This is my second time to this historic park and I love it! Being a huge history nut this was a definite stop. It really helped me realize what Lewis and Clark went through to make this journey. I'm thankful that President Jefferson was a visionary and sent them to explore the west! The fact that they had no idea what to expect, no maps, and no communication made this a journey beyond belief.
First, the park was easy to get too. If you are driving along the Oregon coast there are signs all along highway 1. The Visitor Center at Fort Clatsop was large, welcoming, and had wonderful park rangers with a vast amount of knowledge. The exhibits and movie are a definite must-see. It's a great educational experience for children and adults. The day that we had gone was a free weekend (I have a National Park Pass so this didn't really affect me) 14-16 January 2012. On non-free weekends, the cost is $3.00 per person if you are 16 or older. Fifteen and younger can get in for free.
Right outside the visitor center is a reconstructed wooden Fort simulating where the expedition team lived at while waiting for winter to pass so they could make their journey back east. There are trails everywhere. The park rangers even carved out a canoe that showed what they used for their journey on the Columbia River heading east.
This particular weekend the rangers dressed in period costumes. We got a timed ticket along with a sample "question sheet" with ideas of what to ask the Lewis and Clark party about living conditions and their journey here. There were fires in the rooms of the fort. They ate their stew in the same type bowls that were used back then. There was even a guy outside skinning animals (he told us they didn't actually kill them, that they were roadkill so no animals were intentionally hurt for this). The fact that it was a rainy, dreary day made this come even more to life and understand what kind of conditions they endured. Finally, they even had Lewis' dog, Seaman out this weekend.
Great place, great rangers, and a great day for young and old and everyone in between! The park rangers did a great job bringing us back in time! Let's keep our history alive!
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