scientific manner – carefully observing and changing little things to see how they affected the project they were working on. Then adding up those little changes to make a working airplane.

It was truly a fascinating stop. There was a temporary exhibit there on parachutes, as well. So we spent some time learning about how parachutes work, some of the people who worked on parachutes, some of the most famous parachuters, and a bit more. There were some interesting hands-on activities to help them think about concepts necessary to a successful launch and use of a parachute.

We did not go out to the airstrip where the Wright Brothers did their test runs because the rain was getting heavier. I wish we could have but we had to move on. A stop for another time, right? Keep that wish list running. đŸ™‚

Blessings,
At Home.

Texas Bucket List – Z: zoos ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

Z

Z can be an interesting letter to try to find something for and there were some options but nothing that I really thought “ooh, I’d like to do that” except for zoological parks. I enjoy visiting zoos and animal habitat places. So, I thought I would just quickly mention a few that are found here in Texas. Some I have been to, though it has been a few years for a couple of them; some I have never visited but dream of visiting. Kind of all over the place, you know?

Cameron Park Zoo – I have to start with local, you know! The Cameron Park Zoo is quite fun and they have done a great job with the animal enclosures there. It is not a huge zoo and the price is not huge, either. We can go and spend a couple of hours and see just about everything. We really enjoy the orangutans and the giraffes, the aquariums (especially the Brazos River exhibit) and the birds. It is a paved walk throughout and we always enjoy our visit to the buffalo or the bears, the otters and the rhinos. The otter slide is lots of fun, though the girls are just about all too big for it. The otter slide is a clear slide the kids can slide down that goes through the water of the otter exhibit, so they feel a bit like they are playing with the otters. There are so many neat animals at the Cameron Park Zoo that we always enjoy our visits.

Fort Worth Zoo – I have not been to this one in quite a while but loved it the last time we went. Their animal habitats were very well done and the way the exhibits were was quite different. I do remember this zoo being a bit more pricey but it was a fun visit when we went.

Dallas Zoo – Again, I haven’t been in a while but it was quite the experience. The habitat areas are extremely well done and the animals are grouped somewhat by the part of the world and the habitats they live in. It was a very expensive zoo and several of the areas had additional expenses if you wanted the full experience. Still, we enjoy the zoo very much when we last went.

Houston Zoo – I have not been to this zoo and I don’t know anything about it, except what I could find on the website. So, maybe this one needs to be on my personal bucket list, right? I mean, the whole point of this ABC listing was to find new places to visit, so I’ll add this zoo.

Texas State Aquarium – This was a marvelous place to visit when we went about 3 years ago. The dolphin exhibit alone was amazing, with its underwater viewing area and up close seats for the dolphin show. There was a shark petting area for small sand sharks and you could also touch some rays. The sea turtles were amazing and there were plenty of additional animals to visit. This one is a place I want to go back to.

Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park – When we visited this aquarium with the girls years ago, it was inexpensive and just right for smaller children. The small aquariums had fish and other animals that they could easily see. For the tanks that were high for the kids, there were step stools. They had touch tanks set up for them, as well. It was a fun aquarium to visit with younger children.

Sea World San Antonio – It has been a while since we last visited Sea World and when we did, it was on homeschool day. Y’all know about this right? Our tickets were just a few dollars each and we had access to the park for about 6 hours. The rides were not open and they did not do the orca show, but I think everything else was open for viewing. The dolphins were the girls favorites. Well, maybe – the penguins were well loved, too. It was worth the long drive to visit and not have to pay hundreds of dollars. I would enjoy going back sometime. Maybe . . .

There are plenty of other zoos, aquariums, and wildlife parks in the state. These were just a few that I knew about. Abilene and Tyler both have zoos. There is a wildlife park of some sort up by McKinney. There are a couple of different wildlife safari parks. There are lots of options if you are looking for animal places to visit in Texas.

Blessings,
At Home.

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This is a weekly series and will be linked weekly with the Blogging Through The Alphabet co-hosts:
Amanda at Hopkins Homeschool
Kirsten at Doodle Mom
Jennifer at Worth a Bowed Head
Kimberley at Vintage Blue Suitcase
Desiree at Our Homeschool Notebook
Markie at My Life As Mrs. Cooks
Hilary at Walking Fruitfully

Conner Prairie ~ Mega Field Trip

Conner Prairie

For several years, I have been looking for an opportunity to visit Conner Prairie, thanks to Home Sweet Life. Carol, the author at Home Sweet Life, and her family have volunteered at Conner Prairie for years and so I have been following all of her posts.

Conner Prairie is a living history museum located just north of Indianapolis, Indiana. There is an admission price to this museum and it gives you access to almost everything on the site. You will find several areas to visit that represent different times in history, specifically Indiana history.

1836 Prairietown
1863 Civil War Journey
Lenape Indian Camp
Animal Encounters
William Conner House
Treetop Outpost
. . . and more.

Our first stop was, well, the gift shop. But after that, we visited the Lenape Indian Camp. We listened to stories told and watched while a man worked on beading. He talked with the girls about how the Lenape got beads, where they came from, etc. He also showed them the technique he used to attach beads and create the difficult patterns he was making.

We visited the animal encounter where we saw several different animals – sheep and goats mainly. These animals are special breeds (heirloom breeds?) and are very lovely.

We visited Prairietown where we saw the school and the potters and several other places. The school was one of my favorite places because the school teacher was very knowledgeable. She was able to answer all of the girls questions and tell us about how much of the town worked and the students learned. I was interested in the math triangle that was used. I also really liked the discipline policies, very family based.

The weaver’s shed was really interesting. The lady working there had a younger girl working with her. They both shared about the textiles they were working with and what they were doing. It was really interesting. Miss E was really interested in this part and happy to stay there for as long as she wanted. Miss J was more interesting the potters. The young ladies working there were creating ink wells and talking about how they did their work. The kiln was going to be fired in a week or so and they had quite a lot of items ready to be fired. Lots of questions came from that stop. Miss L really liked seeing the butterflies in the garden. đŸ™‚

The treetop outpost was fun, with lots of exploration and hands-on activities. Miss J really enjoying this part, as well. Up and down and up and down. Miss E found the library at the bottom of the treehouse and stayed there for a while. Miss L spent some time with the giant building blocks and items.

The Civil War journey turned out to be interesting. This area had some technology built in and was fun. It covered the invasion of a group from the south and how they plundered a large area. There was a home there that incorporated some recorded video and audio that tells of how the invasion affected the family. There was a hospital building where the young man talked about much of the medicine available at the time. He also talked about how many soldiers had to have amputations to save their lives. He walked us through what an amputation would have been like. Um – almost too much information for me! One of the buildings included a recorded presentation that showed three different perspectives of the war.

The William Conner house stands overlooking the prairie that the area is named for. The home is furnished and has a number of interesting items. There are several interactive areas – in the kitchen there are spices to sniff and see if you can identify, in one of the rooms there is a building table where you can choose how to settle the land, there are letters to look at and trunks to explore.

I am certain I have left a ton out of this day long visit. It was a neat place. We go to meet Carol from Home Sweet Life (I was so excited!) and she acted our own tour guide. It made the day absolutely wonderful and interesting.

Blessings,
At Home.

This is part of a series titled Mega Field Trip.

 

Texas Bucket List – X: eXtra place to visit for W ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

X

I couldn’t think of an X and I had too many W places I wanted to share so I decided to share another W place with you, since I had eXtras. đŸ™‚ I know – it is pushing it. I’m okay with that today.

Sweetwater, TX, was one of the sites for the training of female pilots during WWII. The female pilots played important roles in the defense of America and freedom around the world during that time. They may not have been in direct front-line combat but they experienced many losses and contributed much needed help and experience.

In Sweetwater, there is a museum dedicated to these female pilots from WWII. They were called WASP. Women Airforce Service Pilots lived and trained in the barren area of west Texas at Avenger Field. This site how houses the National WASP Museum in one of the old hangars.

A visit to the WASP Museum does not take too long but it is very interesting. You can see more of our visit in this post I shared with you a couple of years ago. I also shared a couple of books with you about it – one is Flying Higher and is biographical in nature and another was fiction but interesting titled The All-Girl Filling Station. The WASP program figures in Secrets in the Sky by Melinda Rice, a juvenile fiction story about a young girl in Sweetwater who befriends some of the lady pilots. We used it as a read aloud several years ago and really enjoyed it.

Blessings,
At Home.

Mega Field Trip

Mega Field Trip

We returned a couple of weeks ago from a mega field trip and we had such a good time. We spent three weeks (almost) on the road, stopping at interesting places we found in between a couple of scheduled places. This trip was a few years in the making (and saving for) but it was definitely worth it.

In the coming weeks, I will be sharing with you a number of the stops we made and encourage you to find your way there if you are ever able to. We do not regret a single stop.

Our only disappointment is that Hurricane Michael’s path altered the last few days of our trip. We had planned to return home along the Gulf Coast from central Florida. When we saw the anticipated arrival and place of landfall, we decided to change our plans. We headed farther north and then across so that we were out of the way of those who were making emergency plans and trying to evacuate. It is sad that the next time we are able to go through those areas they will look nothing like what we would have seen. However, we are safe and we did not disrupt those trying to get to safety. And that is what mattered.

So, here are a few of the places that I’ll be sharing about in the coming weeks, so you can look forward to them:

  • Conner Prairie
  • Wright Brothers Museum
  • Colonial Williamsburg
  • Pocahontas State Park
  • Washington, DC
  • beach in Florida
  • New Bern, NC
  • and more.

I hope you join us as we recall some of the times we enjoyed on our meanderings.

Blessings,
At Home.

Texas Bucket List – W: Washington-On-The-Brazos ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

W - Washington only

Last summer, At Home Dad and I visited the “birthplace of Texas.” It is called Washington-On-The-Brazos. It is the city of Washington which happens to be located on the Brazos River. We enjoyed it so much that we went back and took the girls. It was a fantastic history experience for them.

There is a little hall there that has been recreated to be like the original site of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence. There is fantastic visitor center that houses an exhibit about the declaring of independence of Texas from Mexico and how those years as an independent nation went. Then it covers the period until Texas became a state of the United States of America. It is a well done exhibit that really shares the history, people, and artifacts that bring history to life.

The delegates that met in Independence Hall were important men from a wide-spread area. They came and participated because they wanted to do what was right and have a say in getting things set down well. These 59 men and the work they did in creating a Declaration of Independence and Constitution are often overshadowed by the fall of the Alamo, as they occurred within days of each other. However, they were a part of the same fight for freedom that the people of Texas were fighting. So many people played a part in this fight for freedom and this exhibit showcased a lot of them.

On site, there is also the Star of the Republic Museum. It houses and exhibits thousands of artifacts from the period of Texas as an independent nation. The artifacts are fascinating and the history that accompanies them is well done. The purpose of the museum is to “collect and preserve the material culture of the Texas Republic (1836-1846) and to interpret the history, cultures, diversity and values of early Texans.” There is a chronological history of Texas, with artifacts to support each part. The second floor showcases different styles of home and the affluence of different people. There are also artifacts from different professions, past times, and necessary items. It is fascinating.

If you want to see a living history site, you can also visit the Barrington Farm. It is a reproduction of a farm from the end of the time of the Republic of Texas. It is based on the Anson Jones family. Dr. Jones was the last president of the Republic of Texas and this was his home. It is worked authentically with people dressed in period clothing. We were a bit disappointed in this site but it could have been because the people were all busy with a school tour. It was interesting to look through the authentically furnished dog-run cabin, see the gardens, the smokehouse, and other buildings needed to run a farm.

Washington-On-The-Brazos is a great site to visit. Take a picnic lunch, walk some of the grounds, explore the museums and sites, and drink in the Texas outdoors. A definite recommmend!

Blessings,
At Home.

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This is a weekly series and will be linked weekly with the Blogging Through The Alphabet co-hosts:
Amanda at Hopkins Homeschool
Kirsten at Doodle Mom
Jennifer at Worth a Bowed Head
Kimberley at Vintage Blue Suitcase
Desiree at Our Homeschool Notebook
Markie at My Life As Mrs. Cooks
Hilary at Walking Fruitfully

Texas Bucket List – V: Valley of Dinosaurs ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

V

Texas is not often one of the places where people think of right off when it comes to dinosaurs. But, there is actually a very large area of Texas where you should think of dinosaurs. It is often referred to as the Valley of Dinosaurs but is maybe better known to people familiar with the Park Service as Dinosaur Valley State Park.

Located in Glen Rose, TX, this is an area where lots of dinosaur tracks have been well preserved. Along the Paluxy River, there are sauropod tracks and theropod tracks in the mud by what is believed to have been an ancient ocean. When the river is not too high, you can walk along the river and walk in the tracks left by the dinosaurs. Some places, you can go swimming and cool off from the hot sun.

When we went, it was September and still blazing hot. We waded in the river and walked along the tracks. It was a fun experience and gave us opportunity to discuss the truth of God’s word in relation to modern science with the girls. Many of the signs in the park refer to “millions of years ago” so just know that going in so you can speak truth with your children.

There are five sites within the park that hold tracks. This gives you a lot of viewing opportunity and some good hiking, as well. It is a lovely park. Take a picnic and enjoy the day. It was a good trip. Maybe it is time to visit again.

Close by is Dinosaur World and Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, both places I would enjoy visiting.

Blessings,
At Home.

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This is a weekly series and will be linked weekly with the Blogging Through The Alphabet co-hosts:
Amanda at Hopkins Homeschool
Kirsten at Doodle Mom
Jennifer at Worth a Bowed Head
Kimberley at Vintage Blue Suitcase
Desiree at Our Homeschool Notebook
Markie at My Life As Mrs. Cooks
Hilary at Walking Fruitfully

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