I braved the DC driving once more this morning in order to take my kids to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. A weekday morning turned out to be a great time to go, as we practically had the place to ourselves. We met up with two other homeschool families and even had a tour guide to show us around. Being able to go and see things that most people only read about is the single best thing about being stationed in this area. Sometimes I think it is the ONLY good thing about being stationed in this area, but in any case it is pretty awesome.
We spent a good amount of time learning about the Wright brothers and their first flight. We were amazed to find out that there were only sixty-six years in between the Wright's first manned flight and the flight that landed Americans on the moon. Wow...one person's lifetime! Not to mention, we went from gliders to commercial aircraft in an even shorter time. I talked to the kids about perseverance. The Wrights did not succeed at first, despite pouring their hopes, dreams, and so much hard work into their design. They just kept it at it though, and in the end they made history.
Next we learned about Charles Lindbergh and the "The Spirit of St. Louis." He had so much fuel on board for his crossing off the Atlantic that he had no room for a windshield. His only way to look outside was to raise a periscope he had specially designed. What a brave man!
Amelia Earhart's plane was also on display, and we talked a little about her accomplishments and the mystery of her disappearance. Apparently there have been some new findings, and a research team is going to an island in 2013 to look for the wreckage of her lost plane.
My little ladies (and my big kids too!) especially enjoyed the hands on area where they could learn a little about the mechanics of flight. Once again, we practically had the place to ourselves!
We finished our field trip by learning about space travel. I even bought the kids some astronaut ice cream to try out. It was not that good. They enjoyed learning about the first chimpanzee to enter space, and felt very sorry for him as his banana pellets were not delivered as scheduled on the flight. Following his big adventure he came to DC and lived out his life in the National Zoo.