Friday, August 20, 2010

Adventuring with Lewis and Clark

If Ryne and Grace remember anything from history this year, it probably has something to do with Lewis and Clark. The explorers and their dog, Seaman, were a favorite topic of study. Since we live just a few miles away from the Missouri River, I knew we had to do a special field trip. Only there is not much in our area commemorating the expedition besides a statue and a few plaques. One of my favorite memories from childhood is visiting Fort Clatsop, but a trip to Oregon was a little out of our budget. I found a good compromise in the Lewis and Clark Boathouse and Nature Center in St. Charles, MO, just outside St. Louis.

Photo credit: Lewis and Clark Boathouse and Nature Center

Every year when planning our Michigan trip we say we'll stop in St. Louis on the way back home because the city is known for it's kid-friendly activities. But every year by the end of our Michigan trip we're too tired and just want to get home. So this year we planned to go to St. Louis first. The boathouse museum is definitely worth the trip. It is a small but beautiful building, loaded with neat displays. We watched a movie with breath-taking scenic footage that really brought to life what we had learned through our homeschooling. The museum staff gave the kids flyers with info and fill-in-the-blank questions that cover all the main areas of the museum. I thought the flyers were well-done and I'm sure my kids would not have paid attention as well as they did had they not had the flyers.

I especially enjoyed the gift shop, because as I've mentioned before, I'm a curriculum addict. : ) I was so tempted to buy this activity book -- just flipping through the pages it looked fabulous, although it might be a little old for Grace (the book says it's suitable for grades 5 -8). Instead of the book, we bought a coonskin cap. I'll just have to wait until the next time we study this period in history.

We also walked part of the nature trail, which winds along the Missouri River, but it was pretty hot that day so we soon turned back.

Next we headed to the St. Louis Gateway Arch. We rode to the top and peeked out the tiny windows, and decided -- yes -- it's pretty stinkin' high! But it's also a beautiful sight.

At the base of the arch is the Museum of Westward Expansion, which also had some wonderful displays. My crew was a little tuckered out by this point and grumbling about being hungry, but it was still an enjoyable experience.

Overall, we give our Lewis and Clark field trip two thumbs up. It was a great way to end our school year.


  1. Wow! We loved our L & C studies, but oh, how wonderful it would have been to cap off our unit with a fieldtrip like yours!! What a *fabulous* way to wrap up your studies, and what a memorable way to tuck another school year under your belt! Hope you have some time ahead now to rest well and dream of things not even remotely related to academia :)

    Happy weekending!

  2. That was one of our favorite studies, too. I'll have to look into the resource you mentioned when it's time for us to study L & C again. Cause I'm not a curriculum addict! lol
    Your pictures are all gorgeous, but the ones you took at the arch are amazing!

  3. Wonderful field trips. We had a great time learning about Lewis and Clark last year.

  4. Seaman is the read aloud around here, too! What is it that makes Lewis and Clark so fascinating to kids??

    Hi, Kelly--stopping in from Dawn's blog. I'm going to have to pour a cup of coffee and come over here to read for a while! :0)