Yesterday, I told you why you should visit Discovery Park of America, and promised that I would share some more about our trip.
We had 2-day passes, so we didn’t rush getting there at the 10:00 opening time on Thursday. We got there just after lunch, at about 1:00. When we got there, the sky was filled with ominous-looking clouds.
And I was glad we had 2-day passes, because as soon as we got inside, this started happening outside. And it lasted, literally, the entire time we were there until the 5:00 closing:
So, we took that first day to explore the inside, and there is plenty to do inside!
We started off on the bottom floor, where we explored several museum areas. Because of all the history and learning opportunities, Discovery Park of America made a great homeschool field trip.
We saw an automobile museum with restored automobiles from 1910 on up to present day race cars.
We saw a large section of military history with information and artifacts from historical wars all the way up to modern-day items.
This is also where the boys got to sit in a helicopter and other military vehicles…
Chad, explaining how a canon works.
We kept going to see lots of Native American artifacts and history.
There was also a small area with some animals (they were feeding the salamanders while we were there, so they got to watch that), and an aquarium with fish that they could climb into a little observation area beneath. They loved this, but my 4 year old was a little freaked out by it! He kept swatting in front o his face when fish swam by and putting his hands on the glass to make sure it was really there.
Next, we moved up to the second level to look at all the “bones.” They had a lot of big fish and dinosaur skeletons. This museum area does teach evolution, but my kids can’t really read well yet, so we didn’t get into any of that.
Having fun with the big fish.
On the third floor, we saw some other historical things, particularly technology advancements, showing how technology has evolved over the years. We also saw some space exploration history and information.
Also, on the third floor was some weather and energy information, and some water fun:
When asked about their favorite part of Discovery Park of America, both my boys just kept saying “everything.” But when I pushed for a single answer, my 4-year old said “The thing I will always, always remember is that huge leg slide.” That was a hit!
At the bottom of the side, was a large play area. with lots of dress up stuff that my boys had fun playing with:
We also enjoyed seeing lots of historical toys there.
The second day was mostly clear with some sprinkles and light drizzling throughout the day. We really enjoyed exploring the settlement.
My boys have just been learning to play checkers, so they loved seeing this little set up.
We got to see lots and lots of day-to-day items that the settlers would have used.
My husband’s favorite part was this big tool shed with lots of old tools.
And, a well…
And a gristmill, where we got to go inside and see how the grain would have been stone ground.
Remember the bells, I told you about yesterday? Not just for kids…
Then, we visited the one-room schoolhouse where we saw the desks, set up, and rules of conduct for being a teacher, with some interesting rules! And, of course, the schoolhouse had a bell to ring as well.
Then, we did the tree maze in that light drizzling rain I was telling you about. On the second day. The first day was a downpour!
And we got to visit the train station and see the trains and be the engineer…
We saw lots of other stuff outside as well, like the freedom center, a barber shop, a firehouse, and a tractor museum of sorts. Finally, we headed back inside for the last hour and a half of our visit so we could do some of our favorite things again. This included sliding (of course!), and playing in the play areas with costumes and Keva Planks.
All in all, it was a great little getaway, lots of learning opportunities and very fun. As long as this is, I still couldn’t come close to covering everything! You’ll just have to go and see it for yourself ;) And, if you’re close enough to go several times, they offer annual passes as well. We all loved it and are already looking forward to going back next year.