The California Trail Interpretive Center had been open for a mere two weeks when we visited it in Nevada. We didn't even know it was there; just stopped by as we drove across I-83 and thought it'd be a good place to let the kids use the bathroom.  Instead we ended up staying hours.  The museum focuses on following each of the different groups that followed the California trail at one point or another and all the reasons they went.  It's kid friendly and the docents were super nice and very cool with the girls.  This is my era of interest and yet I still learned quite a few things I didn't know before.  I highly recommend.

They also had exhibits on the Native Americans of the area and had several real life examples of dwellings, which the girls really enjoyed trying out.

The museum is situated at the end of the famous Hastings Cut-off, which the Donner party took as a short cut to California.  Basically, they met back up with the regular trail after coming through that canyon in the photo below.  But they left too late, didn't stock up on supplies when they should have, and, well... results were not ideal as I'm sure you've heard.  We hiked up the hill behind to get this view.  Hard to believe something so beautiful turned into something so bad.

If it hasn't been completely obvious through these posts about our trip to Nevada, The KingofHearts and I spent a lot of our time there seeking out historical sites and learning opportunities for The Shortlings.  It's not something we even plan; just more of a compulsion.  Of course talking in general is a compulsion for the both of us.  Talking when we have a captive audience is just a bonus.  "See thatThat is blahblahblahblah and the historical significance of that is blahblahblahblah..."

"But Mooom, I'm only four."

"Well, you've gotta learn it sometime."

Oh lordy, it just occurred to me that I've turned into my Grandfather.   

At some point while we were driving around and either The KoH or I was pontificating on an historical event that happened near here or what the early settlers had to deal with or some such thing, I started to wonder when the kids were going to be sick of our schtick. 

Just about then, The Dormouse piped up with, "You know what I love about our family vacations?"

"No, what?"

"Well, where ever we go, whatever we see, it always seems to turn into a history lesson."

"And you like that?"

"Yeah, I think it's really cool."

Raising nerds, people.  And that's fine by me.