Friday, October 7, 2011

natural, just the way we like it

Another day trip we ventured to take while on our staycation carried us down many a winding road, up and over mountains, and across a couple of beautiful rivers. We visited Natural Bridge, Virginia. We have taken the kids to the Natural Bridge Zoo a few times over the past 5 years, but since we just went to the mother of all zoos (on the east coast, at least) we opted out of that one. We did, however, enjoy all of the other attractions at Natural Bridge. We got a crazy-good deal on the tickets because they were collecting food for a local food bank. So if we donated a can of food per person, we could get the combo ticket for a whopping $2.00!!! Two dollars, people, two dollars...instead of $28 for adults and $16 for children. Our total could have been $88 for the four of us, but instead we paid only $8! woot!woot! Now that's a great deal and totally worth every last cent. We started off in the Natural Bridge Cavern. The girls had never been in a cavern before so they were super excited. It's a small cavern but fascinating and amazing and slippery and cold. It was great! Our guide was funny and very sweet. She shared a lot of interesting facts and pointed out some very cool formations. She even found a couple of sleeping bats for us to see...from a distance. We then headed to the actual bridge. Can I just say that the bridge is so grand and beautiful. It's stunning to see it up close and to see George Washington's initials carved in the stone when he surveyed the area. Oh yeah, the homeschool juices were flowing, baby.
The weather, once again, was slightly overcast and in the low 70's...perfect for some trail hiking and outdoor fun. Once we soaked up the awesomeness of the bridge we headed down the Cedar Creek Trail to the Monacan Indian Village where the girls got to try their hand at grinding corn.
We also got to see inside a tepee, really more of a thatched hut, feel different animal skins, see someone making rope, and of course, more grinding of the corn. All of this was beside a beautiful creek that beckoned us to it's edge on more than one occasion as we made our way down the trail further into the woods. While at Natural Bridge we also enjoyed the indoor butterfly garden. I have never seen so many butterflies before in all my life. The girls really enjoyed being able to hold the butterflies and see some hatch right out of their cocoons. We also made our way through the toy museum. I must add here that a toy museum with lots and lots of toys out in the open with one grumpy woman reminding everyone not to touch anything was a little less than great. The toys were neat and my girls don't have a problem keeping their hands to themselves, but I suppose that normally isn't the case. We then went over to the wax museum. I had never been to the wax museum and neither had the girls. It was interesting to see so many different people made of wax. I probably wouldn't go back to the wax museum...there's just something a little creepy about the whole thing, but it was worth going. Overall, we had a great time.
Our favorite parts were probably the actual Natural Bridge and the Cedar Creek Trail. We had perfect weather and enjoyed our time together as a family. And after a nice long day of having fun together and having their picture taken a hundred times this is what you end up with. xo ANG

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