Sunday, June 13, 2010

Candles, Soap, Gem Mining, and a Cave

Another homeschool field trip! This time we drove down to Squire Boone Caverns waaaaaay down south in Indiana.

How far south?

Well, we had about half an hour before we had to meet our group, so we popped over to Kentucky for lunch.

That far south.

And talk about fun. Squire Boone is a whole working pioneer industry-type center, and since we were on the group tour, we got to try it all. The girls hand-dipped candles--
--and we learned that the bump on the bottom is how you know that they're hand-dipped.

We played with the ground corn at the grist mill, and learned that it's the size of the sifter that separates the cornmeal from the corn grits from the cracked corn.

The girls mined for gems--
--and Willow, in particular, learned that the reason that she only found, like, two gems in her sifting while Sydney found something like fifteen is that the California Gold Rush, like life, was not fair.

I missed the soap demonstration since I had to perp-walk the screaming four-year-old out and stand with her by the car while she got her tantrum out of her system, but Willow tells me that it was very good.

And of COURSE there was the cave tour:
Growing up so near the Ozarks, I've done my fair share of amateur cave exploring, so I thought that I'd find it lame to be walked through a cave, but an experienced guide capable of answering all sorts of nerdy questions, and lighting well-chosen to show off the best features of the cave, were well worth the herding. It made all the difference, of course, that Squire Boone Caverns isn't hugely on the tourist scene, and that clearly a very careful job was done to build walkways and bridges that minimized damage to the cave.

At the end of the trip, I let myself be suckered (it didn't take much, let me tell you) into the purchase of two slingshots, two Squire Boone Caverns activity books, two gemstones, one fossilized shark tooth, two gemstone necklaces, and two sticks of rock candy.

And now, when you ask Sydney what her favorite part of the whole trip was, she says immediately, "Candy."


Cheryl said...

Wow. That sounds like a great place to go. Hands on activities to try, that don't involve clever electronics.

Frustrates me when my children have had an interesting day out and the highlight for them is an ice cream or something!I just hope the rest of it is taking longer to soak in.

julie said...

Makes me wish that I smothered them in sugar, just so it wouldn't be that big of a deal!

This is the perfect season for the pioneer village/working farm type of visit, at least in this part of the country, because although it's on the warm side, the temp is still pretty nice. Poor Squire Boone is probably MISERABLE in August!

Ariella said...

love the gem mining photo!

julie said...

I know, look at that kid's haul! I think that the leader gave her a rigged pail because she was the smallest kid in the group and, as everyone was walking up, the leader watched her get shoved aside by a bigger kid (Willow, ahem). So Syd got to be the line leader AND coincidentally got the pail that ruled the world.