As we drove through town, we noticed that there were painted cows everywhere. Each one represented a slice of Wisconsin history and local color. We found this one in front of the library.
The weather was beautiful, so we parked downtown and walked around. Had we known how tiny the area was, we could have just walked from the hotel! Lucky us - there was a thrift store having a sale...kind of like back in that small town in Vermont. This wasn't your average store, however - it can really only be classified as a general store. Every category of item (the vast majority of them consigned from people in town) could be found here, and it was a fascinating study in local culture.
We found an antique book about World War I and a Boston Tea Party tea set (souvenir for another trip). Unfortunately, we left the tea set carefully wrapped in newsprint in the hotel room....a bit too close to the trash. It disappeared, and we believe it was thrown away, accidentally.
Continuing down the street, we found the Dairy Bar Café. Think : vintage, small-town diner. The food was simple, but good, and the boys are still talking about the sundaes! The young guy working the counter talked quite a bit about the area, and answered many questions that we had about local history, weather, and culture.For the afternoon, we drove a short distance to Eau Claire and visited the Children's Museum....another one of the ASTC Passport museums that grants you free membership. Upstairs, they have several exhibits about Wisconsin history - featuring logging and fishing.
We found a camping exhibit where the boys had to follow the Cub Scout methods of building a fire and setting up tents. They also learned about the Leave No Trace principles.
In the museum's basement, there is a HUGE water exhibit. It's so extensive that the children have to wear aprons in an attempt to keep them dry. We spent most of our time at the water guns and ...some sort of engineering exhibit. By turning various valves, you could direct water to the other exhibits and soak down unsuspecting visitors. ..............you can imagine how much fun this one was!
The mid-floor is set up like a small town, where children can practice working in different jobs. Here, my oldest is working as an electrician. He had to rewire this 'house' to make the fan and lights work. Thanks to his dad and grandpa, he did this rather quickly!
Off to the side is a fabulously gross exhibit on the digestive system. It's so gross!!! You go in through the mouth, pass through the digestive organs (complete with sound effects), and come out...the other end. Naturally, we spent a lot of time here, as did many of the other elementary-aged children at the museum.
Not surprisingly, they now have a wonderful understanding of how the human digestive organs work together to create poop. As for any unit study resources, we didn't do school today. We had our math, reading, and writing in the morning, and I recommend taking an afternoon off every so often to just enjoy the family fun.