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What do you do when it’s the last week of school and George Washington Carver National Monument is between the school and your home? You stop by and take a walk, of course!
It was a beautiful day, so Kristin and I couldn’t resist making a stop here on the way home from school. I teach in Diamond where the monument is located. We make the 25-minute drive home every day to Joplin, so we pass by the turnoff for the monument all the time. It feels like it is in the middle of nowhere, and I guess it is. The monument is located where George Washington Carver was born and spent his boyhood. When you make the turnoff, it isn’t long before you see this.
There is ample parking in front of the visitor’s center. There is also no charge for visiting the center or walking the trail, but there is a small gift shop. If you’re into magnets like we are, you’ll be glad to know they have some. They also accept donations.
There is an informational film that is shown periodically throughout the day if you want to know more about the life of George Washington Carver. There are also several exhibits inside about his life and work.
The center also aspires to educate about the science Carver studied and nature in the area. The site often hosts school groups and offers special programs during the year that focuses on work and life of Carver. In one area of the center, a reproduction of an 1800s schoolroom allows students to get a taste of education in the past. The room is also is capable of integrating technology into lessons taught here. Kristin posed in this room holding a spelling book reproduction.
The visitor’s center has several immersive exhibits about nature, science, and life in the 1800s.
It’s difficult to see in the above picture, but that is actually a model of a cabin that would have been similar to the one Carver was born in. Carver was born into slavery, but after the war and the deaths of his parents, his previous owners raised Carver and his brother.
After we looked around inside the visitor’s center, it was time to hit the trail!
There is so much natural beauty along this trail. You are able to experience the Ozarks, just as Carver would have as a child.
After winding through the woods, we found the little white house on the property that was built sometime later after Carver had left home. It is believed he visited. You can go inside the house and see some artifacts. If you need a rest, you can sit a spell in a rocking chair.
You can also get a glimpse of the prairie grass that is north of the house.
After visiting the house area, we opted to make our return trip along the same path we took to get there. You can take a longer walk around the site if you wish. It is not shaded like this trail is, so it can be a really warm walk in the summer.
Along this trail, you have a chance to see the statue of Carver as a boy. It’s easy to picture him running through the forest or wading in the stream. Perhaps he sat near this very spot studying a flower or a spider. Maybe he listened to a cardinal sing or watched a squirrel scurry through the woods. His childhood certainly contributed to his love of nature and his desire to improve the science of agriculture.
George Washington Carver National Monument is a delightful way to spend a few hours, especially in the spring!