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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

114. Exploring Smith Center

Exploring Smith Center was our last adventure on July 23.  Angel wasn't even sure she wanted to explore Smith Center because she grew up in Norton.  Norton Bluejays and Smith Center Redman are not friends and there has always been quite the rivalry.  However, exploring Smith Center led to discovering some pretty amazing sites.  There is a park in the center of town surrounding the Old Dutch Mill.  The mill was currently being used for a birthday party, so we could not explore inside, but the outside was absolutely amazing.  There also happens to be a fun playground and wooden train that the kiddos had fun playing with.  There are also wheelchair accessible bathrooms in this park.  This could be a fun place to spend several hours on a nice day.

Our adventure was quite a hot day, so spendung hours in the park was not an option.  It was perfect weather for a ice cream at Jiffy Burger though.

Our daughter was excited to find this surprise on the side of the hill.

113. Geographic Center of the US

How exciting that our adventure in Kansas this year could take us to the geographical center of the United States.  It happens to be in Smith County near Lebanon.  So, on July 23, our adventure took us to the center of the U.S.  There is a nice small park and historical marker at this location.  More impressive to us was a very small chapel and crosses at the site.  Our son loved "preaching" in the chapel.  There were only six small pews.  Maybe that is just his size of congregationn.  :)

Our daughter worked hard to get this picture.

112. Home on the Range Cabin

One of Angel's favorite adventures this far, was the Home on the Range Cabin in Athol.  This was part of our adventure on July 23.  What a treasure that has been preserved for history.  We are so lucky that someone realized it's importance and decided to keep it around (and in decent shape).  With so many houses falling apart, or having been torn down, it is a miracle.  Unfortunately, there was no one with us to break into song and completely serenade us on our adventure.

111. Exploring Kirwin

After visiting  Kirwin Reservior and National Wildlife Refuge, we decided to explore the community of Kirwin.  It is a small community, but there is still a lot of history when you drive around Town Square.  You can find historical markers about Fort Kirwin, Camp Kirwin, and Station 13.  You can also see a large, brick building in the square that once was the city office and fire department.  It is now the city office and library.  On the way out of town, we saw a sign pointing to the school and decided to follow it.  It probably led to the current school building, but we managed to find a one-room school along the way.  It is always fun to find interesting little pieces of history on our adventures.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

110. Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge

Our next adventure on July 23 took us to Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge.  This time of year, although hot, outdoor adventures are beautiful and green.  We were even fortunate enough to not get completely windblown.  However, to fully appreciate Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge, you should probably visit during migration season, so you can see the geese and other migratory birds that make it famous.

The observation deck had a great movable telescope, so the kiddos and Angel in her wheelchair could move it to where they could use it to see through and enjoy the scenery.

109. Dane G. Hansen Museum

Our adventure the weekend of July 23 started with the Dane G. Hansen  Museum.  It is hard to believe such a small town can have such a nice museum with changing exhibits.  While we were there, the exhibit was "The Curious World of Patents."  We got to see examples of many inventions we had never really considered.  There are also permanent exhibits of some artwork, Japanese artifacts, firearms, Mr. Hansen's office, etc.  Angel has been to the museum many times for things such as the annual Arts & Crafts Show, Kansas Honors Program, etc.  She had never spent much time exploring the inside of the museum and maybe should have before now.  There are some very interesting exhibits coming up that we may have to go explore.  Check out the website.

Permanent Exhibits
Check out the security guard taking such good care of the museum.