I just couldn't let this unusually warm and sunny weather slip by without taking in a field trip so Schnickelfritz and I headed east to Illinois. Our two destinations were the Great Rivers Museum (in Alton, IL) and the Lewis & Clark Historic Site, Camp Dubois. Although we saw both in one day, I'm going to divide the trip into two posts because there is so much to share. Will's grandparents came with us and we all agreed that these two museums held plenty of interest for young and old.
Camp Dubois was established in December of 1803 on the east bank of the Mississippi across from the confluence with the Missouri. They remained until May of 1804. The site now boasts a reconstructed fort and a 14,000 visitor's center. Visitors are greeted by a statue of Lewis, Clark and the dog Seaman. At their feet is a blue ribbon of carpeting. Just like Dorothy's yellow brick road, you follow the blue line throughout the three galleries and theater.
The largest gallery contains a life size replica of the keelboat. You can't tell from this picture but the best part is the other side. The keelboat has been cut away so that you can see the living conditions on board and the amazing packing job to hold supplies for the journey.
This wonderful little museum is FREE to visit (there is a donation box in the lobby). There's also a gift shop with some great books, shirts, old fashioned toys, patches and post cards. At the same exit is a tower to climb to get an aerial view of the confluence of the rivers ($4). In the summer I believe there are outdoor activities at the Fort. So we may be headed back to Camp Dubois as the weather warms again.