This year’s M.E.S.A. California trip was one of the fondest in several years! First we had an amazing group of dedicated students join us for their first week of summer vacation, in a van, all the way to the ocean!
Our first stop was in Primm, Nevada where some students braved the G-forces of the Desparado, on of the nation’s highest and fastest rollercoasters. Some students enjoyed fewer G’s and took to the Lazer Maze light boat ride at Buffalo Bill’s.
From there we gathered up sleepy-eyed friends at 3:00 a.m. to make the trek into the California desert. At 8:00 a.m. we were on the front door steps, anxiously awaiting our visit with Mrs. Moran’s favorite mouse, Mickey at Disneyland! By 9:00 a.m., we had ventured into Adventure Land, sought out a train ride, and even pumped fists with Goofy. By afternoon, the California rays had us sprinting towards the Dole Whip stand and a visit to the Tiki Room. We spent our afternoon Soarin’ Over California, Visiting the San Francisco bridge, took Donald Duck animation drawing lessons, and got our bums stung at the Bug’s Life Show, all in the name of science and math! Our visit to Disneyland came to a grand finale when we left the park and dragged ourselves back to the hotel at 1:00 a.m.
Our day 3 adventure had us wolfing down hot cakes at the Pancake Haus and we were off on another adventure! We hit the road again and headed toward downtown L.A. to the Huntington Library. With the help of a great tour guide, we discovered the science behind the building of the transcontinental railroad, were able to see light bulbs throughout history, and even some of the actual documents from historical scientists in the Beautiful Science exhibit such as Galileo, Curie, Copernicus, Newton, Darwin and, yup you guessed him, Einstein. Students were treated with seeing the famous paintings: “Blue Boy” and “Pinkie”. The favorite attraction of the entire Huntington Library was the Botany Children’s Garden and hands-on learning stations. Students were able to discover how much sugar is in certain pollen, why certain seeds can withstand extreme conditions, and even how some plants respond to human touch.
From the Library, we trekked northwest past an amazing California university, Cal-Tech. Everyone in the car wished that Mrs. Moran had pulled off to take a picture at the home of some of the greatest scientists on Earth, (and also the cast of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon, Howard, Leonard, and Raj!) After Mrs. Ragsdale was star-struck from the Cal-Tech sign, we continued our adventures up into the Hollywood Hills and made it to the Griffith Observatory, a gigantic Astronomy museum just adjacent to the Hollywood sign, looking out over the L.A. Basin. Students were able to tour the Observatory, take part in dozens of hands-on experiments, learn about the scientific Big Bang Theory, visit with scientists about the August 2012 landing of Curiosity on Mars, and even pose with a bronzed Einstein statue! The special treat of the evening was a wonderful showing of the night sky at the Griffith Planetarium show. Nearly all students on the trip had their first visit ever to a planetarium that evening, and it was an adventure to remember. On the way down the hill, Mrs. Ragsdale got a glimpse of her childhood favorite actor of all time, Johnny Depp, and yes, it was him, according to her! 🙂 Oh lucky duck!
Our last day in California, we traveled to none other than Laguna Beach. Students were able to apply their knowledge of crests and troughs as they bound through the roaring waves in the afternoon tide. We observed some great sea flora, hacked some sandy hackey sack, and even played jump rope with some great seaweed. Students voted to stay a bit longer because a great time was had by all!
Thanks again to our special M.E.S.A. travelers this year, Flat Stanley, our paper friend, and Flatter Stanley, the bird in grill, from somewhere near the California border. 🙂
Once again, we had a wonderful time with each person on this trip and will miss you all as you move to high school!