Way back before we had kids, my husband and I went on an eagle watching weekend with the local community college. We drove out to the Mississippi River area and were fortunate enough to see hundreds of bald eagles wintering along the river. In fact, the guide we had said that was the most eagles he had seen in a very long time. It was such a cool time that we always wanted to go back.
Fast forward a number of years to when we had some children old enough to appreciate the trip. We loaded up the van, took a nephew and some grandparents along with us (because we had talked about how cool this weekend was for so long that they wanted to go with us) and drove the three or so hours out to the Mississippi River. We drove through some good snowy weather just to see THREE eagles. I'm not kidding.
It was right after that that someone told us that all we had to do was head out to Starved Rock. They told us that there are a bunch of eagles that winter there by the dam. The next year we packed up the van and drove only an hour out to Starved Rock, saw more than three eagles, and we've been going there almost every year since. Yesterday was our day out there and we were again blessed with the opportunity to see many of those majestic birds.
The weather was a bit warmer so they were fairly active. It's always cool to see those beautiful birds flying around. While we were walking the trails, it dawned on me how a simple trip like this is such a multi-subject educational experience. Not only is it enjoyable, it is always a great learning experience. Through pictures, I'll tell you what we learned:
Science - by studying these birds and discussing why they come here during the winter and why it is they are not so active when it's cold
Physics - how best to climb back down a slippery slope. Here's two examples:
Art - in this case, someone else's idea of art humor. We all agreed it looked like a bunny mishap
Physical Education - If you've ever been to Starved Rock State Park, I don't need to say anymore!
History - The history of this park and why it is called Starved Rock.
And last but not least, nutrition and economics - as in "No, I'm not buying you each a $1 candy bar. Eat the nutritious popcorn and water that we brought with us!"
There you have it, a lot of fun, and a lot learned. As an added bonus, here's my hot tip: go on Super Bowl Sunday and there's hardly anyone there!!!!!