Saturday, September 12, 2009

Field Trip to Padilla Bay and Anacortes

One of the best things about homeschooling is being able to take field trips on beautiful days. I'm trying to take the kids on field trips most Fridays. Gabriel would ask to go somewhere every day if he could. But a mom has other things to do, too.

The autumn weather has been glorious the past few days, and I know that we have to enjoy it now, because pretty soon the rains will start and we won't see the sun till next summer. A trip up north to the beach was in order. We stopped first at the wonderful Padilla Bay Estuary Interpretive Center. This was the first time I have been there since I had kids. It seems small, but they really pack a lot of accessible education into a small space. We looked at creatures in the aquarium,

viewed slides of plankton under a microscope,

checked out the stuffed birds,

examined fossils and whale vertebrae,

learned about tides and eelgrass and other stuff. Gabriel liked the photosynthesis exhibit, since he is getting into molecules and atoms and chemistry topics.

They had a large area for younger children with plenty to touch and play with. I was impressed with the center, and we'll be back often.

After the Interpretive Center, we drove over to Anacortes to visit one of the beaches there, in Washington Park. We had planned to spend the afternoon there and have lunch, but the yellow jackets were so aggressive we had to pack up and move somewhere else. We ended up going down to Deception Pass State Park to spend the rest of the day. The weather was warm and there was no breeze, so the beach was really pleasant. The kids waded in the water and enjoyed the rocks and sand.

They ended up meeting some other children and playing till sunset. We found out when we were leaving that they are homeschoolers in the area, so we exchanged numbers and emails and hope to meet again when we go up north.

It was such a great day! We packed a lot of learning and fun into the day. It amazes me how many questions Gabriel can come up with when we have the time to talk and think. We covered topics as diverse as the color of the sky, the purpose of weigh stations, geography of the Skagit Valley, oil refineries, casinos and gambling (which led to discussions of debt and entertainment), and other things I can't even remember. I will have to try harder to get us home earlier, though.... but then again, we have to enjoy the days while we can, right?

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