Today was a long but fun day of field trips. We started out with a tour of the Maine State House. This week is Maine Home Education Week. We had a really wonderful tour with a bit of Maine history thrown in. Since the legislature was not in session we were even able to go in to the House and Senate chambers.
Our tour only lasted about an hour. There were a few school groups here today as well. It rained pretty hard in the morning and ruined our plans for a nice lunch in the park across the street. We improvised by eating in the foyer of the Maine State Museum-Archives-Library building. We had a generous two hours in between our tours so that gave us plenty of time for the kids to eat and work off some energy before heading to our next stop.
I have to say that our next step was a well-hidden treasure - something I would have never thought to go check out - so I'm very happy my friend Amanda suggested it. She was running a second group doing all these same tours today and had set this one up first. I copied and boy, I'm glad I did!
Our second stop was at Camp Keyes. It's a National Guard base near the State House. Our former pastor is now the full-time chaplain here and the contact we used to do this. It was fantastic!!!
We started the morning at the military museum. The curator was full of knowledge and when he found out we were homeschoolers, he told us he also does three hour classes on either the Revolutionary War or the Civil War for grades 4 & up. We'll definitely be looking in to that once we get to that point in history.
Then we headed in to Camp Keyes (the military museum is located just outside the entrance). We started out in the "arms vault." The kids were able to enter it and hold some real weapons. I should say that this is probably a boys dream field trip. LOL Every solider we met and that helped out on the tour was wonderful and willing to take the time to help answer questions any of us had.
From here we went to the highlight of the day - the simulator. This is where the soldiers are trained to shoot M-16s. They are real guns that have been retrofitted to be used with air and computers. There was only a very slight kick to them and even Happy fired them. Each child got 2-3 turns. I kicked Happy off at the end and took a turn myself. Conductor out-shoot me by one - he hit all ten shots and I missed one. Lego-Man met the standards set for the soldiers.
From here we headed over to the mechanics area. We saw the tool shop, the workshop, and so much more. We even got out in the "yard" and saw some of the big vehicles they use. Here's a couple shots to show just how big some of them really are:
More silly boys
and some silly girls this time
We were here for 1-1/2 hours and I'm sure we only scratched the surface of what was here. It was a lot of fun and I'm sure we'll try to do it again some day.