Yes, I know. Most people head to Cape Cod or Florida for
Spring Break. What did we do? A road trip. All we needed was a Winnebago, but
we didn't have that. We had a minivan packed full with two parents, two grandparents, two kids and a loaf of bread and peanut butter. Still, what we
discovered was mind-blowing. Everyone needs to drop what they're doing and
visit these amazing sites. They will make you proud to be an American, and you
will go home with fluorescent rocks in your pocket.
The first is the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, Virginia.
Has anyone else been here? When we entered, we had only one enthusiastic member
of our party, my dad, the retired Naval Commander. When we left, we gave it a "Top
Ten" ranking for museums in the U.S. History comes to life there. I had
learned about the famous Civil War Battle of the Ironclads in my history classes, but I
didn't understand the magnitude of this event until the hands-on exhibits at
the Mariner's Museum. I felt part of the battle at sea while watching a movie
on this famous clash between the North and South. The Monitor's revolving gun
turret is housed here, raised during a 2002 expedition off of Cape Hatteras. See, amazing: http://www.marinersmuseum.org/uss-monitor-center/conservation-uss-monitors-turret-webcam
While exploring the museums many corridors, my daughters learned how to tie
sailor's knots, and lift cannon balls like those used by Admiral Nelson.
a whole new appreciation of the amazing characters who have graced my history
books of old.
All I can
say is, good thing his wife was "onboard" with his project. All this
for the low cost of $12 for Adults ($11 for Seniors/Military/AAA, $7 for
Children Ages 6-12, and Children 5 and Under are free.
And, while I'm on the topic of hidden treasures, the
Sterling Hill Mining Museum in Ogdensburg, New Jersey is another. http://sterlinghillminingmuseum.org
As they say, "There's No Other Place on Earth," and I am witness to
that. I am learning all about mines for a "some
day" novel I'm working on. Boy, was this the place to go. Bill K was our expert tour
guide. A geologist, civil engineer and all-around educator, Bill taught us all
about the life of the miners and, in this case, the
"glow-in-the-dark" fluorescent minerals they were mining. Would you
want to work down here? It was like taking a roller coaster ride to work.
While it was back-breaking and hazardous at times, it
was nothing compared to the dirty, dusty job of a coal miner. At least zinc mining is
relatively clean. Plus, we learned fascinating tidbits.
Look, this is how the miners
kept their clothes.
See all these beauties.
And just to add frosting to the
cake, everyone selects a rock to take home. Priceless!