8 Reasons to Take Your Kids on a History Trip

by Fran Stephenson | May 30, 2012
There are tons of things for kids to do at the South Texas Heritage Center this summer. Here are eight.

Great Stuff for Kids to Do This Summer

At the Robert J. and Helen C. Kleberg South Texas Heritage Center, activities for children are top of mind.  Here are eight that we think will strike a chord with your kids.

1. Topography Touch Table

Touch Table at the South Texas Heritage Center This backlit table features a map of all the oil wells in Texas plus historic photos and videos about looking for oil.  You command and control what you want to see….was their an oil well in your backyard? Blow up the map or minimize and virtually “fly” the photos on and off the screen.

2. Cattle Drive Pinball

Cattle Drive Pinball The cattle drivers encountered numerous obstacles including hostile enemies, four-legged predators, bad weather and lost animals. Navigate the obstacles in a pinball-style game that even adults will enjoy.

3. Saddle sores

Saddles for Kids to Try Think riding was easy?  While the Comanche and the Vaquero make it look easy, it’s takes a bit of orientation to get used to riding all day every day. Try it out and see what it took to stay in the saddle.

4. Load the burro

Why was it important to get the load on a pack animal just right? Your family eating next week depended on getting all the goods home. That means balancing the load to get maximum effect from the burro’s abilities. Kids can add and subtract different loads to see if they get it right.

5. Peek-a-boo

Peekaboo Boxes Ranch life had lots of unique tools, symbols and language.  In a series of “peek-a-boo boxes,” test your skill at identifying what every 1850s rancher knew to survive.

6. Water hauler

Turn on the faucet? No way! Ranch kids had to haul water from the nearest well. To be efficient, they used yokes to balance a bucket of water on either side to haul it to the house for cooking and bathing. Try on the yoke. It’s not as easy as it looks.  

7. Bringing Characters to Life

Using a technique called Pepper’s Ghost, an illusory technique which superimposes images out of thin air, kids will enjoy hearing from Texans who found oil in the late 1800s and watch what it was like to work in the oilfields.  This is not your grandfather’s diorama!

8. Robots from the 1850s?

Greeting visitors in the Entrance Gallery is a “trucker” from the 1850s next to his wagon. But he’s a cine-robot. He looks like a mannequin, but he talks and his face moves. It’s a cool piece of technology  that immediately makes the center come to life.