Our final stop of the vacation was at the Platte River Roadway Arch, It is a spot that looks so intriguing from the road, but worries you that it might not live up to the hype. I'm sure I speak for my family when I say that we are all pleasantly surprised at what a fun stop this was and how much we learned about the pioneers trek across that plains and so much more. It really exceeded our expectations.
Outside, we got to visit a sod house, a Pawnee earth lodge, and a settler's home along with some amazing life size sculptures of bison and buffalo. As I've often noted, it's a good thing we were not born back "then" as we surely would have died if our current ability to grow vegetables is any indication! Not to mention the smell of the "earth" in either a lodge hut or sod house; we'd have really struggled with our allergies.
However, had we gotten lost along the trail as a Pioneer heading west, I think either Mr P or Mr C could have found us a way out; either that or they are just really good at mazes. I must say I'm not too bad at mazes either, but I do get a little dizzy walking around and around. Thankfully, the 2nd time, our family attempted the TrailBlaze Maze outside the arch I watched from the crows nest above and got to see who cheats and who helps their fellow sister!
Once inside the Arch, we experienced what life was like on the Prairie, to watch the building of the frontier right before our eyes, to walk along the Lincoln Highway and how that changed transportation to really feel what it must have been like on the Pony Express and how challenging life was for those who came before us. Listening on the headphones to first person recollections and seeing scenes change before you life, it was almost as if you walking the trail with these pioneers. I think each one of us was impressed with the images and sounds and so grateful that we got to experience this journey.
It really is like no other museum I've experienced. It was impressive that you are in essence walking across/back over the interstate the entire time. For as much as I might have joked about this place in the past, I can honestly say I was impressed. There really was something there for everyone with some hands on sites outside and some visual effects inside made a great impact on the kids.
Of course, the fact that we got the kids pictures taken with a real life Explorer made the end of our trip even more special. What a great way to end our vacation. As the kids would say a few more times that day: "Are We Home Yet?" Almost.