Monday, January 18, 2010

Electronic Free Day

Where to start...The kids had the day off from school for MLK day. I decided it would be fun to do something different. As some of you know the kids missed five days of school due to snow and ice. We spent that whole week inside...the weather has decided to make a complete turn around. We went from single digit temps to 60 degree weather. While at Walmart on Saturday...I decided it would be fun to take the kids up to Hobbs State Park. We invited a friend to come along with us. The state park is located about 40 minutes away from our house. We packed our lunches and headed out.

Here's the link for the Friends of Hobbs. The park has a brand new visitor/nature center. The outside of the building as several ponds and streams that run to the back of the building to a huge pond. It's very beautiful. Inside the center...they have several things for the kids. They have a nice interactive nature center, a cave, reptiles and animals in cages on display. They do show a video that runs every 30 minutes about the state park. We didn't watch movie because the kids couldn't wait to get started with all the exhibits.

Landon and Logan looking into an exhibit about underground water in caves.

Leah and Hayley checking out the butterfly exhibit!

A really scary bat head...the kids loved this exhibit!

Hands on furs and skulls!
State of the art interactive cave!
After visiting the nature center; we decided to swing by the War Eagle Mill. I thought the kids would enjoy seeing a real working mill but I was really disappointed when we pulled up and saw a sign stating the mill was closed due to cleaning. The kids didn't seem to mind. The mill is very old. It was around before the civil war. The area around the mill is very pretty. The kids really enjoyed exploring the outside grounds of the mill.

Right next to the mill, is a very old bridge it's over 100 years old. I thought it would a great idea to walk across the bridge to the other side. Well, it wasn't long before we saw a truck coming up to the bridge. Oh, no...I told the kids to hurry up and run to get off the bridge. Once we made it to the other side...Hayley said " it's just like in the movie Stand By Me" you know the scene where the kids are on the railroad tracks over a bridge and a train is coming and they have to literally jump/run off the tracks to safe themselves from getting hit by the train. I just thought it was really funny of her to state that because I was thinking the same thing.

After walking back across from the bridge we decided to head down to river to throw rocks. The kids had so much fun. Just good old fashion fun.

Look at the size of this clam...I never thought you could find clams this big in Arkansas!
Landon found the clam in the water and decided to pick it up with a big stick. It was so slimie and grummy.
Logan found some feathers...he thought they would give him good luck.
Leah found tiny seashells and Hayley found fossils.

After the mill, we decided go to the Historic Van Winkle Trail to learn about some civil war history.
The kids were obsessed with the bathrooms at the trail. From the outside of the building they looked like regular bathrooms but they turned out to be fancy out houses. The kids were obsessed. They kept wanting me to come and look at the toilets which I didn't! The trail to the historic site is nicely paved and the rest of the trail is gravel. I pushed Leah around in her stroller without any problems.

Interpretive sign panels describe the historic home and mill sites of the Peter Van Winkle family during and after the Civil War
I had Hayley read all the information plaques.

Logan standing in the middle of old living quarters for the slaves that worked at the mill. The kids were very surprised that the Van Winkle family had slaves. Landon said something strange about them having slaves because of the king. What???? We will need to work on that one.

This site is a national register of historic places.

I was very surprised how much the kids ended up getting into this historic site. You would of thought we were at Disney World. The kids loved learning all about the Mill and it's involvement with the Civil War.
The kids were little archaeologists trying to put all the pieces together. This is part of the foundation of the old mill.
Like I said before all the kids loved learning about the this historic site and it's connection to the civil war. It's amazing how much fun it can be to learn about Arkansas history and Civil war when you can actually visit the sites. Logan is going to be a huge civil war buff. When can I sign him up for the civil war reenactments.
The final stop of the trip was a nature hike on the Shaddox Hollow Trail. I thought a nice short hike with the kids would be fun. The sign said it was 1.5 miles but it felt like 5. It wouldn't of been too bad of a hike if I hadn't had to carry Leah so much of the hike. I was exhausted by the time we finished the hike. This was Hayley's first time ever going on a hike. She loved every minute of it. Her mother was very surprised when I told her she loved it so much. The hike was so much fun. The trail winds along a creek bed, several old caves, and some very beautiful limestone bluffs.

The best part of the day was when Logan declared this was one of the best days of his life. The kids had so much fun. I was completely exhausted and went to bed around 7:00pm. The kids were so tired. We explored, we hiked, and we had a blast. If you're thinking about doing something different than check out Hobbs State Park.
Also, I just put in my application to become a NWA Master Naturalist. If I'm accepted into the program I will have to attend eight Saturdays learning all about Arkansas nature by trained professionals. I will have to volunteer to get my certification. I'm hoping in the future to set up my own children's education group exploring nature in NW Arkansas. Very cool... if you ask me!


banananutmeg said...

Lara! How exciting! I can't wait to take my parents to some of these places when they come visit this spring/summer.

lara said...

You can even visit a cave but it's closed for the winter.

Cindy said...

Those look like great places to visit!