St. Louis Arch – St. Louis, Missouri

John – 13

The St. Louis Arch is the tallest memorial in the United States. It goes up to 630 feet high up. When you first see the arch you may think that it doesn’t look big enough to hold an elevator car, but it does.  When you get up close to the arch you can tell that it  is bigger than you thought it would be.

When you get on the ride I would recommend seeing one of the movies first so that you can either learn more about the arch or about Lewis and Clark.  Both of the movies are in Imax. When we went  to the arch we saw the Lewis and Clark film. It was about the journey Lewis and Clark took to explore the west and get to the Pacific Ocean.  I thought it was one of the best movies made about Lewis and Clark that I have seen yet.  It was very informative, and I learned a lot from that video.

After the movie we went to the little gift shop they had and Dad got our tickets for our ride to the top of the arch. In the little gift shop they had book about Lewis and Clark plus they had collectables for the arch.  On the other side of the underground museum/area there is another shop.  The second shop is full of old candies and other old fashioned stuff.

The next thing we did is wait in line for the ride to the top of the arch. There was stuff to do in line that told about how the arch was made and why it was built.  When we finally did get on the ride, you sit in a pod.  It can fit five people and is a really tight fitting elevator.  There are eight of these pods on one side of the arch and eight in the other area. It took the elevator four minutes to get to the top and three minutes back down.  At the top you have a nice view of the whole city.  We went at night, and I thought it looked better at night than in the day time. On the way down, it took us around three minutes this time to get to the bottom.  I thought that it was a really cool although I am afraid of heights and it was stressful to go up and do it.  So if you are in the area you should definitely try it out.


Have you ever been in a building that is 630 feet high?  If not the St. Louis Arch is where you need to go.  The arch is downtown right near the Mississippi River.  To get tickets you can call or get them there.  Before you go on the elevator to the arch you will want to see one of the movies.  The two movie they have that you can buy to see are called Lewis and Clark: Great Journey West, and Monument to the Dream: The Making of the Gateway Arch.  We went to see Lewis and Clack and it was good, but we did not see the other.  It it looked good though.

To get to the top of the arch you have to take an elevator.  The elevator is not normal though. The elevator holds 5 people and there are 8 cars at a time that go up together at the same time. On the elevator you set down in  a chair.  The capsule you are in is small, but you do not go very fast.   In  the elevator you do not go side ways or upside down like a roller coaster.  You always stay sitting flat – like a ferris wheel.  Once you get to the top you can stay as long as you want and the view is nice.  To get back down you go in a capsule like you got up. Once you get back down you can go and look in the museum.  Going up in the arch is definitely worth the money. :)

Barnett – 8

I liked the St. Louis arch.  It looks very big from the outside.  It looks like a big U upside down, and it is very shiny.  From far away it looked small, as we were driving up to it.  BUt, up close it is big.

The first thing we did was go to the movie.  The movie was called Lewis and Clark.  Lewis liked to walk along the river with his dog and be alone.  He once slipped and fell as he was trying to pick a plant.  He founds plants and feathers and collected them in a book.  The book kept track of all of the new animals.  Clark ran the boats and was the leader on the boats.  His slave, York, went with him on the trip.  They met Sacagawea, she helped them find food and things to  live.

Then we went up the arch.  We had to get in little pods.  It took almost 4 minutes to get to the top.  The pod was small and hot.  At the top they had very tiny windows.  You could see out of them.  I could see the St. Louis Cardinals playing a baseball game and the Mississippi River.  Coming down took 3 minutes.  When you are done you need to get out quickly so other people can get in and go.

It was fun, so you should do it too.

Alcatraz — San Fancisco


Alcatraz was one of my favorite things to do in California.  Alcatraz is one of the most freakish places in California, too.  You start out taking a boat trip to the island from Pier 33.  We used Alcatraz Cruises for our tickets and ferry ride.  It takes about 15 minutes, and they sell food and water on board the boat.  When you get off the boat you get an introduction about Alcatraz.  Then you can walk up to the top of Alcatraz – the prison section.  You can take the tour of the prison.  The tour is conducted by a headset with a recording that talks all about Alcatraz; the people who talk in it are real people who have worked there and were the prisoners there. The tour takes you through all of Alcatraz prison.  When you’re done on the island, you take one of boats back to San Francisco.  I learned about the prisoner’s daily life.  They had time each day for music, painting, and reading.  They had their own library.  Once you are done you can walk around most of the island.  You can see the ruins for the warden’s house, the housing for guards and their families, the island’s power plant, a water tower, the recreation yard, the lighthouse, and the parade yard.  The tour takes about and hour and is really fun to listen to.  It costs $28.00 for adults (12 and older), $17.00 for children, and is free for children 4 and under.  It does cost more to take a night tour to Alcatraz.  I think it would be fun but scary to take the night tour.  The history behind the prison would be creepy after dark.


Alcartaz was one of the most secure places in the world when it was in business as a prison.  It is not in business now, but it is now a tourist place.  Alcatraz is a big jail that held some of the worst people like Al Capone.  First, when you get to the dock in San Francisco (Pier 33) to get on the boat, you can get your picture taken and buy it when you come back.  The boat ride is good.  You get to see part of the Golden Gate Bridge and have a great view of San Francisco and the Bay.  When you get to the island you will want to get the audio tour which is included in the price; it is a lot better than just walking through the jail.  I learned about their maximum security section, called D Block.  The prisoners there had no light, no sound, no room.  The prisoners there had to work each day.  Some of them gardened, a few did laundry, and some even cooked in the kitchen – with real knives.  I really liked learning about the people who tried to escape.  They still don’t know if a few of them were able to swim across the bay and escape.  Many people do not think anyone could have survived that.  When you are done with the tour then there are some other places you can go around the island.  If I were you I would just get back on the boat and head back to the dock.  I thought the prison was really the main thing that was interesting to see.  The rest of the island was OK to see.  The next time you’re in San Francisco you definitely need to go to Alcatraz.  I think the night tour would be fun but a little scary.  I want to read some books to learn more about Alcatraz.  It is interesting!

Levi Coffin House — Fountain City, Indiana

John -12

Levi Coffin’s house is an awesome place to visit. It was part of the underground railroad. My favorite part of the house was the kitchen. The kitchen was in the basement. They had and indoor well. Levi built his house over a spring, and when he found out – he made a well there. The well would fill up after someone got a drink or took water out of it. The well would also move with drout and floods. The well is still crystal clear, so clear that it looks like there is no water in it. The kitchen was built right underneath the deck. Then, my second favorite thing was the upstairs bedroom. They hid the slaves there in a little door area that led into an attic crawl space. They also hid the slaves in their main attic. They had to hide 17 slaves in one night. The Levi Coffin house also has a shed outside in the back. It shows what the slaves would ride in and what the family would ride in.

I think that it is a good idea to go to the Levi Coffin House.  It is worth the money.  It cost $1.00 for kids, $2.00 for adults, and if you reserve it is $1.00 for every one. The hours are from 1pm-4pm from Tuesday to Saturday.  It is only open to the public from June 1-August 31.  From September 1-October 31 it is only open on Saturdays.  It is closed during the winter.


Have you ever heard of the Underground Railroad? Well, the Levi Coffin house was a part of it. The Underground Railroad is where the slaves try to get away from their owners. The slaves tried to get away because their owners would beat them and yell at them. So growing up in South Carolina, Levi Coffin saw a bunch of slaves tied together to be sold.  When he grew up he decided to do somthing about it.  Levi Coffin has helped over 2,000 slaves ecscape to freedom.  The next time your in Foutain City you should go to the Levi Coffin house; it is definitly worth your money.

Basement Well

Wagon with Hidden Compartment

Front Parlor

Wilbur Wright’s Birthplace — Millville, Indiana

John — 12

One of the main things to see at Wilbur’s birthplace is the Wright house.  The Wright house was built-in the 1860’s. The house was one of my favorite parts. There was an upstairs and downstairs.  Their oven heated their whole house. Their restroom was outside (an outhouse), and at night you have to use chamber pots as your toilet. I personally think that it would start to smell bad at night. The bad part is if you were a kid you had to take the chamber pot out and clean it.  The house is just one of the many things to look at there.

My other favorite part was the museum it had a miniature street in it.  It is from 1900. It had the Wright’s bike shop, a barber shop, a general store, and it even had a small shopping center for clothes. My favorite thing about the museum was the miniature version of the Wright brother’s Kitty Hawk camp. It had all the stuff they would have brought with them from Indiana to North Carolina. They also had a replica of the Wright glider next to the camp.  Finally, there is even a video you can watch in the museum.

Visiting the Wilbur Wright Birthplace only costs $2.oo to get in. They have a visitor’s center where you can buy collectibles, books, and they also sell small-scale replicas.  This is an attraction worth going to see.

Barnett — 7

We went into the gift shop and paid to go take a tour.  It was a long tour (1 hour and 30 minutes).  First we got to see Wilbur Wright’s memorial.  Then we saw his house.  I liked seeing the toys he and his brothers played with – like a bow and arrow, rocking horse, and building blocks.  I liked seeing the baby’s dress in the cradle.  Then we went to the shed.  I liked learning facts about corn and the corn shucker.  The smoke house was next.  The outhouse was fun, and we got to sit in it.  You had to use newspaper and a corncob to wipe your bottom!  Then we went to the museum.  We saw an old fashioned town.  There was a fun model of the plane that you could lay on and steer.  The museum has a model of their camp at Kitty Hawk.  Wilbur and Orville did not have very much food and had to write the dates on the eggs to know when they were laid.  They slept up top in the barn and could not roll over or they would fall out of their beds to the floor below.  Everyone should go see this because it is interesting.  I learned a lot.

The Wright Flyer

The Outhouse

Wright Kitchen

Kitty Hawk model