Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site
Completed: July 22, 2018
As part of our tour of park sites in the Northeastern states we spent a rainy Sunday afternoon at this site. It was a re-visit, one to which I looked forward. In my travels I have seen many of his beautiful gardens throughout the country. Besides walking through his house you can tour the architecture office upstairs, which I did on a previous visit. On this visit I enjoyed sitting in a comfy chair by a window overlooking the lawn.
This booklet is set up for five age groups; age 4 and under, ages 5-7, ages 8-10, ages 10-13 and ages 13+. The number of activities is age dependent with only 3 needed for the youngest and all of the activities, 20 for the oldest. The rangers on the day of my visit encouraged me to do as many pages as I could, but did not require all of the activities to be completed. I appreciate this accommodation, as some of the pages are a bit simplistic. As a Senior Ranger I like doing as much as possible, but want the activities to be as meaningful as possible.
The activities include a variety of learning opportunities such as; word unscramble, word search, scavenger hunt, historic photography, matching, design process flowchart, sketch comparison, connect the dots, tracing paper plan, leaf identification, national location research, outside experience, bingo and arrowhead drawing. A great variety of activities kept this program interesting and challenging.
Several activities I really enjoyed was researching an Olmsted-designed project in my state, Arizona. I learned that El Tovar Hotel landscaping at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park was designed by the Olmsted firm. As a side note, most of the landscaping at this location has recently been redone using plants that are native and use less water.
I always enjoy the bingo and scavenger hunt activities, it is a challenge to keep looking for the items. An activity focusing on the Drafting Room showed how plans are developed from a sketch and change along the way.
The ranger on duty spent time reviewing and discussing my completed work, something I always appreciate. I received the enhanced wooden badge depicting a small branch of leaves.