Monday, July 9th, 2012
For the past two and a half weeks, I was on the road with the kids (we left hubby home working for much of the time). In yesterday’s post I talked about traveling with the kids in a general way. We did SO much on this trip! We visited 18 family members who are strewn throughout the midwest. I did some research before we left and fit in some educational side trips as well. We had made arrangements to meet up with close friends in Arkansas for a week. Since we had such a long (3 day) drive to get there, I wanted to arrive early. I researched a few things to do and settled on a couple of things outside of Little Rock (we camped to the west of Little Rock) before we met up with our friends in northeast Arkansas. For those of you aren’t certain where Arkansas is, here’s a map (courtesy of wikimedia). The Toltec Indian Mounds is an archaeological state park that has attracted interest for more than 100 years. Mrs. Gilbert Knapp, who owned the site from 1857 to 1900 mistakenly believed the mounds were associated with the Toltec people of Mexico. It turns out that the people who built the mounds had a culture that was quite distinct even from other contemporary groups in the area. They lived in permanent villages, fished, hunted and gathered wild foods. The mounds served as religious and social centers for people living in the surrounding countryside. It was hot when we were there. Actually it was VERY, VERY hot, so we didn’t do a long trek around the mounds, but we did walk along the shorter path to check them out.
Below is an artist’s impressions of what the mounds would have looked like from 600-1150A.D. I have a terrific picture–except for the fact that it’s blurry. So we’ll have to settle for this one; sorry for the intense flash! What the kids really loved were the interactive activities. The ranger was wonderful with the kids and really taught them a lot. The museum had all kinds of animal pelts that the kids could hold and try to identify. The kids got to try out a dart gun, handle various tools, and grind and pound corn.
In the museum there was a really good explanation of how archaeologists work in the excavation sites. The kids looked through the various tools, pottery shards and other displays.
Overall we really had a great time there!
Tomorrow I’ll share another side trip we did… learning about the plantation culture in the region (another terrific state park)… well, that’s what I’m hoping! I’m still unpacking plus the kids have some activities this week that are keeping me racing around.
I hope you’re having a terrific summer! If you’ve been busy and haven’t stopped by lately, remember you can see a synopsis of my blog posts over at my Facebook page. Or, just come stop by over there to say ‘hi’ — I love that too!