Want a great suggestion for what to do on a rainy day with your children? Travel the Earth, and beyond, from your home using Google Earth. This program originally used satellite images, but now you can see 3-D buildings, learn about the area you are viewing with Wikipedia, see photographs and you tube videos, find coffee shops, view the stars, etc. It is great fun traveling the globe.
The other night my oldest son, Jacob, and I went exploring. First, we looked at Galveston and Houston, Texas, then made our way to the North Pole. Did you know that there is a town called North Pole, Alaska? It was incorporated as a home rule city in January 1953. We then flew across the Pacific Ocean to China to see the Great Wall, (this link of the Great Wall was from an icon for the Discovery Network in Google Earth, which brings up a video showing the Great Wall and a brief history). The Great wall of China was built over 2,000 years ago by Qin Shi Huangdi. It stretches through the northern mountains of China and around Beijing.
After we left China, we went to Africa, then to Rome, Italy to see the Colosseum. We examined the Colosseum from all angles looking at the different photos and reading different facts. The Colosseum was constructed between 70 – 80 A.D. and was capable of holding approximately 50,000 spectators. As well as the gladiatorial games, other public spectacles were held there, such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The Colosseum was used for about 500 years.
In Google Earth there are icons for National Geographic. Clicking the icon brings up an article entitled “The Monument Tourists Don’t See” near the Colosseum by National Geographic. The article talks about a 2,000 year old sewer system and an even older drainage system found beneath the sewer. The drainage system was believed to be able to flood and drain the Colosseum allowing for the mock sea battles. Another icon for David Rumsey Map Collection, looks like a colorful compass, brings up an 1830 Map of Rome.
Bedtime was approaching, so we had to cut our adventure short. I asked Jacob where he would like to go for the last trip. He has been following the Los Angeles Angels this baseball season and wanted to see their stadium, so off we went. The first thing we looked at was the entrance to the park with the large red caps and the mini-ball field. Then we talked about the amount of parking around the stadium compared to Fenway Park in Boston, MA. We zoomed around and down to ground level to view the 3-D view and finished our journey with Jacob “throwing” the final pitch to end the game from the mound of the Angel Stadium of Anaheim.
Zooming around the globe is fun and can be very educational. I love history and enjoy the discussions I have with my son when he sees these magnificent sights. Hopefully someday we can see them in person, but until then, Google Earth is the way to go.