Travel Adventures

What do Phyllis Diller, Honest Abe, and Kermit the Frog have in common?

February 28, 2009

Answer: They are all exhibits at the Museum of American History.

Oh how I love when school is not in session and we have the time to go do something fun as a family. Since we had a spring “like” day, we decided to head into Washington, DC to go to the Museum of Natural History. Here are a few highlights of our day!

MaMa and PaPa Buttercup wanted the kids to experience NEW things so we took a cab from the Metro Station…THEY LOVED IT!
new-experiences1
I, of course, was squealing with delight at all of the architecture as we drove through the city.
dc-architecture
cathedral
Is there any kid who doesn’t call this magnificent structure, the PENCIL?
monument2
Tulip was FASCINATED with the Abraham Lincoln exhibit. We spent over 45 minutes taking in all of the information in that room.
honest-able
lincolns-top-hat
I was fascinated with Phyllis Dillar’s shoes and…

Kermit the Frog.
kermit
Other Museum of American History highlights worth mentioning….First Ladies Ball Gowns, the flag that inspired our National Anthem, and exhibits on the history of African Americans and Jews in the United States. If you are able to check out this wonderful Museum, it is worth it at any age!

Beidler Forest - Petite Perspective Part 2/2

February 4, 2009

Yesterday I shared my perspective on the experience at Beidler Forest. I thought it would be fun to hear the Petite Perspective. I do SO love when the children have fun AND learn something at the same time.

First up…My oldest Tulip…
gaby-birdwatching

So Gaby, what is a SWAMP?


Beidler Forest According to Gaby from Shawn Stratmann on Vimeo.

Then we have the ever hilarious little daffodil sharing her thoughts on the world, while answering the same question.

What is a swamp?


Beidler Forest According to Julianna from Shawn Stratmann on Vimeo.

Oh my, the world according to Julianna…he, he.

For more information on the other South Carolina sites we visited:

Beidler Forest, Part 1
Bulls Island
Charlestowne Landing

Beidler Forest, South Carolina Part 1/2

February 3, 2009

Type of Trip: 1/2 Day Visit (2-3 hours). Hike through a swamp.
Who: Entire Family (best for children over 4)
Cost: $7 per adult.
Things to do: Bird watch, Wildlife watch–snakes, frogs, alligators. Walk/hike (guided or on your own), guided canoe trip, picnic.
Things to know: CLOSED on Mondays. Bring a picnic. Restroom available at the visitor center. Need comfortable walking shoes. Bring a camera. Bring binoculars (the visitor center also lends them to guests).

Back in December, our family vacationed in South Carolina for a week over the holiday. While visiting, we were gifted with wonderful, balmy weather, which gave us the opportunity to explore some interesting sites.

One of these sites was the Audubon sponsored Beidler Forest.
Established to preserve 1,800 acres of old-growth swamp forest, Beidler is a naturalist’s dream. A 1.75 mile boardwalk trail leads you through one of the few swamps that has remained untouched by developers.

Since we visited during the winter months, our experience was not as chock full of wildlife as a summer visit might yield. However, to see the swamp in a more “dormant” state was absolutely beautiful. The reflections of the huge Bald Cypress, were extraordinary.
beidler-swap

The size and age of some of the trees stopped us in our tracks. The oldest known tree on the sanctuary is approximately 1,500 years old!

huge-trees

Have you ever heard of a Cypress knee? The kids thought they were the coolest things…so did I.
cypress-knee1

cypress-kneea

cypress-knee

The day we visited it was very quiet. There were few people and few animals out and about. We did however see a snake (much to my dismay). The colors and sights were vibrant. I enjoyed taking pictures and listening to the…QUIET……during the 2 hours we visited.
spanish-moss

For more information on the other South Carolina sites we visited:

Bulls Island
Charlestowne Landing

Colonial Williamsburg - A History Lesson (Part 4/5)

January 16, 2009

Teaching Your Family About American History

stage-coach-ride

Type of Trip: Educational and Interactive.
Who: Entire Family (best for children over 5)
Arrived: 3 1/2 hours from Baltimore by car
Cost: Currently they are running some REALLY good winter specials. Check their website for details.
Things to do: Watch live demonstrations, participation opportunities, tour restored colonial homes, attend performances and reenactments. Great photo ops, garden tours, wonderful food.
Things to know: There is a lot of walking, wear comfortable shoes or bring stroller if kids under 5. Bring a camera. Not the best vacation for children under 4 (I know…we tried it). If possible, plan on visiting for two days. The middle of summer is HOT and HUMID in Williamsburg.

For additional Information on Colonial Williamsburg, check out their website. A wonderful resource, their website offers suggested itineraries, an interactive map, and a wonderful kids section. “click here”

For the last three years our family has had season passes to Colonial Williamsburg. If you only have one day, The Colonial Williamsburg website offers an excellent suggestion for a one day itinerary. I would add to their list, “Bassett Hall”, home of J.D. Rockefeller and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. This is a must see to learn how the vision of “Colonial Williamsburg” was conceived. Once I visited, Bassett Hall, I felt I had a much better understanding of the area and enjoyed my visits more.

One of my absolute favorite destinations is the Governor’s Palace Kitchen.

gov-mansion-kitchen

Here, you are able to see live kitchen demonstrations of food being prepared as it was during colonial period. I have spent over an hour (on multiple occasions) listening to the Colonial Kitchen experts.

williamsburgkitchen

And the food…is simply beautiful and smells wonderful!

cooking-in-williamsburg

Touring the different homes (Wythe House) is a highlight of my visits.

wythe-house

The gardens are a source of inspiration.

gardens

There are music demonstrations and character demonstrations throughout the city.

williamsburg-people

music

And many interactive opportunities for the children including old-fashioned bubble blowing and playing stick and hoop.

blowing-bubbles

hoop-and-stick

Don’t miss live performances with “Patrick Henry”, “George Washington”, or “Thomas Jefferson”. Also, the DeWitt Museum offers many children’s activities as well as one of the best “folk-art” displays. This past year, we were able to see Tasha Tudors doll house which was spectacular.

The best part of going back repeatedly to Colonial Williamsburg, is that each time, the children learn more about how America began. As many times as we have been there, we have only seen half of what is offered. Colonial Williamsburg will continue to be a family destination for many years. We will be returning in this spring to visit the gardens.

To read the American Family series click Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 5

Charles Towne Landing-Day 2 Charleston

December 30, 2008

Charles Towne Landing was the first European settlement in the Carolina province dated back to 1670. Our visit was filled with educational moments for the children and garden inspiration for me.

Type of Trip: Day Trip/Educational
Who: Entire Family
Arrived: 15 minutes from Charleston
Cost: $5 per person, children U5 free
Highlights: Living History demonstrations. “The Adventure” wooden boat floating in the water meant for boarding and exploration. A reproduction crop garden based on instructions given to Capt. Joseph West, leader of the Carolina expedition. A small zoo including wild turkey, bison, an aviary, and bobcats. Fortified area including a beautifully constructed Palisade Wall. The Legare Waring House and grounds.
Things to know: No food available in Charlestown Landing. Bikes are allowed. Free sturdy strollers are available with the exchange of a drivers license while in use.
Additional Information on Charles Towne Landing:

Charles Towne Landing “here”.
Legare-Waring House “here”.

indian

The park had an area demonstrating what a typical colonial settlement might look like in the late 1600’s.
settlers hut

Including the stocks (I think this might be the perfect solution to ending some of the sibling arguments–I wonder if I can pick up a set on ebay?)

stocks

A highlight of the day for the kids was to board “The Adventure” and explore this beautiful wooden vessel.
adventure

The highlight of my day was to study the reproduction colonial garden based on actual instructions from the time period.
colonial crop garden

Additionally, I enjoyed exploring the grounds of the Legare-Waring House. It was stated on a plaque outside of the home that the last owner saw herself, not as owner of house or land, but caretaker of God’s place. Mrs. Legare-Waring planted the Avenue of the Oaks on the property (looking out the front of the house), 40 years before she was able to enjoy the shade they provided. It is now one of the most beautiful spots on the property.

avenue of oaks

The home was equally as magnificent and is now offered as a wedding destination.

waring house

If you are planning on visiting Charleston,SC, and enjoy visiting parks with a historical offering, add Charles Towne Landing to your list.

Bull Island - Charleston Day 1

December 28, 2008

liveoak

Type of Trip: Day Trip from Charleston, SC
Who: Entire Family (best for children over 4)
Arrived: 30 minute ferry ride
Cost: $15 per child, $30 per adult for the ferry ride
Things to do: Bird watch, treasure hunt on beach, walk/hike, kayak (if you bring your own boat), picnic
Things to know: No food or drink provided on the island. One restroom on the island about 1 ½ - 2 miles from the beach. Need comfortable walking shoes. Bring a camera.
For additional Information on Bull Island click “here”

Our family spent six glorious hours on Bull Island. From the ferry, we hiked 1.5 miles hike to the beach. We had to stop over 20 times to enjoy our surroundings.

bull island marsh

Morning on the marsh.
boneyard42
Driftwood Treasures

Once we arrived at the beach we treasure hunted for hours finding some of the most beautiful seashells, sand dollars, star fish, coral and driftwood.
bull island seashells

yellow coral

starfish

driftwood

Our beach hiking destination was the “Boneyard”, named for the hundreds pieces of Live Oak left on the beach by Mother Nature. It’s Mother Natures sculpture garden.
boneyard

Fog crept into the “Boneyard” taking my breath away.
boneyard1

It was the perfect day. We enjoyed the Ferry ride, the long hike, and the bags of beach treasures we discovered.
bullislandfamily

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