On the road again for my third field trip this summer! This week I traversed the Show-Me State and headed to Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield. If you’re like most people, you’ve never heard of it before. That’s okay. Neither had I before I started teaching 4th grade. Turns out there’s a lot of great history right here in my home state!
What’s the Difference?
If you’ll recall, last week I visited Shiloh National Military Park. This week – Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield. Both sites are managed by the National Park Service. I wondered at their names. I mean, what’s the difference between a military park and a battlefield? Especially since they are both battlefield sites. Well, turns out…there’s really no difference at all. At least not in the eyes of the NPS. It’s simply a reflection of how Congress viewed the site at the time it was designated. Okay. On with the tour!
When you first arrive at the site, make sure your first stop is to the Visitors Center. You can’t miss it – looks like a concrete bunker. More importantly, after an almost 5 hour drive, that’s where the bathrooms are located! Oh, and if you go like I did in July, you can cool off in air-conditioned comfort. Once inside, grab the brochure because it has a map of the entire site. Then I would recommend you watch the 30-minute interpretive film. It explains the entire battle and will make seeing the sites on the tour more meaningful.
Field Trip Tips
If you go, make sure you mention to the park ranger that you’re an educator. You get a 15% discount on any purchase from the gift shop. I got especially lucky – when I mentioned that I was a teacher, the park ranger on duty gave me a copy of the interpretive film for FREE! Sweet! 🙂 Once you’re ready to begin the tour of the battlefield, you will need to purchase a pass at the Visitors Center. The cool thing about this particular battlefield is that you can drive the 5-mile tour loop in your car, on your bike, or go horseback riding!
Virtual Tour Guide
Once you start your tour, keep your cell phone handy. There is a phone number you can call to listen to additional information about your particular location. Every stop (of which there are seven) has this extra feature. It’s great if you need to stay in your air-conditioned car for a few minutes before getting out to see the sites!
Three trips down, and two left to go! See you next week with my latest travel adventures!