On Monday, August 31, our family had a unique opportunity to visit the office of Mark Pryor, one of our United States Senators,to discuss the possibility of his co-sponsoring the Parental Rights Amendment. (My younger kiddos stayed with my Mom for the morning while Terry, I and Lauren made the trip on to Little Rock.) We did not get to met the Senator, but we got to speak with one of his staffers, Ms. Sarah Holland. His office is in downtown Little Rock, about a two hour drive for us. We decided that since we were already going to be in the Capital city, we should visit the capitol building! I had intended to take Lauren for a tour during fourth grade, when we actually studied State History, but the drive, schedules and money stood in our way. I had ordered a free DVD about the building of our state Capitol from our Secretary of State’s office last year. We viewed it the night before our tour. It provided some good background information before we actually made our visit.

I have visited our state Capitol at least twice as a child, but I hardly remember anything from it. I really enjoyed the tour. Probably more than Lauren!

Here are some of the highlights of our trip. Our tour guide, Alexis, was very nice. The best part about the tour is that it was free!

That red speck is me and Lauren is beside me. It’s quite a building!

These bronze doors on the front of the enormous, marble and limestone building. have not been used regularly since 9/11. Aren’t they beautiful?

Lauren is here with our state seal…what a ham! 😉

As you enter our capitol, you must only look up to see this spectacular rotunda!

This portrait of the Honorable Mike Huckabee, our Governor from 1999-2007, hangs in the press room, which is a fancy conference room with a fireplace on each end.

The rotunda on the second floor. A press conference had just been held here right before we arrived.

Looking down at the second floor rotunda from the third floor. I love all the marble! We loved the echo!

The fourth floor is the state senators and representatives offices as well as the entry to the gallery of the house and senate. They have displays of our state symbols here also. Here’s Lauren with our state tree…the Pine!

Here’s our state cooking utensil, the iron skillet!

The tour guide gave Lauren a mini state flag! Isn’t it cute?

She’s thrilled to be photographed with our state mineral – Bauxite. We also learned that we have a state dance..any guesses? The Square Dance! Our state beverage is milk, and our state soil…yes, you read right, we have a state soil. Give up? It’s Stuttgart soil. (That’s a city in northeastern Arknasas in which rice grows by the semi-truck load. It’s the home of Riceland Rice!)Who knew?

We got to ride this very cool, old-timey elavator!

Beside the elevator was a mail chute! We wondered if they still used it, but our tour guide had left to allow us to explore on our own.

The neatest part of the tour almost didn’t happen. We were looking at the gift shop so Lauren could pick up a souvenir, when I struck up a conversation with the cashier. Lo and behold, she used to teach school with my Mom at Bryant Elementary, not far from there! What a small world! In the course of our conversation, she asked us if we had been to the state treasurer’s office…we said no. She told us we could go get our photo made in the state vault – get this – holding $200,000!! How neat! We couldn’t pass that up! 

Here’s a photo of the vault door. It weighs 11 tons!

Lauren looks just a wee bit happy, wouldn’t you say? 😀

Terry made a sad face. I thought he was just doing it to go against the grain, as usual, (haha!) but he said he really was sad. “Why?” I asked him. “Because it’s not my money.”  He may have been frowning, but I look at this and laugh! 😉

I smiled! Not just because I was holding more money than I would ever see at one time in my life, but  also because we’d had a wonderful day together. I love homeschooling because I get to have a front row seat to my children’s learning experiences. I also get to re-live a little bit of my own blissful childhood in the process. It’s a great life!

As we were leaving, the tour guide graciously gave me two CDs with state history curriculum on them! What a blessing! Those will come in very handy!

Have you ever visited your state capitol? You can purchase “Capitol Passports” and have them stamped at each  capitol you visit. It would be a fun thing to do if you travel a lot! You never know what you might get to do, or who you might see at your state capitol!


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