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Monday, February 21, 2011

31. Fort Hays State Historic Site and Buffalos

Our adventure this weekend took us to Fort Hays State Historic Site.  We have been to the site before without the kiddos, but this was the first time we had been since they have made some major improvements.  The first part of the tour started with a video that told us about the history of the Fort. 

Then, the guide took us inside two different homes/quarters.  The second was not wheelchair accessible, but the curator brought out photos of the inside of the house so Angel could "view" the inside.  Along the trail, there were placards and statues representing each of the other buildings that had been part of the fort. 

Inside the building that housed the jail, we had fun checking out the inside of a jail cell and listening to recordings of different individuals meant to represent different people who had been part of the history of the fort.  The kids got to try on soldiers uniforms and check out the "Who Am I?" display to find out about the character on their ticket.  We were interested to read the prices and find out the price of canned peaches was not all that different from today.  We were serenaded by a bugle and also by Angel's cousin and uncle singing "Home On the Range."  It was absolutely gorgeous and an experience all of you should have.

On our way out of the fort we checked out the buffalos across the road.  They were all huddled together in their corral away from the road (it was probably to cold for them).  We'll have to come back and check them out in warmer weather.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We won the January basket from Kansas Originals

We were surprised to arrive home and find we were the winners of the January gift basket from Kansas Originals.  Before it was even opened, Angel said, "I sure hope there are sunflower cookies in there."  Well, there were sunflower cookies and snickerdoodles, so everyone was happy.  There were also tons of other yummy items.  We love being able to sample all the yummy food.  So, thank you, thank you, Kansas Originals Store.  Everyone should head over there to pick up some yummy food (Angel says especially Sunflower Cookies and Sunny Seed Drops)

30. Exploring Downtown Hays

Our exploration of downtown Hays led us to many exciting places.  We had lunch at the Soda Shoppe.  It is a fun place to eat and has great lunch specials Monday-Friday.  We just happened to be there on a Saturday, but if you can go during the week, do it.
Downtown Hays has a wide variety of stores and you can definitely find something you are interested in.  We looked at antique shops, music, gifts, Christian books, etc.  We were saddened to find the Good Book Store in closing.  It was always one of our favorite places to stop in downtown Hays.  The arcitecture on the buildings is interesting to look at as you walk along.

There is also an interesting historical walk downtown.  There are informative placards along the road in the historic Chestnut Street District.  It was fascinating to read about what Hays was like in its beginning.  It was saddening to read about violence and death on every stop along the way.  Our daughter was frustrated that there was so much violence in early Hays.  Guess that is why they called it the wild West.  I am sure things will be just as shocking, if not more so, when we get to visit Dodge City and read about all the history there.
We noticed that Hays is yet another city where the snow is not swept from the curb cuts.  In fact, sometimes it appears to be piled there.  Maybe snow removal workers should spend some time in a wheelchair and to see what areas need cleared off.

It was an exciting moment for us to discover that a new insect has been discovered at Ft. Hays.

29. Sternberg Museum

Our adventure took us to the Sternberg Museum.  After seeing fossils discovered by George Sternberg earlier this year, it was nice to visit the museum named after his family.The museum has three levels. The first level is only the admission desk, gift shop, and meeting room.  There are elevators available to take you to the next two levels.

The second floor is full of fossils, Journey to South Africa, and Exploring Earth Science. (Our daughter loved this part because it was full of rocks.)  We learned why the  Blue Hills are named that way.  They are full of Carlilse Shale, some of which is Blue Hills Shale, but it is not necessarily blue in color.

The temporary exhibit and Hanson Gallery are also on this level.  At the time of our visit, the Gallery held an exhibit of John Cody's moth paintings.  Even our daughter, who is deathly afraid of moths, enjoyed looking at the paintings and thinking about doing her own art.

The temporary exhibit was all about dinosaur's beginning of life.  There were several exhibits about different kinds of dinosaur eggs and some fake digs where the kids could dig up eggs.  One great thing about the Sternberg Museum is how hands on some of it is and kids can really explore and get into science, not just look at exhibits while keeping their hands in their pockets.

The third floor is the kid's favorite.  There is a great diorama with animatronic dinosaurs that move and roar.  You are even warned "not to feed the dinosaurs."  There was a great fossil dig area for the kids to experience the excitement of finding fossils.  And, their favorite place is the Discovery Room--a place just for them to explore, touch, and learn all about science. We hear there is an outside exhibit in the works and cannot wait to come back and see it and whatever new traveling exhibits come to the museum.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

28. Hays Public Library--Photo Journey of Hays

The 150th Birthday of Kansas happened to fall on the same year as the 100th Birthday of the Hays Library.  So, for the month of February,  the library is having a phographic journey of the history of Hays and the library.  It is so well done and we learned things about Hays we did not already know.
In one of the photos, there was a picture of a statue that was given to the library at its beginning.  We went on a search of the statue.  We found it on the second floor in the stairwell by the children's area.  Our exploration of the library led us to find all kinds of interesting things.  There is a Kansas room in the basement and all kinds of activies for kids of all ages. 

The children's/young adult section of the library was full of energetic kids of all ages running around, looking at books, and enjoying the activities that the library provides. They were even holding chess lessons while we were there.   I think the environment was a bit overwhelming for our son.  He really stuck by our side and did not even want to go play on the castle playset.  Our daughter said the kids were not all acting appropriately.  We are glad they love books and libraries, but also know what behavior is acceptable.  It is exciting to see a library so busy and full of kids having fun.