while we were at fort de soto county park on the north side of the tampa bay, we pretty much laid low. but on one particularly beautiful day, we packed up for a trip across the skyway bridge to bradenton, to check out the de soto national memorial. it made for an easy transition back into the world of junior rangers and you know, learning and stuff.
after we picked up our junior ranger books and watched the park video, we made our way over to a living history museum sort of place, where a park ranger was giving a talk about the weapons and warfare of the time. we were the only young folk present, and the ranger kept putting isaac on the spot, because he was the “strongest young male warrior”, much to isaac’s dismay. the kids were more interested than i would have thought, thanks to minecraft and fortnite.
part of the requirements for junior rangerhood was to go on a one mile “hike” on a nature trail around the park. it was really pretty and had lots of educational signs along the way. we stopped to dip our toes in the water and to work on ranger books, to admire the memorials and be disgruntled about a graffiti tree, and to investigate the weird florida plants. um. and we saw a tortoise, which was pretty much everyone’s favorite highlight.
after our stroll, er, i mean hike, we went back to the visitor center to finish up our junior ranger books and check out the museum a bit more. isaac tested out the heavy metal helmets that would have been worn by de soto and his dudes. comfy. then we made it official, got sworn in, and hit the road.
for anyone interested, basically hernando de soto came to florida to try to score some gold and riches. instead, he brought destruction and disease to the native people, continued on a long meandering trail through the southeast, before dying on his failed excursion. i’m not sure exactly why he has a memorial, but it was a good (real history) learning experience for the lidkids.