This morning I had the opportunity to go on my first real field trip since probably the sixth grade. After the passing of so many years, I still felt the excitement I did back then of leaving school grounds (or in this case the campus I work on) and doing something special that went against the monotony of everyday life. My gateway to this nostalgic experience came way of my girlfriend who serves as a second grade teacher at Palmetto Bays School. Sidney was nice enough to offer me a spot on the trip as a chaperone.
I don’t think I ever went on a field trip to a place as cool as where we went today. An architectural gem, the five second grade classrooms at Palmetto Bays went to Wonderworks, an “amusement park for the mind.” Please, take a look at the photo below. Yes, that is a structure completely built upside-down. Legend has it that the facility was originally located in the Bermuda Triangle but a failed experiment caused it to uproot, take off, and land face down in Myrtle Beach. Thankfully all the exhibits and fun zones remained completely intact.
Wonderworks has 50,000 square feet of space, four floors, and 100 exhibits…more than enough room to accommodate around 100 second graders. Don’t think these exhibits are corny poster board presentations you would find at a junior high science fair though. We are talking interactive, quality-constructed stations such as a bubble lab, time machine, larger than life interactive games, and a giant piano keyboard. All exhibits encourage young children to flock to them while at the same time teaching a lesson.
Walking through the different floors I kept running into cool things such as a mini NASA station, a robot-serviced frozen yogurt stand, a bed of nails for kids to sprawl out on, several fun rides, and so much more. I admired exhibits devoted to sharks, the Titanic, every sport you could think of, and even lite-brite. I fondly observed the endless enthusiasm of the second graders. They were having a blast while also keeping the teachers and chaperones very busy.
Sidney and I were assigned to the indoor ropes course. Yes, in addition to the laser tag arena and theater, they also had an extensive indoor ropes course. We climbed up to the fourth floor and let the seven and eight-year-olds tackle their fear of heights. Yeah, right. These kids were absolutely fearless. They didn’t think twice about throwing on the harness and navigating through the course. As the obstacles ascended higher and higher, the second graders didn’t bat an eye. I walked on solid ground and looked up at them. Sidney, however, looked down on me as she was going through the course right with them. I enjoyed myself watching both students and teacher have fun up in the sky.
What I enjoyed most though was just watching Sidney do her job. She is so good at what she does. As I have written about in the past, a teaching gig is by no means easy but Sid makes it look that way. Although I had a wonderful time this morning, it just reinforced to me that I could never successfully do what these teachers are able to accomplish day in and day out.
Spending an hour outside of work to go on a fun activity such as this was exactly what I needed. It gave me a glimpse into the lives of very young youths, a segment of the population that I sometimes forget about. It also let me get inside of Sidney’s world. Finally, it was just a fun, wholesome way to spend the morning. I am thankful to the Palmetto Bays second grade community for letting me tag along. Don’t Blink.