Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Southwest!

Well, we have arrived. Here we are in the southwest and studying it like crazy these next couple of weeks. We are mixing in the Easter unit as well so to say our plate will be full is an understatement. Yesterday, we went to the zoo and had such a great time. We arrived before regular opening and enjoyed the peacefulness of the zoo, watching the zoo keepers care for the animal habitats, and being able to view the new orangutan exhibit with very little competition. We meandered through the rain forest area and headed to the southwest ( AZ Sonoran Desert) part. I have always enjoyed this part as all these animals are still fairly exotic to me. I love seeing the desert tortoise, rattlesnakes, coach whips, and gila monsters ( and yes I yelled Gee-la monster when I first arrived as well as JAH-valena and Sa-GUA-Ro_) Lord, have mercy!

We also observed mountian lions, a bob cat grooming itself, the rare Mexican red wolf, pronghorn, as well as prickly pear cactus blooming, prairie dogs and the sonoran toad. The desert is so beautiful right now with all of its blooming. Wow God, you are amazing! When you look at a desert, many people see cactus and brown but when you see how God dressed the cactus with a blooming period where they burst with vibrant pink, orange, yellow color...it's amazing. The wild flowers and poppies blooming at the base of the mountains is simply breath taking.

We also visited a railroad park! What a great experience. We had heard so much about it from others and were very impressed with the affordability of it, for a family our size, and all that he had to offer. We rode the train around the park, the kids rode an old fashion carousel equipped with a coach ( the younger kids and I rode in this) and Jay rode the horse behind us. Disney music from Mary Poppins and other older movies played beautifully around the carousel. It was so much fun! We also toured an old train that was like stepping back in time through the train station, seeing how the cars were organized with the guest quarters, the area where Franklin Roosevelt gave speeches and had held meetings, how the food was prepared, where they slept, went to the bathroom.

We also toured their newest addition, a model train building where the most extensive model train sets that I have ever seen were created and still being created. This opened 10 weeks ago and is free for the first year, fyi! The kids loved chasing the trains around the track and they rode in an old fashion trolley too!

Finally, we ate a picnic lunch when we first arrived and played on two different play structures. One was designed as a western saloon/general store/jail house. The kids loved running around it putting each other in jail, breaking free and making a run for it on the jail house roof. I even chased the kids with Hannah in tow around and around. I was laughing when Riah wanted me to crawl into the smallest hole with her. Many things I can do Miss Moriah, that, now that is now one of them. However, the three of us girls slid down the slide together and had a great time. It was hard to go but I think that going to the zoo will now equate making a stop at the train park too. It just makes sense considering how close the two are together and how far the zoo is from us.

We enjoyed reading and learning about the transportation that AZ used back in the late 1800s to early 1900s and how much has changed since that time. I enjoyed reading that Phoenix had quite an elaborate trolley system and for much of its earlier stages this is what helped develop and transport people back then, first by mules and horses and then by electricity. Overall, we had a great day- finished it off with a java chip frapp and made the drive home listening to Adventures in Odyssey all the way. I love homeschooling!

1 comment:

Hannahwoods said...

You are such an encouragement Amanda! Thanks for sharing and being so open with your life and experiences! I thank God for you! Hannah