Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Homeschool Field Trip: The Tulip Trestle Beam Bridge

The kids really enjoyed the physics of bridges study that we did in honor of the Golden Gate Bridge. Although they're going to see (and possibly walk across!) that marvelous example of a suspension bridge later this summer, I knew that we have quite a marvelous example of a beam bridge right here in Indiana, so last weekend Matt and I forcibly shoved the children into the car and took them to see it!

This is the Tulip Trestle, a long train beam bridge in Indiana that spans an entire valley: 

Check out this view of it from directly below. From this perspective, you can see how little there actually is up there! Can you imagine crossing this bridge on a train? Shudder!

Although there is a pretty great Little Free Library--

--and some wildflowers just a short trespass away (ahem...)--

--there's little else to do at Tulip Trestle but simply admire it. One child in particular found this... unimpressive:

Self-Promotional Note: Do you follow me on Facebook? I wish you would!
But do not worry, Friends--mere minutes later, she'd been tempted into picking flowers with her sister, then testing her hypothesis that surely she could climb the outside of the Observation Deck without incident:

Conclusion: She could not.

You're not supposed to climb the Tulip Trestle--I mean, obviously--but there is a gravel parking lot just at the base of one of the supports, so...

We only climbed it a little:

This kid who is NOT into having her picture taken was VERY interested in having her picture taken on rusty metal beams (!) sprayed with graffiti. She insisted that she wasn't going to smile, however. Oh, child...

This one enjoyed tromping around, too, even if she wasn't quite as into the particular industrial stylings of her environment:

This was an especially good field trip because all of the study materials that we used for our bridge unit were very clear that beam bridges are the shortest and least strong of bridge types. From that, it's easy to fall into the misunderstanding that beam bridges are only used for very short spans, like overpasses. It's important, then, to see some examples of really great beam bridges, to realize that they, too, can be impressive both structurally and architecturally.

Or, you know, if you're 11 years old, unimpressive. Whatever.

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