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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Visiting Great-Grandma Shirley

While one girl was at zoo day camp yesterday and today, the other girl spent the morning with her Great-Grandma Shirley.  Here's Julia, getting a cuddle outside the front of Great-Grandma's cottage.
 And here's Evelyn, hanging out with her great-grandma, after going for a stroll past the other cottages.  The girls are looking forward to visiting as much as they can over the next couple of weeks!

Henry Doorly Zoo Day Camps

Both girls chose the "Just Chillin'" day camp at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, each with their respective age groups.  Evelyn went yesterday . . .
 . . . and Julia's camp day was today.  Who could complain about spending over six hours at the zoo, getting a behind-the-scenes look at how animals are cared for?  Especially at one of the best zoos in the world?  Not these girls - they loved their day camps.  You can tell by their smiles at the end of the day!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Road Trip Activities

What to do on a four-day, 1,400-mile road trip?  Summer school work (as well as reading, not pictured) . . .
 . . . sleep . . .
 . . . and watch movies (only one movie per day, though).

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Jefferson National Expansion Junior Ranger Badges

As promised, we girls returned to the St. Louis Arch this morning, Julia's and Evelyn's Junior Ranger booklets in hand.
 Both Julia . . .
 . . . and Evelyn started working on their booklets right away.  They had to search the mural for clues to answer questions about the architect, workers and how the Arch compares to other national monuments.  The girls continued to complete activities by walking through the museum, which was really quite fascinating - the girls physically got tired of walking before their interest waned.

Ta da!  Mission accomplished!  Congratulations, girls!

Friday, June 27, 2014

The St. Louis Arch!

This evening's destination:  the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.  This is also known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial . . . which means the girls were on a quest to earn a Junior Ranger badge (of course!).
 How big is the arch?  Quite enormous - there's my little Peanut, standing at the bottom of it.
 I scheduled an evening ride to the top so we could be up there while the sun set.  Here are the girls, waiting to ride in our pod . . .
 . . . and here they are at the top!
 Julia and Evelyn thoroughly enjoyed looking out of the narrow little windows at the top.  I think the only thing that encouraged them to finally go back down was the fact that it was well past their (east coast) bedtime, and they were getting tired.
 Two happy girls, in the pod, on the way back down to Earth.  As we left the Arch this evening, Julia and Evelyn picked up their Junior Ranger booklets, hoping to get a head-start on the activities before we come back tomorrow morning.

Wilbur Wright Birthplace

Shortly after crossing the Ohio/Indiana state line, I saw a billboard advertising Wilbur Wright's birthplace.  Over the past couple years, the girls and I have visited all sorts of Wright Brothers sites, but we hadn't been to this one, yet.  We also had extra time to kill before arriving at tonight's destination (St. Louis and the Gateway Arch) . . . so why not?  The birthplace was definitely off the beaten path - it was an interesting driving through the country north of the interstate - but worth the stop.
 We spent about two hours looking around, starting with the house.  The house that is currently standing is a replica of the 1860's house, which was condemned in the 1930's due to neglect.  When rebuilding and furnishing the house, special care was taken to stay historically accurate to the time Wilbur Wright lived there - from his birth in 1867 until he was about 18 months old.  The girls enjoyed looking at the artifacts from when Wilbur was a baby and imagining which room his family did various activities.
 In addition to the replicated house, there are a couple of outbuildings to visit - a barn with fake animals and information about farming in the 1860's, as well as a small hangar with a Wright Flyer replica.  The hangar had a model of a section of the Wright Flyer, so the girls could feel what it was like to try to steer their first airplane.
 Visiting Wilbur Wright's birthplace was a good culmination of everything they have learned about the Wright Brothers so far.  A lot of what we saw was review (but still fun and informative), and we learned a few new things about the Wright family.  All in all, a great place to visit . . . even if it is slightly off the beaten path.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Road Trip to Niagara Falls

Who's ready for a road trip to Nebraska?  These girls!  The car was packed, ready to go, last night.  This morning I packed a picnic-style lunch and added the finishing touches to a month's worth of packing.  We were ready to go by 7:30 a.m., with today's final destination being Niagara Falls.
 We found the massive waterfalls after dinner this evening.  Since we were pressed for time (and I hadn't brought along anyone's birth certificates or passports), we stayed on the United States side.  We had an awesome view from the observation deck that sticks out over the river . . .
 . . . and we also hiked around the smaller islands that are above the falls.  I couldn't believe how close to the edge of the waterfall we could get - I'm sure Troy would have had a heart attack, seeing the girls so close to the edge.
We had a fabulous evening at Niagara Falls - a perfect place to watch the sun set.