Category Archives: School Trips

Serpentarium 12+ Trip

*Blog for Feb 12-16

This week I went on a super fun trip with kids ages 12 and up. I’m part of a group where we take turns planning trips with/for the older kids and our latest trip was to a serpentarium in Wilmington, NC. Zack (@zelda) did a great job planning it. We stayed at his grandparents’ condo for two nights and went to the Cape Fear Serpentarium, the beach, the Fort Fisher Aquarium, Fort Fisher, and a couple of little shops near the condo.

Left to right: Kate, Liberty, Elisha, Caleb, Andrew, Ireland, Jordan, Zack, Me, Will, and Ralphie.

The Serpentarium

A serpentarium is like a museum/zoo that shows snakes, lizards, and other reptiles. We went to the Cape Fear Serpentarium which, according to the website, has the largest and most rare venomous snake collection in the country.

It was so amazing! I saw so many different types of snakes, including a black mamba (pictured) that either liked me or wanted to eat me. It was really cool to see a black mamba because when I was younger I was super interested in them and re watched a documentary about them probably five times. I felt proud of myself for knowing what kind of snake it was before looking at the sign. Black mambas are extremely venomous (5/5 on the venom scale) and their bites are known as the kiss of death.

Black mamba and me.

 

There were also lizards and turtles, as well as alligators and crocodiles. I was really impressed with the variety and sheer number and size of the collection. We learned that all of the animals are taken care of by one person. That’s a huge job! Jess got their contact information and I’m hoping we might be able to help them out some time. Here are some more pictures:

Not a snake.
Blood Boas
Friendly snake
This snake is so cool because it looks like leaves.
cute snek

Aquarium

Liberty and me at the aquarium.

We also went to the Fort Fisher Aquarium. That was a lot of fun. We saw a dive show where two scuba divers went into a huge tank with fish, sharks, turtles, and an eel and answered questions through an underwater walkie talkie system that we could hear outside the tank. We learned that green moray eels (pictured below) aren’t actually green. They’re blue, but the slime they secrete everywhere is yellow  making them appear green! I thought that was super cool.

Green moray eel

Something the Fort Fisher Aquarium is famous for is Luna; their albino alligator. Albino alligators can’t survive in the wild. A big reason is that because they’re albino, they can get sunburns super easily. An alligator’s instinct is to bask in the sun. If an albino alligator basked in the sun and did what they wanted for just a couple of weeks, they would probably die from sun poisoning.

 

Fort Fisher

Unfortunately, we had to go through Fort Fisher really fast. We didn’t have time to read the signs and I don’t really remember anything from the quick movie we watched beforehand. I will say that it was a nice walk around outside and the mounds around the fort were cool, though.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip. The reason this is so late is because I’m on spring break (Universal Studios!!) and just now had a free few minutes to finish this up.

Bye!

*Not at the Serpentarium, This is at Repticon the Sunday after the trip.

The Way Of Adventure Library Selfie

A few people from Wings (@tomis, @michaelgadhia, @libby, and I) are participating in Blake Boles’ “Way Of Adventure” Course. Our first challenge out in the community was to go to our local library, ask a librarian to help us find a book, and then take a selfie with them.

I decided that I would ask for/get a book about German grammar, because that’s one of the most (if not the most) difficult things about learning German (or any other language, for that matter).

I actually found a great book with German sentences to use in any situation including

  • Shopping, home improvement, restaurants.
  • Greetings, goodbyes, introductions, and telephone calls.
  • The weather.
  • Train station, hotel, post office, airport, auto shop, and the doctor’s office.

There are so many more, but I won’t bore you any longer.

Needless to say, this should be a very helpful book to look over! I also got a book called Ein Hund fürs Leben. The translation is (I think) A Dog for Leben. I’m hoping I’ll be able to understand it!

Now, the selfie with the librarian was very awkward. I think that Liberty documented the experience beautifully in her own blog about the challenge, therefore I’ll quote her a bit on this one. Green = Liberty’s words.

We were all acting really awkward when we asked for our selfie. The librarian came around the desk for the picture and waited for probably 20 seconds while Michael was trying to figure out how to take a selfie. Then Alona finally just grabbed the phone from him. The selfie was then taken, and we thanked the librarian and hurried out. 

I have a feeling this course is going to be a real challenge, but I think we are all very excited to see what other ridiculous things we need to do in this course.

Left to right: Me, Librarian, Michael, Liberty.

 

 

Washington D.C. and Annapolis

This week Nancy (@nancy), Tomis(idk), Gabe(idk), Liberty(@libby), Will(idk), Andrew(@ALObob), Kate(idk), Tessa(@tessaO), Louisa(@TheMuffinMan ?), Caleb(idk), Jackson(idk), Elisha(@AnimalFreak9), and I went to Washington DC! It was so fun and I can’t wait to go somewhere else next year.

We were supposed to get to Nancy’s house at 8:00am, but I ended up getting there at approximately 8:21am. This was because my braces (Click HERE to see my “Braces!” post), or more specifically my archwire, was poking into my cheek. When I say poking into my cheek, I mean bent to a FISH-HOOK shape and fish-hooking my CHEEK.

Anyways, I had to go to the orthodontist at 7:30am to get it fixed. I woke up at 5:30 to make sure I had packed everything and left my house at 7am. I went to the orthodontist and they fixed my archwire. We then got to Nancy’s house about 21 minutes late. We (Elisha and I) were the last people there and immediately loaded our stuff up into our respectable cars. I road in Milky the van and Elisha rode in Melissa’s car (it doesn’t have a nickname unfortunately). Then we were on our way!

I rode with Caleb, Jackson, Andrew, Louisa, Kate, and Nancy was driving. I sat in the passenger seat and controlled the music most of the time. Caleb, Jackson, and Kate sat in the back. Andrew and Louisa in the middle row.

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We had an interesting drive. Caleb was our entertainment. We learned that he was one of Nancy’s parakeets in his past life. He was also an ant.

We stopped at a gas station and had quite an interesting stop there. Will saw a big dagger that was completely dull and flat. He decided to call his mom and ask if he could buy it for $20, then bought it, While this was going on we were all waiting for him so that we could get back on the road. Tomis started backing up to leave when Nancy told him he was missing Will.

The drive was pretty loud and gave Andrew a bad headache and me a little headache that went away once we arrived to Nancy’s Mom’s house.

It was a pretty nice day until we got into Maryland. Then it was SO. RAINY. We were driving and it started raining so much that we could barely see out of the windshield! It started out of nowhere too. Then suddenly it stopped and it was all sunny again. If we looked back we saw a storm and if we looked ahead it was sunny. We played the quiet game soon after that. When I say “we” I mean everyone besides the noisy people.

Then we finally got to the house! Within 15 minutes of arriving we were eating amazing Vietnamese food! Hac (Nancy’s mom) was born and raised in Vietnam and escaped to America on a boat with Nancy’s 3(?) siblings. All of Nancy’s siblings are fully Vietnamese but she is half Vietnamese and half American.

The food, as I said, was amazing. Here are some pictures from dinner!

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There was a noodle dish, fried rice, and EGGROLLS! Hac’s eggrolls are famous in the Mosaic community. They are AMAZING. I would eat them all day if I could!

After dinner a bunch of kids went to the park. The park is directly behind the house but there is as giant field in the way. It would be SO awesome if there was a zipline or something from the porch to the park.

The next day we went to Washington D.C.! There were two options in the morning and two options for after lunch. Nancy would take people to the Holocaust mueseum in the morning and the Natural History Museum in the afternoon. Tomis would take people to the Native American Museum in the morning and the Air and Space museum in the afternoon. To go to the Holocaust museum we decided that you have to be 10 to go. The Holocaust museum group consisted of: Andrew, Gabe, Liberty, Elisha, Louisa, Nancy and I.

You have to buy tickets for the permenant exhibit and they were sold out, so we went to some other places. First of all, since Andrew had never heard of the Holocaust until the night before, we started off in a place about the kids. You could also interact with it a bit more than any of the other places. The exhibit was specifically about one boy named Daniel. I think he was 11 or 12. I’m not sure. He kept a diary during the Holocaust. Daniel and his family were Jewish but his father was also a war veteran with a medal for bravery. He had a sister named Erika and a mother, but I can’t remember her name.

The exhibit was set up like you were there yourself. After you watched a video you went and looked around Daniel’s house. It was pretty realistic. You could hear the family having dinner, you could go into Daniel’s room and look in his drawers. Pages from his diary were put everywhere. I didn’t read all of them because it would have taken so long. This is before many changes happened in Germany and other places.

Then you walked through the streets and saw “Jews Only” or “No Jews or Dogs Allowed” signs everywhere. There was a jews only bench and shops that had the signs prohibiting them from entering. We saw Daniel’s father’s shop and the broken glass windows. There were pieces of fabric hanging off of hooks that looked like they had been ripped off and taken. There were also pictures of people wearing the patches with “Jew” or “Jude” written on them. There were pages of Daniel’s diary everywhere here too.

After walking through the streets we saw the family’s bags packed. Daniel’s family was being forced one of the ghettos. You could look inside Daniel’s little sister’s bag and see a dress and doll. Then we walked through a ghetto. The ghetto was for people who were Jewish but a bit too important to go straight to a concentration camp. Daniel’s father earned them that with the medal of bravery.

The family lived in a tiny house and were forced to work all day. I specifically remember that Erika worked with fabric because she would sneak little bits of it back home to sew together. Each week the family had one loaf of bread and cabbage and water soup per week. You could look at the cabbage and water soup. It looked absolutely barf worthy.

Before long his family was at a concentration camp. Erika and his mother were separated from Daniel and his father. They never saw each other again. Daniel worked all day every day. He had barely any food and people were dying all around him all the time. He shared a bunk with I believe 8 other men.

But Daniel and his father survived! At the end there was another video. Then you could write a letter about how you felt then put it in Daniel’s mailbox.

There was another exhibit that had some artifacts, videos, pictures, etc. There was also a part where you can write your feelings about a picture then email it to yourself (or in some of the kids’ cases, their parents). We saw a bunch of tiles painted by kids. Some had really amazing art on them! A lot of the pictures were about how or why we can never repeat the Holocaust.

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Then we went to join the other kids at a group of food trucks!

I got tamales and they were good and very spicy. I also got icecream, Tessa’s leftover pasta, Jackson’s leftover icecream, and the rest of his sprite as well. I ate a lot.

Afterwards we all walked to the Natural History Museum! This was fun, but I went to the exhibit I already had seen and nothing new. That was a bit disappointing. The exhibit I went to was the Mammals exhibit. There were a bunch of taxidermy-ed animals there. There were cheetahs, a porcupine, monkeys, apes, buffalo, even a koala! I really enjoyed the koala because of how strange its feet are. This is just a picture off of the internet, but you get the idea.

koalahand

 

Overall, it was a really fun day in DC!

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The next day we went to Annapolis and Eastport. First, we went to the Hammond-Harwood House. The house was so beautiful! The house was built right after the American Revolution. One of my favorite things was seeing the 18th century security system. They had around 5 different locks to prevent break-ins. Another super cool thing was all of the chairs. A lot of them were made by a famous carpenter named John Shaw. The backs were beautifully carved and were preserved so well because you used to never relax onto a chair back. You would sit up straight, thus preserving the impressive backs.

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Another interesting thing is that the guest room would usually be the most (or close to) expensive and decorated room in the house. The was to impress guests, regardless if they were staying or not. If they weren’t then the room was used for tea or something of the sort. This room had such impressive furniture, crown moldings, and fabrics! Especially fabrics.

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One big focus that house builders/owners had was the crown molding (the designs that connect the ceiling to the walls. In rooms that guests would be in the crown molding was amazing! Lots of layers and designs. For example: The entryway had impressive molding, but the guest room had crown molding 10 levels above the entryway! The dining room molding was also impressive and interesting to look at, but the bedrooms barely had any at all. This was because guests generally wouldn’t ever go into the home owners’ bedrooms or private area.

We also toured the slave quarters/kitchen. Since kitchens regularly burned down, or at least had fires, they were separated from the rest of the house. It was much easier to rebuild a small kitchen than to rebuild your whole entire house.

There was an African superstition that said if you put a shoe a shoe in the attic of the house then no witches or bad spirits can get it. We got to pass around a shoe that was found in the attic of the house.

Another interesting thing was the spice cabinet. There was a cabinet that was always locked back in the 18th and 19th century. The mistress of the house carried the key with her, so whenever the slaves needed spices to cook with she would unlock the cabinet and get the spices for the slaves. This was because spices were so expensive. If a robber came into the house, it would be locked up. This was also to keep slaves out of using spices when they weren’t needed.

After the tour we did a few activities. We traced, designed, and colored our own chair. Then we made our own sashays. Sashays are pouches filled with lavender. People used to bathe every month, and sometimes even every two months. This meant that everybody stunk a lot. Women would have sashays tied around their neck or tied onto their wrist. That way if somebody smelled especially bad they could casually smell their wrist.

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Natalie’s Farm Trip!

This week @nancy , @libby , @animalfreak9 (Elisha), and I all went to Natalie’s farm. Natalie (well, really her mom Alex) has four horses. Tally, Spruce, Shakespear, and Almond. NOTE: When I say “we” I mean Nancy, Liberty, Elisha and I. Possibly Alex and Natalie as well. Just pay attention and you’ll understand just fine.

On Tuesday after Elisha and I had coding class, we all went to start our drive. The drive was about two hours. On the way we stopped at Chic-Fil-A for dinner. Elisha got herself and I SMALL icecreams. Chic-Fil-A’s icecreams turn out to be really big. So we all shared two icecreams (besides Nancy). Then we drove and drove until we got to the farm! Nancy and Liberty slept outside in a tent, The rest of us (including Natalie) slept on the floor in the living room. We were going to sleep in Natalie’s bedroom but it was super hot up there. Her room is essentially the attic of an old house (it’s CONNECTED to the barn. Natalie’s window is a view to the barn. I assume that’s old). It doesn’t have any air conditioning and with three bodies inside it would of possibly roasted us during the night. Therefore we opted to sleep downstairs.

 

After deciding where we would sleep all of the kids went to say hi to the horses. All of Natalie’s horses are retired racehorses. Tally (Tallahassee Star was his racing name) is the biggest, and he is 22. He’s also top in pecking order (he’s the president). Next in pecking order is Spruce (vice president). He is 26 years old and his long name is pronounced Spruce-kip-aid. Third in pecking order is Shakespeare. He is maybe 16-21? I can’t remember right now. Then there’s Almond. She is the only girl, only 10 years old, and the lowest in pecking order. Basically she gets pushed around a bunch. They stayed out in a paddock overnight.

 

Before bed we all sat in the living room at talked. Some of us had a snack. I really liked petting one of their dogs; Jennifer. I can’t remember how old they said she was, but from ages 10-15. She’s medium sized so she was much older than a young dog that age. Their other dog is a 4 year old chihuahua; very different. His name is Felipe and he didn’t like any of us very much. After an hour or two we all started going to bed.

 

I fell asleep by 11:30 because I was soo tired and I ignored Elisha and Natalie talking. Apparently a bright light was shone in my eyes to see if I was asleep. I don’t understand what was going through their minds when that happened.

 

We all woke up from 6:30-6:45, me being the latest to wake up at 6:45. Right away, in my pajamas we all got a horse on our own (the adults stayed back and made breakfast because they’re awesome like that). I got Spruce, Natalie got Tally, Elisha got Shakespeare, and Liberty got Almond. We led them all with halters and leads to their stalls. At 8:00am the farrier came. (And here is where the bunches of pictures start).

horse1

The horse’s hooves are made of the same material that your nails are made of, and they grow just like ours. The farrier takes off the horseshoe and puts it to the side. Then he goes and clips the hooves! The result? a giant version of a toenail clipping. From each hoove. Then he files the hooves down a bit. He didn’t talk to us at all during it, so I don’t really know why. But he did. If he needed to then he cleaned the hoove before seeing if he had to reshape the shoe. If he did then he hit it with a hammer and used something that made sparks fly everywhere. Once the hoove was ready the farrier held the shoe up to the hoove. He tooks nails and a hammer and hammered the shoe on. This doesn’t hurt, though, because the hooves are just giant nails that don’t have feeling in them. After that the farrier files the hoove one more time. He farrier-ed 16 hooves that morning!

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Everyone got bored and Elisha and Natalie went and played inside. Nancy, Liberty and I all went on an exploration. Natalie’s property consists of some wooded land around a creek. We took some pictures and had an awesome time! Though for quite a bit of it we weren’t even in Breedan territory.

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As you can see I almost fell into water more than once on more than one occasion in more than one kinds of water.

When we returned the farrier was STILL working on the horses!

After the farrier came and left, we led the horses back to the paddocks. I took Spruce back. Nancy didn’t get a picture of me leading Spruce, but she did get these.

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After that we just hung out. I got into my day clothes and changed out of my pajamas. We all changed, brushed teeth, stuff like that. We also put together a puzzle, Nancy gave LIberty henna, and I colored a fox in Natalie’s coloring book.

 

At 11:00 the dentist came! This was awesome and by far the best part of the trip (hence it being the whole point we came there). The dentist was SO nice. He had 11 year old and 12 year old girls and was super friendly.

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What horse dentists do is file down the teeth.

I know that sounds absoloutely and totally disgusting and painful, but trust me, it’s for the good of the horse. Since horses chew in a circular motion instead of an up and down motion, they wear their teeth sort of pointy. This makes it much harder more painful for them for them to chew food. Filing the tooth allows for the horse to eat much easier.

To put his hand in the horse’s mouth, he gives them a shot. He injects sedative into a blood vessel in the horse’s neck. This way they’ll be calmer and won’t get all riled up. Next the dentist put a special halter that holds the horse’s mouth open enough for the hand and arm to go in. The horse’s mouth goes all of the way to where the eyes are! The tounge is a spiral shape too. It aids in getting the food to the back of the mouth.

We also learned the following:

  • Female horses have 36 teeth, and males have 40. This is because in the wild the males are the protectors of the herd and they have sharp two pairs of canine teeth that can bite flesh.
    • Horses can only open their mouths 2-3 inches on their own, at least for an extended amount of time. That’s why they feel sore on their face after dentist appointments; they aren’t used to having their mouths so far open.
    • Horse teeth stink. Badly. SUPER. DUPER. HORRIFICALLY BADLY.
    • Just kidding they aren’t that bad. But sometimes they can be deadly stinky.
    • A lot of people ask why their horses need dentist appointments if they don’t have them in the wild? The dentist said that yes, horses in the wild don’t have dentist appoinments. But they also die much sooner than horses with care from humans.

Tally did pretty well in his appointment. He wasn’t the best of the four but Alex said that it was the best he had ever done. Spruce was also pretty calm from what I remember (the details are starting to fade; it’s been a week and a half). But Spruce had something special! He got a tooth pulled! Horses naturally lose teeth as they get older. Spruce, being 26, was at high time to lose a tooth.

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Shakespeare was the best (at least in the beginning). He was so good that the dentist let us put our hands in his mouth! He had been eating and so there was a bunch of chewed up food in his mouth which was pretty gross. We felt the tounge moving too! After we all put our hands in the mouth Shakespeare reared up in his stall. Probably because he was extra sore from us all putting out hands in and it taking longer than usual.

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Lastly was Almond. She was just fine.

At the end of all of the appointments the dentist squirted water into the horses’ mouths. This got all extra tooth-dust (tooth equivalent of saw dust) and any blood. All of the horses had blood but it looked like a lot more than it was because it was mixed with water. They were all normal.

Then the dentist left. We had to eat quickly and say goodbye to the horses. Then we packed up and left!

P.S

I forgot to post my reflection paper from two-three weeks ago so here is what I said

 

I took care of my:

physical needs

mental needs

was happy with what I did

was happy with everything

everything 5/5

Then I said that I liked writing

That I didn’t like being sick

and that I looked forward to writing (which I have done none of since then)

 

Goodbye.