Field Trip Week

We have been busy beavers this week. As our school year comes to a close, we have been wrapping it up with a week of field trips. Not that homeschooling isn’t one big field trip anyway, but we have been very deliberate about them this week.

On Monday we joined the zoo. We have found that family memberships for the zoo and the childrens’ science museum has been a much better value than paying by the day. You can cover the cost of the membership in about two visits, and it gives you the freedom to come and go for a year without feeling like you have to stay all day to get your money’s worth. My girls actually loved the zoo much better than I thought they would. We stayed about three hours, took our lunch, and took swimsuits to play in the splash pad. We went to the petting zoo and rode the carousel, which has exotic animals instead of horses. We had a special treat when we ran into a group of 3rd grade students from Lamar School in Meridian. Because we took our time, we didn’t get around to see all the animals before it was time to go home. We’ll probably go back tomorrow and finish up.

On Tuesday we went to the McWane Center, our hands-on childrens’ science museum. We go there regularly, but on Tuesday, we got to do something we have never done before. The Birmingham Audubon Society has recently opened an office inside the McWane Center. Along with their office, they have built a fabulous exhibit about birds commonly found in Alabama. We spent about thirty minutes with the Audubon Society’s educator, who taught Mary Anneliese eight common bird calls and how to listen for them in our yard. Mary Anneliese was fascinated, and has been reading a book about birds we got at the library. She just told me she wants to go outside tomorrow morning between 6:00 and 10:00 because that’s the best time to listen for the birds. Helena, the Audubon educator, is going to come to our house to do a homeschool program about the birds found in our yard. We are so excited!

On Wednesday I surprised the girls with a trip to Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park. Tannehill was originally a bloomery forge, which is a HUGE furnace used for smelting iron. It was built by slaves in the 1800’s. It has since been converted into a state park. It is an unbelievably beautiful piece of property, complete with camping and hiking trails. The girls loved the playground. On the weekends they have quilters, blacksmiths, artists, potters, and basket weavers who demonstrate their craft. Wish we had been able to see them, but they aren’t there during the week. Mary Anneliese wants to go camping there sometime. This field trip might have backfired on me. I’m not really the camping kind of girl!

When we woke this morning, we were all too tired to do another field trip today. We slept a little late and are hanging around the house. I have housework to catch up on and groceries to buy. We are going to get naps on time and go to bed on time. Then we’ll be ready to go back to the zoo tomorrow and see the animals we missed. I’m so glad my girls like to get out and see the world as much as I do!

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