Day 23: Something Old, Something New

Our oldest daughter and I wanted to see penguins.  Riverbanks Zoo & Garden in Columbia is one of the zoos in the U.S. that has penguins and we couldn't pass up an opportunity to go while we were in town.  Once again, they are part of the AZA reciprocal program, so we saved $60 and got in for FREE.  Can't beat those savings!

The penguins were being fed when we entered the Birdhouse where they are housed.  It was fun to watch them swim and burst out of the water onto the land when they are done.  We also saw the Koalas again and one of them was holding a baby on their lap while they both slept.  They have a new Kangaroo Walkabout where you can walk through and there is nothing between you and the kangaroos.  There are a couple other zoos in IL and OH that also have walkabouts.  Riverbanks also has gorillas, baboons, African elephants, Komodo Dragons, giraffes and many other big and small animals.

This one woke up long enough for me to snap a picture.

They seem to enjoy the attention.

A giraffe's tongue is long and slobbery and each of the kids and I took turns feeding them.  It was SO much fun!


Riverbanks is a great zoo.  It is not as big as the Houston Zoo, but it has a great variety of animals and wonderful displays.  If you click on the links above, you can find information about different animals.

After enjoying a very hot visit at the zoo, we decided to visit an air-conditioned museum at Fort Jackson.  Fort Jackson is a large army facility that employs 3500 civilians as well as thousands of military personnel.  We visited the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Museum.  It walks you through the ten weeks of basic training that army recruits go through now and during WWII.  The displays are very well done and very interesting.  They do not have a lot of hands-on displays, but they have eye-catching holograms that grabbed our children's attention and gun replicas that the kids were allowed to touch and hold.  But, the most interesting part of the museum were the recruits who were starting their 7th week of basic and had been assigned to the museum for the day.  They had cleaned the museum and had the chance to walk through it and then they came and walked through the first part with us and answered questions and gave us a deeper look into what it is like to be going through basic training.  One of the young men was even from Texas.  They were some very nice young men and it was nice to have them around to answer questions and share about their experience.

The entrance to the museum.

An example of the barracks for recruits during WWII.  The young men said they thought these were nicer than what they have now because they have bunk beds now instead of separate cots.

They had tanks and other equipment outside that you could look at, but not climb on.
My husband grew up in Columbia and this was a new experience for him.  We discovered that Fort Jackson is open to people coming onto their campus to visit their museums, bowling alley, movie theater and stores.  You need to have a valid ID and your current vehicle registration to enter the fort.

Columbia is also the state capital, but we visited the capitol building before, so we didn't go this time.  It is also FREE and worth a visit.

TripLearning can happen at places you have been several times, like the zoo, and new places, like Fort Jackson's US Army BCT Museum.  After seeing the penguins at the zoo our oldest daughter asked that we do a special study on penguins during school this coming year.  After seeing the Basic Training Museum I want to have my kids hear about their grampy's experience at Basic Training during the Vietnam War.  TripLearning is not just about learning about something on a trip, but how you can also build on that learning after you return home.

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