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For families on a budget, the best kind of summer vacation involves day trips to get to know their home state better. I received comped tickets to The Limberlost State Historic Site. All opinions are my own.
Check out these other places to visit in Indiana.
In an effort to be better at budgeting, and pay off some debt, we decided this summer vacation we’d stick close to home. With day trips around the state, I wanted to really get to know Indiana. The past, the present, and the future. For our first family day trip, we headed to The Limberlost and the home of Gene Stratton-Porter in Geneva, Indiana. At $6/adult and $3/child, it’s truly an affordable visit for large families like ours.
I recalled A Girl of the Limberlost as one of my mom’s favorite books so wanted to get a closer look at the author’s life, and the swamp that inspired her stories. I hoped it would lead to my kids enjoying our story time better, and give something they could talk to their Nana about.
Geneva, Indiana is a classic small town. Out in the middle of nowhere, with little cell service, it’s not a place you’ll just happen upon. It is, however, worth the drive out if you enjoy learning about authors, nature, and getting a dose of history.
The first thing I noticed as we pulled into the parking lot was the interesting rock wall fence. It seemed a bit haphazard, and possibly falling apart, with gaps between every stone. During the tour, we found out that Gene purposefully had the wall built this way so that creatures such as bunny rabbits, could easily cross her lawn. Coming and going as they please. We understood the delight Gene must have found watching these animals as we saw our first black squirrel scurrying around the yard, in and out of the rock wall, and up a tree.
As we toured inside the house, the kids loved getting to know this author and her love of nature in the Limberlost. From the stuffed birds that were a part of Gene’s and her daughters’ life, to the music they made together – our tour inside was made enjoyable and exciting by our knowledgeable guide. We sat around a replica of her dining room table as the guide read a passage from A Girl of the Limberlost that described that very room. Suddenly, the book had come alive for all of us.
I’ve never seen my children pay more attention to a tour then they did this one. Could it be because we had already begun reading A Girl of the Limberlost? Or perhaps our guide’s excitement was that contagious. Either way, we had a lot of fun learning about Gene’s life in Geneva.
The kids and Mark all loved taking a turn playing the pump organ (not Gene’s original) in the music room, and all of us enjoyed sitting on the back porch learning how Gene would collect cocoons then string them up near her bed so she wouldn’t miss the butterflies and moths as they emerged.
Any good trip ends with a visit to the gift shop. We got to see the largest moth hanging out in a butterfly habitat (I definitely should have written the name down…), tried to open a real bank safe that belonged to Gene’s husband, and enjoyed some other cool facts about the Limberlost.
Finally, we couldn’t leave without purchasing the Limberlost series. I’d been trying to read A Girl of the Limberlost on my phone to the kids, but it just wasn’t holding our attention that way. With fantastic prices, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. After a week of reading from the physical book, and the visit to the Limberlost fresh in our minds, story time got 100% more exciting with this purchase. I might have a slight book problem when it comes to things like this…but it’s all in the name of learning!