In the spirit of full disclosure, we really wanted to go down to Ocracoke, take the ferry over to Hatteras and climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and do the Blackbeard exhibit. However, we simply ran out of time! And THAT is when you know you've had a good trip.....it's been full of fun stuff, and you ran out of time. You didn't have to scavenge for fun places to go, because there were too many already on your 'to-do' list..... So, while we were sad that this would be our last stop, we were happy and excited to have done so many fun things on our three-day layover.
Bodie Island Lighthouse*Sounds like body.*
Tucked away between tall pine trees and freshwater marshland, the Bodie Island Lighthouse remains an important part of local Civil War history. Through all three re-buildings, it has kept a silent watch over the "Graveyards of the Atlantic."
The boys weren't quite sure what to make of it when we arrived. They knew that it looked familiar, but couldn't place it until we went inside and saw a "Lighthouses of North Carolina" poster on the wall; the same one that they have in their bedroom.
We climbed the nine stories (ten?) and looked out over the marshes, coastal waterway, and Atlantic. It was a gorgeous, Carolina-blue-sky day! It was also very windy, which made picture-taking fun. One lady lost her camera, when it blew out of her hands!Heading back down, you can see how simplistically-beautiful the spiral staircase is. You can see that the boys were afraid that I had decided to set up camp by the light, and never come down!
At the base, we posed for a family photo and they completed their Junior Park Ranger mission. The National Park Services has these Junior Ranger programs at all of their sites, and we have done many. The kids always get a small token for completing a science or history-based unit about the site, and they enjoy participating.
- Free unit study
Build a Lighthouse
Supplies: (per child)
- paper plate,
- 16 oz or larger Styrofoam cup,
- 1 inch toilet paper roll piece,
- construction paper,
- scissors, toothpick,
- wooden bead or pony bead,
- glue (foam or tacky glue works best),
- scotch tape,
- regular markers, & permanent markers
- You can start by coloring your island with waves breaking over the shore and rocks and trees around the island. If a number of children are making the lighthouse and you want to identify the builders, put their name on the other side and set it aside.
- Using the bottom of your “tower”, draw a circle on a piece of construction paper for the Dome [Note: you should use the same color paper you plan to color your lantern room]; cut the circle out and set it aside.
- Now you decorate the tower. Using the permanent marker (fine point works best) draw the door and windows. At this time you can color your tower with stripes or other patterns to display your daymark (see examples below).
- Glue your tower to the island and set it aside. [Note: If you are making a large number of lighthouses for a group of children, it is recommended that you pour some white glue into a small plastic container that the bottom of the tower fits; dip tower lightly into the glue and place it on the island.]
- Next prepare the lantern room. Cut 2” piece of paper roll and cut a 5 ½” x 1” piece of yellow construction paper to make your storm window. Using the permanent marker, make a border along the long edges and, if you choose, down the center of the strip. Tape one end of the strip at the top of the lantern room, wrap it around, and tape the other end. Draw in the astragals (metal frame running vertically or diagonally that divides the lantern room glass into sections) with the permanent marker.
- Color your lantern room below the window strip. Using the circle cut earlier for the dome cut a slit to the center and slide one edge over the other to form a peaked cap; tape it together.
- Glue the lantern room to the top of the tower and the dome on top. [Note: If making a large number, use the white glue in a plastic container, and dip both ends of the lantern room, place on tower, and attach dome.]
- Now take the vent ball and carefully put some glue into the hole [Fast drying glue works best], about ½ full, set it on the peak of the dome, and stick the lightning rod (a 1” piece of toothpick, sharp end up) into the glue in the ball.