Travel isn’t just for fun, it can also be a great way to learn something new. Our friends, the Bissons, took this to heart when they headed out on a road trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin from their home in Florida to see family. They decided that their two sons should learn a few things on the trip so they made some educational stops along the way.

Rick and his son, Cory, check out one of the exhibits at the Arbor Day Lodge in Nebraska City, Nebraska. (Photo by Karen Bisson)

The first such stop on the trip was Mammoth Cave National Park. They stopped at this Kentucky landmark and set off on the “Domes and Dripstone” cave tour. The two-hour hike went through only a small portion of the cave system, which is the world’s longest! Still, what a great experience for their sons to learn firsthand about geology and cave ecology.

Their second stop was Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site located just east of St. Louis in Illinois. There, standing over 100 feet high, is Monk’s Mound, the largest earthwork pyramid in the Americas. Cahokia Mounds is an amazing place, and sadly few people know about it. I learned about it in a college class, and went to visit with my parents, who later recommended this stop to the Bissons. If you’re ever in the area, it is definitely worth a visit–you’ll learn, like the Bisson boys, about the archaeology of North America and see firsthand just how advanced a society there was in North America before Columbus ever set sail.

The Bissons then swung up to Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Neb., which is in our neck of the woods. (Get it? Arbor Day farm, ‘our neck of the woods?’)

We joined them for brunch and then their fun trek through the “Tree Adventure,” where they walked trails through the old growth forest, climbed a tree house, and even made music using wooden instruments all while learning about the important role trees play on the Earth.

Steve’s dad, John Teget, and Sawyer Bisson look at animal bones at Arbor Day Farms in Nebraska City, Nebraska. (Photo by Karen Bisson)

While in Nebraska City, they also stopped at the Lewis and Clark Missouri River Visitor’s Center located along the Missouri River. They were very happy they made this stop as their youngest didn’t remember having learned about Lewis and Clark in school. They reported that at first their sons groaned about this stop, but then had a great time learning about a key part of American history once inside.

From Nebraska, the Bissons headed off to see family in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Remembering that no trip is complete without a little fun, they stopped on the way home in the Wisconsin Dells where they took a ride on the Wisconsin Ducks. This amphibious ride took them on a one-hour land and water tour where they could take in all the views. They also stopped at three different go-kart tracks where the boys’ love of NASCAR was able to shine through while the boys gained some memories that will last a lifetime.

It looks like the Bissons had a wonderful trip. What’s great is that they had fun while helping their children learn a little something along the way. Just think how much more real the school lessons on Lewis and Clark or on cave ecology will be when those boys have the memories of having been in those locations and seeing, feeling, and touching the real things along the way.

Have you made educational stops like these while on vacation? Let us know in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.

As always, thanks for sharing!

  • Have you always wanted to visit @thepioneerwoman lodge in Oklahoma? We’ve got a new blog post today with 12 tips to make your visit spectacular. Our website link is in our bio. And if the lodge is not open for tours when you can come, no worries! There are plenty of great things to see and do when you @visit_the_osage and @pwmercantile I’m Pawhuska. #pawhuska #pioneerwoman #drummondlodge #ranch #postcardjar #reedrummond
  • This is our first spring in Osage County, Oklahoma, and we are in awe of these trees!! It is a red bud and is the state tree of Oklahoma. They are everywhere around here and we love spotting the bright pinkish purple blooms among the green trees. So much beauty in nature. #redbud @visit_the_osage  @travelok
  • Sitting in our hotel room in Venice, we could look out across the busy canal toward St. Mark's cathedral. The fact that it's an island city makes it different from any other city in the world. Water taxis zoomed around, larger vaporettos chugged past, as well. Occaisionally, a cruise ship would glide past our window. Tourists from all over the world came to take in this spectacle, yet to the locals, who drive boats down tight canals with ease, this is what normal life looks like. The world is indeed a large, interesting place. Have you been to Venice? ⁣
⁣
#veniceitaly #postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #travelblogger #travel #italian_places #ig_italy #visititaly #italytrip #venetodigitale #veneto #goplaces
  • Seeing this photo takes us back to the the cooking class we took last summer on the island of Mykonos in Greece. We went to a woman's home, learned about Greek culture and history, and then prepared a meal using fresh ingredients from the garden in her back yard. Suffice it to say, it was one of the most delicious meals we'd ever had. But perhaps even better are the memories of the warm welcome we received as we entered her home and the glimpse into the lives of real people in another part of the world. ⁣
⁣
#postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #travelblogger #travel #celebritycruises #cruising #seastheday #celebrityreflection #endlesssummer #cruise #sea #beyondborders #humansatsea #cruiseaddict #lifeisbetteratsea #lifeisbeautiful #cruiseship #mykonosisland #mykonostown #cookingclass #greekfood #cruiselife #goplaces
  • Trust us on this: there is nothing that relaxes more than kicking back in a hammock in the shade on a beach in the Caribbean. Except maybe leaving that relaxing spot and getting back on a cruise ship for cocktails and a gourmet dinner. What do you do to relax on vacation? ⁣
⁣
 #postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #travelblogger #travel #cruiselife #cruising #beaches #hammock #royalcaribbean #beachfun #relaxationtime #cruiseship #beachlife #instabeaches #goplaces @royalcaribbean
  • Near Valdobbiadene, in the heart of Italy's Prosecco region, is a bar with no bartender. You simply go inside, take the wine or beer you want from the fridge, and leave your money to pay for it in a box. We weren't sure who the owner of this bar is, or even who keeps it stocked. What we do know from the cards and notes they've left is that people from all over the world have come here and respected the honor system. It's amazing how honest folks will be if you just show a little trust. ⁣
⁣
#postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #travelblogger #travel #ig_italy #visititaly #italian_places #italytrip #italytravel #italy_vacations #foodandwine #italyunfiltered  #Valdobbiandene #bartending #italia365 #goplaces @italyunfiltered @massithedriver @proseccowatch
  • Ahhh...the Piazza del Campo in Siena! We absolutely loved our time here, sitting at a sidewalk cafe, sipping delicious Chianti Clasico wine and savoring the some of the best lasagna and pasta carbonara we'd ever had. While there, we noticed a number of people drinking some kind of orange colored drink. Our waiter explained it was a spritz of some sort. We asked if it were good. She shook her head and said that only the Americans seemed to like it. ⁣
⁣
⁣
#postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #travelblogger #travel #tuscany #tuscanygram #siena #piazzadelcampo #italyunfiltered #instatuscany #vacation2018 #ig_toscana #ig_siena #igerssiena #goplaces @aroundsiena @italyunfiltered @massithedriver @chianticlassico #chianticlassico
  • This barn at at @Calamus_Outfitters in @visitnebraska serves as a reminder that this really is a working ranch. The Switzer family has poured their hearts and souls into the land. We think it's pretty neat that they're willing to share this piece of the beautiful Nebraska Sandhills with visitors. Have you been to the Nebraska Sandhills? ⁣
⁣
#visitnebraska #HonestlyNE #CalamusOutfitters #barn #Tanking #postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #travelblogger #travel #cabins #agritourism #ranch #ranching #ranchlife #goplaces

Making the most of midlife.