In Montpelier, Idaho we found The National Oregon California Trail Center, which offers those who travel to this out of the way town a real treat. On our Rocky Mountain Road Trip adventure we found lots of unique stops, but of course time limits the amount that can be seen. We both enjoy historical places that focus on the period of Westward Expansion. Crystal enjoys the stories of people’s lives, and their experiences during these trying times. I like to learn about the tools they used to tame the land, and help them cross the rugged terrain.
Preparing for the Journey.
Visitors are escorted through the exhibits by character actors portraying various professions that would be found in days gone by. After paying our $12.00 each for admission, we were introduced to our guide. Dave, our Wagon Master, escorted us to the small store, where he explained the items that we would need on our 2000 mile journey. He showed us a variety of tools we would have used to complete our daily chores on the trail.
Next he showcased our wagon that would serve as our transportation, storage, and lodging for the hard road ahead. We were loaded into a simulator, which uses audio/video technology to help guests get the feeling of what it would have been like to cross a river. Once safely across, we exited the other side of the wagon, and found ourselves at our nightly campsite.
Nightfall brings new discoveries.
Here we were greeted by Mrs. Adams, one of the other travelers on this journey. She beckoned us to join her by the campfire, and then proceeded to tell us about the evening rituals that we would have experienced. Along with this historical lesson, she peppered in a little campfire gossip about some of our fellow wagon train members. It was quite educational and entertaining.
As the stories continued, the artificial evening wore on. Soon the sunset spreads across the sky, and the red lights of dusk start to fade. Our visit draws to a close, and we are ushered out of this area, and back toward the main entrance.
The end of the trail.
Visitors exit the auditorium, and walk through an art gallery featuring a variety of western pieces. Before leaving, we stopped in the gift shop for a couple of mementos of our stop. Our visit to The National Oregon California Trail Center was a fun way to experience history. The actors really helped make the experience fun for the guests. As we drove off southward toward Bear Lake, we found ourselves with plenty of new discussion material.