Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Long, Boring Post About Solvang (Lots of Pictures!)

I debated putting this on my homeschool blog or my private family blog.  It's going here because it was an awesome "extended field trip" and it may inspire others to visit this cool place.  Also, this is my record of everything the kids learned on our trip.

Before we even got on the road, we had to wait for Grandpa at this office building.  To keep the kids entertained and to tire them out, I had them doing a ton of races outside.  Running, hopping, skipping.

Solvang is a historic town near Santa Barbara that was founded by Danish educators.  So it is very touristy and meant to look like a piece of Denmark.  We have Danish ancestry on my mother's side so it was really cool for the kids to see.

Lots of windmills everywhere.

Our condo was several blocks away from the town so we walked there every day.

 Cool buildings.

Look, a map!

This cool wood cut was on the side of one building.  It had a figure to represent every monarch from Gorm the Old to today.  Supposedly an unbroken line!

Danish flags everywhere.

A lot of the buildings had little statues of storks on the top.  The stork is a symbol of good luck in Denmark.

Grandpa taught the girls their map skills to figure out where we were and where we wanted to go.

We loved this landmark.  It's a replica of a famous statue in Copenhagen.  It's the Little Mermaid. Because, ya know, Hans Christian Anderson was from Denmark.  It's got a green hue to it, just like the Statue of Liberty, because of the copper.

Here's a bust of him we found in a park nearby.

 All the street names were in Danish.  One street was Atterdag.  On Atterdag street, we saw this legend about King Atterdag posted on a building.  Atterdag means "another day," by the way.  One evening I found a list of all the street names in Solvang with their translations and had Primus look over them.  She thought it was really cool and kept saying "atterdag" every chance she got.

We stopped for lunch at this park.  The kids had a blast kicking a ball around in this bandstand.  Primus also practiced some tree climbing while we were here.

There's a popular shoe store in town that has this large red clog out front.

The girls thought this huge ice cream cone outside the ice cream shop was cool.

We were there for the annual Christmas Tree Burn.  Everyone brings their Christmas trees and the have a huge bonfire on the land next to the Mission Santa Inez.  But before they lit the big pile, the firefighters lit a single dried out tree to show us how fast it catches and burns.  Then they lit a wet tree to illustrate how important it is to keep your Christmas tree well watered. 

 Dry on left.  Wet on right.  See how the flame even went out before consuming the whole thing?

Then they lit the big pile.  Man, was it hot!!

 Here you can kind of see and get an idea of the huge crowd that was there.

One day we went to this cool wooden castle-themed playground outside of town.  

This is a puppet theatre area at the playground.  The kids used hats as impromptu puppets. 

The Elverhoj museum.  Mission Statement:  To collect, preserve and exhibit the history and
Danish culture of Solvang and to promote the arts.  Small, but free (suggested donation) and very cool.

Learning about Vikings.  The kids were given papers that taught them how to write their names in ruins.

This sweet old lady taught us about, and gave a demonstration of, making lace using the bobbin method.

Cool artifacts and recreations.

That sampler on the wall shows the Danish alphabet.  They have no "w" and have 3 extra letters added to the end.

On the drive home, we stopped at Pismo Beach.  We noticed some sedimentary rocks and collected sea shells.

This little live crab freaked out Tertius.

We went to a spot in Pismo where we could see migratory Monarch butterflies.  So cool!

See what looks like orange dead leaves?  Those are clusters of monarchs!

Outside Solvang is an ostrich and emu farm.  We bought some food so we could feed some. It was the coolest experience!  To feed them, you get a metal dust pan that has a large bowl attached to it filled with feed.  You are instructed to hold it by the handle and hold on tight.  Those ostriches are strong!  And kind of scary; Primus was too scared and had Grandpa feed them for her.  I had to help Secundus hold hers.  Those birds almost knocked the pan out of our hands and tried to grab the edge of the bowl to pull it away from us. 

The emus were much more gentle!

Solvang was more fun than I thought it would be.  If we are ever in the area again, I would like to visit the cute little town again and eat some more delicious pastries.  Also, we never did make it to the small Hans Christian Anderson museum.


  1. What fun! Kinda envious at the moment. ;)

    We've not truly gotten out of doors on a regular basis. I miss it.

  2. Thanks for stopping by!
    I am a major extrovert and have to get out of the house almost daily to stay sane. Thankfully all my kids seem to have taken after me instead of my husband. He didn't even come with us on this trip!
    I wish your family the best!