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Visit Nebraska: Fort Atkinson Living History Days

5:13 PM

One of our favorite activities to do as a family every year is visit Fort Atkinson near Ft. Calhoun during their Living History Days! These special days are held on select weekends throughout the summer and fall, and they allow my kids to get up-close and personal with the history of the area!



This fort has been recreated to allow for visitors to go inside the exhibits, interact with costumed actors, and see what life at the fort was really like! Here are some of our favorite things to do when we go:



1. Watch the cannons. My kids' favorite thing to watch. They set off real cannons. Cover your ears. It is loud!


And since we have 5 boys, guns are also the topic of conversation. And shooting them out small windows. And also more cannons. And knives. (You get the picture.)



2. Play games. Depending on the weekend, there is a variety of things to do. This simple game was my son's favorite. It's like lawn-darts but with a corncob and a feather!


3. Listen to music. There is usually at least one musician playing music true to the time period. It's a great way to see instruments that we haven't used in years!


4. Learn the trades. There are blacksmiths, weavers, coopers (barrel-makers), and more doing real-life demonstrations. It gets very hot near the blacksmith! Some weekends they churn butter and allow you to sample on fresh-made bread.




5. Learn local history. From accounts of the local Native Americans, to details of Lewis and Clark's expeditions, there are plenty of details that make the day interesting. Several new art pieces help to commemorate why this area was so important in early Nebraskan history!



6. Experience nature. Bring your walking shoes! Trails and a beautiful scene overlook make this a great destination for getting exercise and taking photos! During the fall, there are a few days where the bugs are a bit of a nuisance. Bug spray is recommended.


Moses spies a Daddy Long-legs under the bill of his hat!

A fun day of costumes, adventures, and learning, we love that everyone volunteering is ready to answer your questions and teach you about the fort. My husband and I could spend all day in the garden, alone. Finding out about the foods of the area has been very useful in planning our own garden!


Experiencing life as those in the fort did is just one small way to make our homeschool fun and relevant to my kids. I admit that I love going every year. You can learn more about the Fort at their website, or check out their Facebook page! They have one more Living History Day weekend in 2016, happening on  Nov 5th. It's their lovely candlelight tour. Be sure to check it out if you live close by!

Kids are welcome at the fort, but parents are encouraged to keep an eye so that everyone can enjoy the displays and wonderful details for years to come!

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