Unexpected Road Trips
Road trips. Everyone I’ve ever met enjoys going on an adventure. Most of the time our family takes those adventures by car. Okay, so everytime our family has been on an adventure, we’ve taken them by car, but let’s not split hairs here.
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On a recent trek to New York State, we had to allow time for excursions. Of course, there are the typical meal stops, but we also needed to be able to stop and stretch our legs and oh yeah, while we’re at it, let’s get in a little schoolin’ too.
The halfway state for us is Virginia. Seems like the best time to stop and regroup. We saw a little brown sign that said “National D-Day Memorial”. Not entirely sure how far off the beaten path we would find this memorial, but we were eager to find out. A quick google search showed that it would certainly be well worth our time. So, we took that exit.
We were so very surprised at what we found!
The National D-Day Memorial is something to see if you ever find yourself in a reasonable driving distance of Bedford, Virginia.
We went around the end of August and it was still pretty hot! There isn’t a lot of shade around, so be prepared with hats, sunscreen, and a water bottle, especially if you have children with you. Snacks for smaller children wouldn’t be a bad idea either. There are areas that aren’t conducive to a stroller, so keep that in mind as you plan your visit.
My suggestions for you would be:
- Take sunscreen and plenty of water.
- If you have little ones bring snacks. It’s not the most exciting excursion/field trip for 2-year-olds!
- Leave your stroller in the car, as this place isn’t a very stroller friendly.
- Wear a hat and sunglasses. There really isn’t a lot of shade here, and the sun can be rather unforgiving.
- Wear comfortable shoes!
- Lip balm! Sunburt or chapped lips are just uncomfortable.
The admission price is very reasonable. $10 per adult
$6 per student at the time of our visit. If you’re a Veteran or active military, you’ll get a discounted ticket rate of $8.
The main attraction (at least what was the best part to our kids.) is the invasion tableau. This area is filled with water to really give you an idea of what those brave men encountered on that infamous day of June 6, 1944. The water is drained during the winter months for maintenance, so if you want to experience that area, it is best to visit the memorial between the months of March through November.
The first time you go:
Be sure to wait for the tour guide. The tour guide is included in your admission price, (which is discounted if you’re retired or active duty military!) and the information they have is vital. You won’t be able to understand it all without them. Besides, our tour guide had a fun sense of humor when explaining some parts of the memorial.
I’m not going to break down the memorial, play by play because that would take away some of the splendor of the place. We were VERY pleased with the entire layout. Our middle and high school “students” were hanging onto every word that our tour guide spoke.
For my family, I’ve always preferred educational road trips, if possible.
Oh sure we enjoy theme parks and arcades just as much as the next family, but I enjoy seeing my children learn AND have fun too and it counts as school. #Bonus
Once we were back home and able to get organized, we went to CuriosityStream and searched for D-Day documentaries. That always leads us down wonderful rabbit holes and we can easily spend a day watching documentaries on the sofa, in our pajamas!
If you want an excellent “hands-on” experience for your students learning about D-Day or World War 2, you’ll certainly want to plan a road trip and make sure that a visit to Bedford, Virginia is on your list of stops. With there being so many exciting attractions in the area, you could easily make a full vacation out of it, if history is your thing.
Just make sure you feed the toddlers first!