Gettysburg National Military Park, PA has been on our "Must Do" List since we found out we were moving to the area!
It's about a hour and a half away, so perfect for a day trip!
We started out at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center.
I was thinking it'd be like when we visited the Bull Run Manassas Battlefield. A visitors center to visit, get a map, walk the battlefield where they have the cannons & signs set up to tell you about the battle.
Not for Gettysburg. It's really spread out. Which in retrospect makes since, it was a three day battle that moved to various locations.
This Visitors Center & Museum is HUGE... and it does cost to go into the museum $11.50 per adult and $8.50 per kid 6-12 years old. The ticket into museum also includes a short film in the cyclorama. The boys had just been in the car for an hour and a half, no way they were going to sit through the half hour film. Plus, I wasn't exactly sure what was going to be shown. I'm sure it's G-rated, but some of those pics of bodies piled up doesn't need to be shown yet to the boys. We talk about the war and that brave soldiers lost their lives, but I think visiting the cemetery is better for that.
Anyway, before the Museum there is a lobby sort of area that does show some interesting items. There's also a film showing how they worked the rifles they used and also for the cannon. The boys really liked that, after that Jake was always the guy that actually pulled for the shot.
|Jake reenacting after seeing cannon video|
The museum has a TON of interesting stuff, set up with a twisty-turvy way that leads you from the beginning of the war, to the aftermath with a few small film areas that ran little 5 minute films. These were also good spots for the boys to sit down for a bit during all the walking. We did a lot of walking.
We stopped in the Museum Bookstore on the way out to buy our traditional Christmas Ornament that we try to get at each place we visit (which is a tradition I highly recommend!). Then also to bought the boys a souvenir (mini-cannons!) and souvenir coins for their treasure boxes that we got from Galveston, TX to hold their little travel treasures.
|These boys LOVE Abraham Lincoln! They were so excited to sit next to him... even if the sun was right in their eyes ;)|
The parking lot has picnic tables scattered here & there around the sides, so we stopped and the boys had a morning snack. Hungry kids lead to grumpy uncooperative kids, so gotta keep them fed! ;)
|Lots of huge rocks & boulders in this area|
We proceed to check out some of the self-guided auto tour and see the Soldiers National Cemetery.
First stop across from the cemetery took us to what was one of the Union lines. Now the area holds various monuments for the Union regiments.
|Union view of the Confederate line|
|H Family Artillery Crew|
Then you can cross the street to the cemetery. When you walk in you immediately see a memorial for the Gettysburg Address
that was held here:
|This is where the Gettysburg Address was given during the dedication of the cemetery|
If you ever visit, there's a nice little bathroom building in the far northwest corner. The rest of the restrooms on the auto-tour are porta-potties FYI
Very serene place. I love how when we visit these kinds of places the boys, as crazy as they are, get it.
|Evan just randomly pausing to see the gravestones|
There was only one instant of hitting each other then we saw a neat hole in a tree
From there we went to lunch. Lots of neat little places in the downtown. Lots more museums too! We had lunch at the Sweney's Tavern located inside the Farnsworth Inn. One of the oldest in town (haunted too!), there's even 100 bullet holes that pock the walls from the battle. When we dine out while checking places out, I try to avoid chains and get as much of the local flavor that we can, yet still have a kids menu. This certainly fit the bill...
|One of the neatest things I've ever seen.|
In the courtyard between barn & tavern, the barn wall was covered in ivy and birdhouses!!
|I would love to sit here and read a book for hours. Birds flying in and out, chirping.|
|Koi fish pond|
|Lunch! "slippery noddle pot pie"|
After lunch we did a bigger part of the self-guided auto tour that took as by the Confederate line and even where Pickett's Charge took place.
|Left the kids in the car for this stop while we just walked across the street|
|They thought it was funny|
|Me at Gettysburg, seems weird to smile on a battlefield where so many lost husbands, fathers, sons and brothers. |
So just think of this as my "I love history!" smile.
|Requisite standing next to cannon shot for Greg|
|Love this series of shots... oh yah lets get together|
|Wait, no, DO NOT touch me|
|General Lee on his horse Traveler monument|
Also the site of "Pickett's Charge"
|Confederate view of the Union line (see previous pics taken above from Union view)|
Then you curve back around and the last thing we saw on our drive was Little Round Top. If you ever go to Gettysburg, you MUST stop here too. Do not leave with out checking this out. A very very overtired Luke was asleep in the car by this point, so Greg and I took turns checking it out separately. Wish the big boys could of seen it too, almost feel like we did them an injustice. I don't know if they would of walked anymore, pretty proud of all the walking they did... pretty darn good for their ages!
|Walking up to it... ok... this is nice|
|Wow some big rocks...|
|Some HUGE rocks|
|Whoa. What a view!|
|Pictures cannot capture it, you get a view of the whole area. |
Can only imagine what it looked like for those three bloody days
|Various monument are up here on Little Round Top|
Made it home by 5pm where the boys were content to watch a movie after walking all day. Greg mowed the lawn and I did some cleaning up/moving stuff around in the garage. Light dinner, then we all crashed that night!
It was a really nice day trip! We all enjoyed it. We are really loving taking advantage of our time here in this area of the country!