Thursday, September 22, 2011

Springfield Armory!

Springfield Armory National Historic Site

Hi everyone. This week, my family had to take a trip up to Massachusetts. While we were there, we decided to stop at the Springfield Armory National Historic Site. It was the first national armory, started under George Washington's command in 1794. I decided to do their Junior Ranger program to learn more about their site.

Springfield Armory National Historic Site

The machine behind me in this photo is a lathe, which was used to make muskets. The Springfield armory made 300,000 muskets during the Civil War- up to 1,000 muskets per day! The site was pretty interesting, but it was a bit scary to be around all the different weapons.

Springfield Armory National Historic Site

There were so many different kinds of muskets to learn about. Luckily, the rangers made the program fun. I did a word search and a few worksheets about the armory. I was proud to earn my Junior Ranger badge!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Federal Hall National Memorial

Federal Hall National Memorial

One of my hobbies is earning Junior Ranger badges and patches at National Park Service sites. Even though I've been living in NYC for a few years now, I still hadn't gone to Federal Hall National Memorial! Finally, I got around to picking up a Junior Ranger booklet and went straight to Federal Hall.

Federal Hall National Memorial

Federal Hall National Memorial is on Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, just a few steps away from the New York Stock Exchange. There were tons of tourists taking photos of the Stock Exchange, but hardly anyone ventured into the memorial. I introduced myself to the ranger in charge and sat down to work on my workbook.

Federal Hall National Memorial

Federal Hall has had many different roles in its history, but I think it is probably most famous for being the place where President George Washington was inaugurated on April 30, 1789. I can't imagine how it would feel to take on so much responsibility! The hall has several exhibits, including some cool architectural models of how the building has changed over time. It's a really important place in US history; I was excited to see it!

Federal Hall National Memorial

Outside the building, there is a large statue of George Washington. It's so big, actually, that it's hard to get a good photo in front of it!

Federal Hall National Memorial

When I finished the workbook, I got sworn in as a junior ranger. I swore to be a good steward of the National Parks. They are our nation's treasures. I'm not sure how many Junior Ranger programs I've done so far, but I was excited to add Federal Hall to the list!

Have you ever visited a place important to your nation's history?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Maiki visits NYC

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Hey everyone! Labor Day weekend is like summer's last hurrah. Luckily, I didn't spend it alone. My friend Maiki (remember her from this post?) was visiting New York City for a hula competition. She had a few days free at the end of her trip, so she came to stay with me and hang out.

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Maiki came over late on Friday night. We both had to go straight to bed, but on Saturday morning, we were ready for adventure. I decided to take Mike for a hike at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. It's one of my family's favorite places in New York City. My friends Violet and Sophie have also gone there with me. In this photo, you can see Jamaica Bay and the Broad Channel neighborhood behind us.

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Isn't Maiki pretty? I'm so glad she was able to stop by. Since she lives in Hawaii, we don't get to see each other very often. She comes to the mainland fairly often for hula competitions, but I've never been to Hawaii. I'd love to go someday!

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Jamaica Bay is beautiful. I love seeing the migrating geese and ducks. The seagulls are there year round, but they're fun too.

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I picked up a Junior Ranger book for Mike, so she could earn her first badge. She did all the activities for Jamaica Bay, but unfortunately, when we went back to the ranger station, it was closed! Mike said it was a sign she'll be back in NYC again; she'll have to pick up her badge then.

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On Sunday, I took Maiki into Manhattan. We went to the American Museum of Natural History. We checked out the exhibit on Pacific People (I think that was Mike's favorite), where they had an amazing feathered cape from Hawaii. Then, we explored the part of the museum with exhibits on Africa and Asia. I was surprised- they actually have a small Siberian section! They even had artifacts from my people- the Nanai.

After the museum, we went to Rockefeller Center. Maiki had always wanted to try a Magnolia cupcake, so we each got one and took them by a large fountain to enjoy. While we were eating, Mike told me about one of her friends from Hawaii- Coral. Coral is originally from New Zealand, but she spent two years living in Hawaii, where she met Maiki at a dance competition. Now, Coral has moved to New York City with her father and she's hoping to get into a pre-professional ballet school! Maiki said we'd really get along, so she gave me Coral's phone number.

It was great seeing Maiki! (Also, I had grown a lot since we last saw one another- look how much taller I am than Maiki!) I was sad to say goodbye to her this afternoon. She made me promise to call Coral. I'm pretty nervous about it- what if she doesn't like me? Have you guys ever met someone new through a friend?
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