Since we’re spending most of this summer down at Missionary Acres, we’re taking some time to explore the area. Last week, we had a blast at Elephant Rocks State Park.
Going exploring outside with Owen isn’t always easy. His wheelchair isn’t designed for off-roading, and though his special needs stroller does better, it’s not going to get too far off the beaten path.
One of the first things I noticed at Elephant Rocks State Park were the picnic tables that were wheelchair friendly. They had cement all the way around, so it was a smooth ride for Owen. He fit perfectly at the end of the table, without having to position him partway on the grass or anything.
The Braille Trail
After we finished lunch, we hit the Braille Trail. What’s amazing about this is that it’s designed for people with disabilities. The main part of the trail is fairly smooth, and Owen’s wheelchair glided nicely.
There were places for the other kids to explore, and when they went off, Owen and I (and the little boys) found some fun, shaded places to rest for a bit.
We found this trail to be perfect for our family. The little boys could walk it easily, and the wheelchair didn’t feel like it was going to tip over from steepness or anything.
Even the bridges were wide, and accommodated us nicely.
The Old Engine House
Partway down the trail, there’s a spur that broke off, which lead down to an old Engine House. The kids were fascinated by the old railroad track that was still there.
To the Top
Unfortunately, the Braille Trail didn’t go up to the top, where the largest rocks are. That path is fairly windy, narrow, and has stairs. But, the bigger kids had a fun time exploring it with Daddy.
Then, we switched places, and he sat with Owen and the little while I went to see the sights. This is where the huge row of rocks is, that stand like elephants in a circus (hence the name…)
There are great views here:
There were plenty of rocks to crawl under and around. Ellie had a blast exploring and trying to stay out of the sun.
Educational Fun at Elephant Rocks State Park
This state park would make a great educational field trip for your homeschool. Here are a few of the things you could study in preparation:
- Missouri State History
- Types of rocks and other geological topics
- Railway history
- Plant identification (aff link – a book like this can help!)
- Forest safety
While you’re there, your kids will get plenty of physical education. They can practice skills like side-stepping up rocks and safely scooting down if it gets too steep:
It’s so important to spend time in nature, and fun destinations like this make it even more special.
What To Bring
If you’re planning a trip to Elephant Rocks State Park, you’ll want to come prepared for outdoor exploration. You’ll want to bring:
- Sturdy shoes
- Water in reusable containers (no disposable containers past a certain point)
- A picnic lunch (well, that’s not essential, but it does allow you to stay longer)
- A sense of adventure
- Your camera (to capture some memories)
There wasn’t an entrance fee, which we appreciated. It was a very inexpensive way to spend time together as a family.
Unplugging for a bit and getting outside is a great way to spend time with your family. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend stopping by Elephant Rocks State Park and seeing God’s beautiful handiwork for yourself.