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Vicksburg National Military Park

This park is beautifully maintained…and huge!

It’s true that the subject matter isn’t everyone’s cup-of-tea, but we made it a point to visit, as the kids have been studying the Civil War, and there is a lot of history here. In a really, really, really small nutshell, President Abraham Lincoln referred to the post at Vicksburg, Mississippi as “the key,” and he believed “the war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket.” The post at Vicksburg surrendered in 1863, and the Federal control of the Mississippi at that point helped ensure the survival of the Union.

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Everglades National Park

The first thing that was surprising about this park is the complete lack of mosquitoes! The second thing was how close you were to the wildlife. Really, really close. Like seeing the whites of their eyes, close.

This was our first National Park and since we planned on visiting many more before the year is over, we bought the America the Beautiful pass to cover admissions. We also made sure the kids got their passports stamped that our thoughtful friends Rebecca and Jonathan gave them. This was the first time participating in a Junior Ranger program and due to some grumbling, it was a required activity for our field trip. Turns out the park had run out of badges when the kids were done so they will be mailed to us. Bummer.