Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Activity: Mine Creek Battlefield

Location: 20485 Kansas Highway 52, Pleasanton KS

Ages: Appropriate for All

Cost: $2

Hours of Operation: Battlefield is open from sunup to sundown. Visitor Center times vary, so check the website.

We should really have a special section on civil war battlefields.

From the website:
"One of the largest cavalry engagements of the Civil War (and the largest west of the Mississippi River) was fought at theMine Creek Battlefield in Kansas on October 25, 1864 near present day Pleasanton when 2,500 Union soldiers defeated nearly 3 times that number of Confederate soldiers."

When one thinks of "Civil War Battlefield" the image of this place should come up. It's just a huge field in the rolling hills of Kansas. Seriously, it's gigantic. And it's a huge field.

Kids love huge fields though. They love space to run. They love space to tackle each other. And they love space to hide in the tall grass and hide from Dad.

The field is set up for a walking tour and walk you will. To walk the entire dirt track of the field is at least 2 to 3 miles. But you can get a stroller down there if you so choose. We made it about halfway before screaming kids asked us to turn around. But the parts that we did get to was well worth it.

Standing out in the middle of that big field made you really realize something about the Civil War. Mostly that if you were a lowly infantryman on either side, you were basically screwed. There was no hope for you pal. None what so ever. Where are you going to hide in the plains of Kansas? It's flat. There is no where to go. Now imagine that you were facing down charging Calvary on this plain. Yup, now you are double screwed.

That's the feel you get from this. The insanity that was that war and the bravery it took just to stay still. In the end, this is the battle that ran the Confederate army out of Missouri and Kansas once and for all.

The visitor center is a pretty nice setup. It's nicely built and well maintained. The local curator proved that he was very knowledgeable about the site and was very friendly with the kids. He seemed to enjoy their reckless abandon more than we did. There are several exhibits inside the visitors center that are well worth the stop off to read. There is also a display of all the bullets that have thus far been found on the battlefield and that is pretty interesting.

Take a trip to a big battlefield when you have a day to kill.

As for where to eat, your guess is as good as mine. There's not much in Pleasanton. My companion for the trip described it this way as we made our way through downtown:

"This is the kind of place that you always see the zombie Apocalypse come through."

All we were missing was a breeze and a tumbleweed.

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