Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Two Missions in One Morning

We decided to take a field trip today. I didn't tell the kids where we were going until we got there but they were really excited to see something we had just read about the day before. Sophie was especially surprised to find out that we had two Missions so close to home.

Mission Santa Clara is located on the campus of Santa Clara University so it is very well kept and the grounds were beautiful. My husband said he has a few co-workers who chose this as their wedding venue. Today the campus was getting ready for graduation but nobody seemed to mind that we wandered around.
My kids had a lot of fun exploring the grounds. There wasn't any museum or even a visitor's center so we just looked at the buildings and frolicked through the roses, wisteria and birds of paradise that filled the gardens around the buildings. 
Here is Henry showing us how thick the adobe walls are. 
He also felt the need to try out every door. This one was very beautifully carved with a bear.
 Near the rose garden we found a statue of Father Junipero Serra who was the founder of the California Missions. Father Serra was the only person I remember from my 4th grade year when we did California history.

As we left this first mission Sophie was excited to see that the road we were on was the El Camino Real. All the missions are about a day's ride from each other all along the El Camino Real.  I am glad we had a car to drive the 20 minutes it took for us to reach the 2nd mission on our tour,  Mission San Jose. Sophie checked to see if we were still on the El Camino Real and we weren't this mission is located on Mission Blvd. 
This mission was not as well manicured as the Santa Clara Mission. I explained to the kids that this is more realistic and much more like what the mission probably really looked like.

Mission San Jose had a nice little museum inside which showed some of the history of the place and the people that lived in it.

There were dioramas about the Native Indian people that lived on the land before the Spanish came.

They had furniture and clothing displayed to show what the padres would have worn and how they lived.

The gardens were not as well kept and not nearly as colorful but the kids still enjoyed waking through them. And of course they found the statue of Father Serra and a fountain. They were thrilled with the discovery.

Inside the chapel we looked at all the icons, paintings and statues.

I am glad my kids were well behaved in the chapel. There were some people inside praying. I know both of the missions we saw today still hold services inside.

On the whole I felt like it was a successful field trip. I am glad we went to both missions. I had planned to only go to one but I think it was good to see them both to see the similarities and the contrasts. And Best of all, my kids got to see and touch a little bit of California history today and see some of the things we have been reading about come to life a little more.


Michelle said...

How cool! I remember doing mission reports in elementary school. I did San Juan Capistrano.

Bibliophile said...

I wish I could have gone with you. Every time we pass Mission Blvd. signs, I think, "I would love to see the San Jose Mission." I didn't realize that there was a Santa Clara Mission. Good field trip!

Diane said...

What wonderful places to be able to visit. We have been studying about The Alamo and going west so these missions would have fit right in. Great field trip for your kids.