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North Dakota: Knife River Indian Village

On our way through Stanton the previous night we had noticed the Knife River Indian Villages National Monument – so we decided to stop by and see the exhibits. The Knife River joins the Missouri close to Stanton and is the spot where the main Hidatsa and Mandan villages were sited – and was the home of Sakakawea. As with all the National Park Service the center is fantastic and we first of all get our bearings by watching an orientation film on the history of the Indian villages.

Alabama: Birmingham, Vulcan Park

On our journey through Alabama we called into Birmingham. One thing that had captured our imagination was the Vulcan Park, which is based around a large cast iron statue of the Roman God Vulcan (god of fire and forge). At 56 feet this is the largest cast iron statue in the world, and was built for the 1904 World’s Fair in St Louis to demonstrate Birmingham’s iron industry.

Florida: Central Florida – Kennedy Space Center

I am a bit too young to clearly remember the first moon landing but I do have memories of the excitement of watching the space shuttle launches and wishing I have been their in person. So, when we got the chance to visit the Kennedy Space Center I jumped at the opportunity. Sadly, there were no launches planned but it still was exciting to be visiting the site of these amazing demonstrations of man’s imagination and desire to explore.

Florida: Florida Keys – John Pennekamp State Park

Established in 1963, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was the first undersea park in the United States. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and the adjacent Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, cover approximately 178 nautical square miles of coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove swamps. We had the chance to spend a couple of days exploring this wonderful place in winter (a good time to go!)

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