Come experience what it was like to be a pioneer and travel the trails! Help decide what travelers would pack in their wagon, read diary entries from kids who followed the trails west, and see wagon swales from years ago.
Before Your Visit:
- Consider visit some of the other historic sites in Independence while you're there.
- The museum has a nice gift shop with lots of old-time toys and souvieners so if you're kids have a little spending money, they may want to bring it.
- Consider taking the trolley to various exhibits throughout the city.
- One of the special events offered at the museum are Covered Wagon rides, so check the schedule if you are interested in taking a ride.
Explore National Trails Museum:
- The 'pack your wagon' exhibit is great hands-on fun for kids! First, kids get to experience many of the items that pioneers needed when they travelled west. Next, kids will choose which items they think are most important and pack a wagon with those items. The trick is that they can only take a certain amount (or the wagon is too heavy for the horses to pull). Lots of learning fun!
- There is an exhibit of a General store where pioneers would buy supplies, and a packed wagon for kids to see.
- Other interactive exhibits include:
- Building a cabin with lincoln logs
- Spinning the wheel to see if you hit gold in the gold rush (although, I will warn parents that some of the outcomes on the wheel may be things they don't want to explain to young children).
- Pack a saddle exhibit allows kids to see how you would load up a horse or donkey.
- The Chicago Alton Railroad Depot is also located at the same location - it may or may not be open so check their hours.
Learn More about the Trails:
- Try watching this School House Rock video shows you some reasons that people decided to move west.
- Introduce life on the trails with these books:
View National Frontier Trails Museum in a larger map