Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Frederica

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Wednesday May 11, 2011 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, National Parks, Travel

We drove to Florida for the Disney Cruise (see May 8th post for review). On the way down we spent a day in St Augustine’s (see future post for the entire day). Part of the day included a visit to the Castillo de San Marcos. You never know how much imagination you are going to have to use when you visit a fort or battlefield. Will the battlefield be just a grassy area now? Will the only thing that remains of the fort be a few blocks if even that? You did not have to imagine much here. This fort was great and still intact. The kids got to hear information about the fort from a park ranger, watch a movie about weapons used in the fort, and see the barracks and the magazine. One of the highlights was seeing the cannon being fired. This fort was particularly interesting because it told about the Spanish history in the United States which we don’t hear a lot about. It was built by the Spaniards in 1672 and is the oldest masonry fort and only extant 17th century fort in North America. It was never defeated in battle and is quite impressive. The kids did the Junior Ranger program. The program was well put together and the kids enjoyed completing it. We let them dictate the longer writing assignments. Claire purchased Kids Passport to Your National Parks here. I highly recommend it. It gives space to keep record of which National Parks you have visited and Junior Ranger programs completed. It also has a place to make list of bird, plants and animals that they have seen.

On the way back home from the Disney cruise, we stopped in Georgia at Fort Frederica. At first look you think you will need a lot of imagination for this fort. The picture on the website is deceiving because what they show is the only part remaining of the entire town which is not much. Despite this, the site is very well laid out and it has placards at each site to tell the story. And it has the BEST Junior Ranger program we have done to date. The ranger tried to discourage us from doing it because she said it would take an hour and forty five minutes. We really did not want to have a long stop but decided to do it anyway. We are so glad that we did and it did not take us but about an hour. Again, we helped with the writing. She said the program was for eight to twelve but allowed Claire to do it. The kids each got to borrow a satchel and a period hat for the program. There was a entire town inside the fort and the program gave you the story of this community. The kids had to look through a spy glass, measure the distance of the cannon would fire on a map with a protractor and much more. It was very hands and on and we all loved it! This National Park is not too far off 95 and I highly recommend it if you are passing through. Don’t let them talk you out of the Junior Ranger Program!

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