Sunday, July 31, 2011

Creation Museum

Today we headed to the Creation Museum.  I've heard so much about it and my children were really excited to see it as well.  We arrived at opening time and there were already a lot of people there.  We were greeted by a large dinosaur outside.  

 The staff at the museum were very helpful and the site is impressive.  This is a model of a dinosaur that was found while digging for a line or pipe.
 There were spots around the museum that were geared for younger children, but a lot of the material is suited for older kids/adults.  Not that the younger ones won't have fun!  There is so much to see and just soooo much information.  We ended up pairing up and working through the museum at different paces and that worked well for us.
 There were hands on exhibits and lots of interesting stories.
 Visually fun and interesting!
 We learned some interesting new things and we appreciated that it all came from a Christian worldview.
 The Garden of Eden.
 No fear of the dinosaurs.

We spent some time in the outside gardens.  It was a beautiful and warm day.  This bridge was a lot of fun - bouncy!
There was a petting zoo with some interesting animals like wallabies.
Eliana was attracted to the goats.  She has seen these before.
She was terrified of the Zorse and Zonkey.  Yes, I typed it correctly - it's a cross between a horse/zebra and a donkey/zebra.  I should have gotten a better shot of their bodies so you could see the stripes.

Eliana having fun with her Daddy.

This bridge was great!  Very bouncy - especially when there are a few of you on it trying to bounce it.  We went over this a number of times.  :-)

We stayed until close to closing time.  It was a fabulous day and I would highly recommend a trip here.  (As well as to any of the other fun stops we made!)  Now it was time for a long drive home.  We stopped to pick up dinner after a couple of hours and then kept driving.  We arrived home very, very late - middle of the night.  It was good to be safely home.  

I'm thankful we were able to make this trip and we have a lot of fun memories from our time.  I'm ready to plan another long journey, but not sure when we'll be able to swing that again.  Its good to know that this works for our family.  I do love a good field trip and when you add in family and friends it just makes it all the more fun!


Friday, July 29, 2011

On to Springfield Illinois

As I mentioned in the last post, we headed out early.  We were expecting a 10 hour drive today and didn't want to get in too late.  As we were driving, we saw evidence of the flooding in this part of the country.  We drove over some heavily sandbagged roads.  (Not sure how those keep the water out, but they were working well.)  At one point, I saw a sign on a road parallel to the one we were on that said "Road closed".  Shortly after that, we saw a street sign sticking up about a foot out of the water.  It looked like a sign sticking out of a lake.  It was unbelievable.  A very real reminder to pray for the many that have been hurt by the flooding.

Here is how we made a long driving day work for us.  We stopped a few hours into the drive at a rest area.  This was a good place to stretch, go to the bathroom and get a snack.  A few hours later, we stopped at another rest area for lunch.  It was a beautiful day and a picnic outside was really nice!

While we were driving, I read aloud another book.  This one on Abraham Lincoln.  We also played some roadside Bingo and scavenger hunts.  I made up some cards and laminated them for the trip.  We used dry erase crayons on these!  They worked great though leaving in the car meant that they got softer than they should and we did have a couple of them break.

We arrived in Springfield in time for dinner.  I had found a Godfather's Pizza that served gluten free pizza!   I was really excited about this.  It was really nice too that it was just a few miles from our hotel!  We had a great dinner and then headed to the hotel for some rest.  We stayed again at the Hampton Inn Suites which is wonderful!

After breakfast the next morning, we headed to Lincoln's home.  Its a National Historic Site.  (I really love these places!)  We arrived in time to watch a movie in the Visitor Center (very well done) and get started on the Junior Ranger badges.
After the movie, it was our turn to tour Lincoln's Home.

We toured with another family with 6 kids.  :-)  Lincoln's name is on the door.

A ranger led us through the home and told us stories about the different rooms - things that happened there or stories about the family.  It was really very interesting.  This is part of the parlor.  I didn't take many pictures as it just wasn't easy to get in a good position for them.

This was Lincoln's desk in his bedroom.  Pretty wild to think of him sitting there.  Another thing I found interesting was the mirror above his washbasin - and how high it was.  Just evidence of it being used by a tall man. 
 Next we walked out to the street and saw a wagon that was used during his political campaign.  It was designed to look like a log cabin to reflect his roots.
 We listened to a costumed interpreter tell us about Lincoln's neighborhood.  He told us about various people that lived on the same street.  Stories about people are always fascinating.  We learned about people that differed with his ideas politically and others that agreed.  We saw where a stop on the Underground railroad was located too.
 A view of the street.

 Looking out from the porch of Lincoln's home.
 Our newest rangers being sworn in.  (I know its not a great picture, but its the best I have.)  This was the first site that actually did a swearing in for them.  

We had a picnic lunch on site and then headed out.  We had a much shorter drive today - just 5.5 hours.  I was excited because we planned to go through Parke County, Indiana - the Covered Bridge Capital of the World.

We saw our first bridge while still in Illinois and stopped to play a bit and look at the bridge.

 If you look really closely, you may be able to see what Daniel picked out at the gift shop.  Because its dark, its hard to see his new hat.
 Playing frisbee.
 A few more of the bridges that we saw.

We didn't drive out of our way to see many of them.  We'd all been in the car a long time and knew we still had quite a ways in front of us.  On to Kentucky.

Dinner and then hotel.  This time we stayed at Homewood Suites.  Really nice.  Great deal if you are going to the Creation Museum too!  More on the Creation Museum tomorrow.  We've been on the road now for 2 weeks.  Its hard to believe its almost over.  I'm thankful we have had this time!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More time in Nebraska

One more post on our time in Nebraska.  We had a great time hanging out with Roger's parents.  It was fun talking, playing games and being outside.  The time went quickly and it was hard to say good-bye.  

Everyone loved riding on this.  We even had one trying to plan on how we could have one at  home.  Not sure where we would ride it though.  

We visited Ashfall Fossil Beds while we were there.  Interesting thing is that we met a student from  NC State who had a summer job there.  Small world, huh?
I remember coming here many years ago when Christopher and Rebecca were small.  They had bones buried that the children uncovered using brushes.  There were charts above so that you could identify the bones.

This is part of the current dig site.  They have found many fossils of animals here.  It is fascinating to learn about what they have uncovered and to see the work in progress.

I just thought this was a beautiful view on the site.

Inside the museum/gift shop area.  Three generations.  :-)

Out on the farm was a great place to play air soft.

Group shot.
Sweet sisters.
I've wanted a photo like this for years.  The bugs flying all around made it too challenging though.  I will have to try another time.  Still think this one is fun though.
We got up early in the morning to leave the farm.  We headed out for one of our longest driving days.  More on that tomorrow as we head to Illinois.