Recently, Theodore has accidentally become very interested in the Civil War. Really, all wars, but due to our location the Civil War has become the one he is learning the most about.
It started when we stopped by Manassas (Bull Run) National Battlefield while my mother was visiting in late May. We had never been, and they had a neat little visitor center as well as interpreted trails of the actual battlefields. Theo braved the movie "Manassas: End of Innocence" in the visitor center, and learned all about the two battles that were there (Elijah slept through it). The canons outside and the Henry Hill Loop Trail (pet friendly) we walked led to many, many follow-up questions from him about the battles and war in general. Adults pay an admission fee of $3 here.
A few weeks later while in Frederick, we stopped by Monocacy National Battlefield on a rainy day. The interactive relief map that described the battle there really captured Theodore's attention, and their visitor center was actually quite a bit larger and more interactive than Bull Run's. It was interesting to compare this battlefield in the North to Bull Run which is in the South. We walked along the railroad trail there, though there are several other options for trails at the along the other auto tour stops. No fee for admission here.
Another stop at President Lincoln's Cottage at the Old Soldier Home in DC while Brian's brother's family were visiting brought up more information for our little Civil War buff. He's starting to learn all about Lincoln and the idea of slavery. We had read "Henry's Freedom Box" earlier in the summer, and Theodore is starting to get a grasp of these things. After shielding him from the horrors of humanity on the nightly news every night, it's hard for me to start letting in these parts of history. But, he's so interested in them that I feel like I have to indulge it a bit, just being sure to keep it at a level he can grasp (if not completely understand). Adults pay $15 for a tour, school-age children pay $5. Younger are free.
Theo really wanted to visit the Virginia Museum of the Civil War while we were at Shenandoah last weekend, but we ran low on time. Frederick also has The National Museum of Civil War Medicine that I skipped (I think I would need to preview that before taking young kids). And there are several other battlefields nearby, including: Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania, Antietam National Battlefield, Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park, and of course Gettysburg which we visited a couple years ago.
If Theo's interest keeps up, we may end up at one of those before the summer is over.