The aviation tour follows the incredible history of the Wright brothers discovery of flight. It includes 16 historical sites, interpretive centers, and museums dedicated to aviation.
Last weekend visited Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio. This site is a beautiful testament to the Progressive Era's emphasis on conservation of the natural environment.The location itself makes you feel relaxed, as you are surrounded by natural beauty and impressive architecture.
You can bring yourself to visit this location just to appreciate the architecture alone. The original building consists of the Palm House and Davis Showhouse. The Palm house features palm species from around the world.
According to the conservatory's website, "the design of this grand Victorian-style glass greenhouse, built in 1895, was influenced by the success of Chicago’s World Fair and Columbian Exposition in 1893 and inspired by the City Beautiful movement." Later additions were matched to resemble the older style.
The conservatory is divided into sections based on geography and environment. During our visit in September, a special exhibit, "Topiaries at the Conservatory: Wild Wonders" featured plant sculptures of elephants and giraffes. My kids really appreciated the whimsical nature of the animals; it was reminiscent of the sculptures at Epcot during the garden show.
From there, we found a kids play area in the middle with kids' farmer's market stand. Our little one really enjoyed playing store with her sister.
One unique feature is that the conservatory exhibits renowned glass artwork by Dale Chihuly. This glasswork is probably one of the most beautiful glass displays I have seen, comparable to those in Venice, Italy. The glass is incorporated into the actual walkways of the botanical gardens, adding a beautiful contrast to the natural displays. The vibrant colors and beautiful shapes of the colorful glassworks seem to add the feel of moving water to the gardens as you walk through. According to his website, Chihuly's art focuses on the avant garde use of glass, which adds a new dimension to this medium. The conservatory features a glass blowing studio and here you can observe a demonstration of glass making at various times during the day.
After appreciating the glass, we ventured on to the butterfly conservatory. The tour begins with a view of the butterfly larvae at various stages of development. The girls stopped to view the cocoons before entering the butterfly conservatory.
Inside we found a beautiful pathway of plants and were at liberty to explore and observe the various species. New butterflies are released at certain times in the day, and during this time we were lucky to see a great deal of butterflies flying around. The butterfly expert explained the various species in depth, as she released them. The girls really enjoyed being able to delicately hold some of the butterflies as they flew on their hands.
One of the most impressive parts of this site, are the outdoor gardens surrounding the property. The gardens provide a perfect spot to walk around with our family on a Sunday afternoon. I would recommend going on a breezy day, as the heat prevented us from enjoying the gardens more fully. Overall, our trip to the conservatory was a great way to explore history, art and nature with our kids.
Put-In-Bay is one of the Midwest's weirdly unique places. It is actually an island on Lake Erie, just off the coast of Sandusky, Ohio. The area is home to Cedar Point, the largest amusement park in Ohio, a popular summer destination for families. If you are visiting the area, the island of Put-In-Bay has interesting historical significance to explore on a day trip. The name of the island is said to come from its use by sailors in the late 1700's to wait out storms on Lake Erie, hence "Put-In-Bay".
NATIONAL PARK MONUMENT - PERRY'S VICTORY & INTERNATIONAL PEACE MEMORIAL
The highlight of the island is, "Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial." According the National Park Service website, "the Memorial, a Doric column, rising 352 feet over Lake Erie is situated 5 miles from the longest undefended border in the world." It is the nation's 3rd tallest National Monument and world's most massive Doric column, commemorating the long standing peace between Great Britain, Canada and the United States. American sailors were stationed on Put-In-Bay during the War of 1812, and won the Battle of Lake Erie against the British. At its base, lie the remains of three British officers and three United States officers. Carved in the stone rotunda are the names of those who were lost in the battle. The monument is the only international monument in the National Park Service and the world's most massive Doric column.
DETOUR IN AVON, OHIO
We began our stay with a detour, an hour away in Avon, Ohio outside of Cleveland. The Residence Inn there is new, with a modern kitchen, very spacious rooms, and a good sized indoor pool. The town of Avon was hosting an Art Fair at a mixed shopping development, and we were able to take advantage of our trip to see local artisanal crafts and have a lovely dinner. I would highly recommend the city of Avon if you want to avoid the crowds of Sandusky and are interested in a more laid-back weekend trip that does not include the amusement park. Sandusky hosts many hotels and some have indoor water parks, so if you are looking for those types of activities stay closer to Put-In-Bay.
On the morning drive, we took a local road from Avon to the ferry port. There are two options to get the Lake Erie islands in this area. One is Miller Ferry, the main commuter ferry, which is less expensive, costing $7 per adult and $1.50 per child over 6 years old for a one way ticket. The Miller ferry runs every 30 minutes in the summer until 9pm. This ferry allows you to take your car at certain times, but you won't need it. Most people rent a Golf-cart to get around the island, and our kids loved this idea. The downside of the Miller ferry is that it leaves you on the less "touristy" south side of the island, but since the island is small this is a small inconvenience.
We wanted a faster boat, so we opted for the more expensive option of the Jet-Express to make for a more exciting ride. The Jet Express leaves from both Sandusky and Port Clinton. If you are visiting the amusement park at Cedar Point, there is also an option directly from the park. If you have time, you also buy a ticket that includes the neighboring Kelly's Island. The cost of an adult round-trip fare from Port Clinton to Put-in-Bay is $33 for adults and $6 for kids.
The boat ride to Put-In-Bay was relaxing and lasted about 30 minutes. The weather was perfect, and the girls really enjoyed taking in the views from the top deck. Our two year old made it clear the boat ride was her favorite part of the day. Once docking, we immediately found a spot to rent a golf cart. There are ample options around the island that are very easy to spot. We paid a bit more to get a cart rental right next to the boat dock.
From there, we drove to Perry's monument, and took in some of the historical information posted outside. You can climb up the stairs of the monument normally, but it was closed for renovations. There is a also a National Park museum which features a film outside the memorial. We then drove past the memorial on the coastline. We found a cool spot to take pictures by the water, and the view was beautiful. We then made our way to our second adventure, Perry's Cave.
EXPLORING THE CAVES
The island is home to a few limestone caves formed during the last Ice-Age. Heineman's Winery is home to Crystal Cave. According to their website, "Crystal Cave is the world's largest geode. . . covered in strontium sulfate, a blueish mineral called celestite." During our next trip, we would like to see this cave, because it is supposed to have beautiful formations.
Our family opted to explore Perry's Cave this visit, which also hosts a family-fun center. Perry's cave has historical significance in that it provided a well of much needed water source for soldiers during the Battle of Lake Erie. Native Americans directed Perry to this cave, thereby changing the history of the War. The cave itself is smaller than I imagined, but the kids enjoyed the tour guide's approachable narrative. He explained that the water in the cave had turned green due to coins being tossed in wishing well. Unfortunately, some of the formations have been lost due to exploitation of its crystals for profit in past generations. We then explored the Gem Stone mining station outside. We decided to buy a sack of dirt and minerals, and they were able to rinse out the dirt in a draining station to reveal their finds. The girls then made their way to the Fort maze, which was a fun labyrinth for them to escape.
We drove out to find World of Chocolate nearby and did some window shopping of the various sweets. We hopped on our golf cart and headed back near the dock and let the kids play in the park near the boat dock. This park has a beautiful view of the water. Our day ended having lunch near the main strip of the town.
Overall, we had a very relaxing day with plenty of new experiences. If we return to the island next year, we would like to visit the Aquatic Visitors Center on Lake Erie’s South Bass Island near Put-in-Bay. This center is funded by the Ohio Sea Grant and hosts many events for children, explaining the significance of the preservation of Lake Erie. Kids can also borrow fishing gear and fish for free. Another thing we would like to do is visit Gilbratar Island, home to Stone Laboratory and the lookout island for Perry's troops. A visit to this island from Put-In-Bay takes some advance planning.
According to the The Ohio State University Sea Grant website,
"Gibraltar Island tours are available from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Wednesdays June 21 – August 9, 2017. Groups tour the island, including Perry’s Lookout, the glacial grooves and Cooke Castle before learning more about Stone Lab research. Tours can accommodate up to 70 people on a first-come, first-served basis. Meet at the Boardwalk Restaurant dock, 341 Bayview Ave. Put-in-Bay, Ohio at 10:45 a.m. to attend a tour. $10 per person, $5 for children ages 6-12. The water taxi to Gibraltar Island is $6 round-trip, payable to the boat driver."
We also have added on our to-do list the The Lake Erie Historical Society's museum which gives some history of the island.
We recently made a visit to the National sites dedicated to Abraham Lincoln in Kentucky. There are some others in Indiana as well, but these are the earliest. I highly recommend planning this visit in warmer months, as the most impressive part is touring the grounds.
Lincoln famously said,
"I was born and have ever remained, in the most humble walks of life."
His early homes are evidence of that, as they show the typical life of a Frontier family of his time. Abraham Lincoln's family moved around quite a bit due to some unforeseen hardships related to instability in the family's claim to land titles.
His birthplace home and first boyhood home are very close to each other. The first home was Sinking Spring Farm, a modest and typical Pioneer farm. The original cabin here was lost, but the National Park Service reconstructed a symbolic cabin here inside a massive stone Memorial Building dedicated in 1911.
Just below the Memorial Building, you will find a Spring, called "Sinking Spring". You can walk down the stone steps to see the Spring well as it appeared in Lincoln's time. You can imagine the family using this water source and I was able to explain its importance to my daughters.
The site also has a visitor's center and the grounds are currently under renovation, it appears to improve the walking paths to the Memorial Building. The construction site is very clean and did not interfere one bit with our visit, even with little ones running around. The wooden walkway is beautiful and provides very easy access to the Memorial.
The visitor's center features a film about Lincoln and a reconstruction of the inside of a typical pioneer home. They also offer Junior Rangers programs, all these things are free of charge.
Just ten miles Northeast of his birthplace cabin, you will find Lincoln's boyhood home at Knob Creek.
Lincoln once said of Knob Creek,
"I was born February 12, 1809 in Hardin Country, Kentucky. My earliest recollection, however is of the Knob Creek place." (NPS National Historic Park Brochure, 2017).
The lands surrounding this landmark are impressive. The rolling mountains provide a calming presence, and the lush greenery let's you imagine life as Lincoln must have experienced it in his boyhood days. There are some towering trees that provide shade for a moment of reflection. On this property, you will find a log cabin which has been reconstructed from the wood of the original cabin.
You will also find a larger structure next to the cabin, once home to a Tavern for traveling visitors.
There is a beautiful, serene nature at this farm, and it lets you imagine some of Lincoln's own recollection of his childhood. The land itself was on 30 acres, with fertile land for crops and a nearby creek often described in Lincoln's stories. It was here where he played and almost drowned as a boy. The Knob Creek area was also home to a Separatist Baptist congregation that disapproved of slavery, and it was probably here where Lincoln began to formulate his later views on slavery. According to the NPS brochure, Lincoln said that his family, "removed to what is now Spencer Country, Indiana . . .partly on account of slavery. . ." and also on account of eviction due to a prior claim on the land, and relocated to the free state of Indiana.
There is a natural trail along the waters of Knob Creek and a hiking trial giving an overlook of the valley below. To continue the tour of Lincoln's life, the National Parks established the Lincoln highway Trail, to follow the family's route through Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois.
A recent, memorable drive was our visit to Fort Ancient on the Miami River valley. The Fort Ancient State Memorial is on the National Register of Historic Places, due to its importance in telling the story of Native cultures in America. The site contains original earthen mounds and a plateau enclosed by large "embankment walls" built by Hopewell Indians. According to the museum website, "The Hopewell, known for their engineering expertise, built these walls and many other features both within the enclosure and on the steep valleys that surround the site: conical and crescent-shaped mounds, limestone pavements and circles, and many subsurface elements that are currently coming to light.. . " Recently, the site was nominated for consideration to the UNESCO World Heritage list for its importance.
Three sites in Ohio that have received nominations, among them Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, Serpent Mound and the Dayton Aviation Sites (Worldheritageohio.org, 2016), all worth visiting. There is a trail of ancient sites available here with more detailed information, for those who would like to see all of these types of sites from Ancient Ohio.
The Hopewell lived from 200 BC to AD 500, along fertile rivers in the Northeast and Midwest, as the map below shows (Wikipedia, 2016). The mounds are part of the Woodland period and scientists believe they were used for ceremonials purposes (World Hertiage Ohio, Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, 2016).
Walking these hiking trials and seeing the mounds up close, our family felt a connection to the history of these lands. These mounds provide a glimpse into the world of ancient civilizations that were so connected to the land, as a form of sustenance and reverence.
The drive to Fort Ancient is beautiful in its own right, as it is located on the banks for the Miami River on winding roads and close to many zip-lining and kayaking areas. The natural habitat provokes a sense of peace and respect for people who lived thousands of years ago.
The embankment walls are a cause of archaeological debate, as they are said have no defense relevance. The mounds are said to be of ceremonial importance.
According to World Hertiage Ohio,
"The Fort Ancient Hilltop Enclosure is the largest and best-preserved structure of its kind in the world. Three miles of sinuous earthen embankments include 67 stone-lined gateways, and are accompanied by a continuous necklace of clay-lined ponds. Pairs of mounds create three distinctive monumental gateways; four other stone-covered mounds form a perfect square aligned to solar and lunar events"(World Hertiage Ohio, Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, 2016).
Others believe they may have served dual purposes. According to AncientOhioTrail, "Professor Ken Tankersley of the University of Cincinnati has recently argued that the construction of these so-called “forts” had much to do with water management, and also that this design was more extensive than what was recorded on the best-known nineteenth-century map." Seeing the site up close, allows one to judge what they may have been used for. Our family walked by several sites where mounds where still evident in the landscape and others where man-made ponds once stood.
Another similar Hopewell site worth noting, The Earthworks at Newark Ohio, "include the 1200-foot-diameter Great Circle with its steep inner ditch and monumental framed gateway, plus the Octagon Earthworks – a perfect circle and adjoining octagon over a half-mile across – whose perfectly formed, eye-level embankments align with all eight of the key rise- and set-points of the moon during its 18.6-year cycle, within a smaller margin of error than that at Stonehenge. . . "(World Heritage Ohio, 2016).
The museum offers a great overview of the daily life of Native Americans. It is a great way to introduce a history of Native American cultures to children.
My kids really enjoyed the exhibits, which are excellent teaching resources. The picture above shows my girls considering how daily life played out, using an artistic recreation of the village at Fort Ancient.
The museum has several galleries dedicated to understanding the archaeology and history of Native peoples. The museum also teaches how archaeological evidence is obtained. The historical galleries go in chronological order, up until the era of European contact.
There is one section that serves as a learning center, where kids can play with instruments, touch common tools, and try on traditional clothing. I really appreciated a wall dedicated to a timeline (pictured below), which showed different aspects of everyday life according to time period. The gallery does an excellent job distinguishing the differences in lifestyle, while making it kid-friendly for all ages. This gave my children an understanding of the diversity of cultures over time. This gallery was appropriate for all ages. Even my two year old found it engaging, as she found some instruments to play with.
Fort Ancient includes both a museum that gives a historical overview of Native cultures in America and the Earthworks, the prehistoric hill top enclosures. In addition, Fort Ancient has two sister sites in Dayton, including SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park which brings to life Fort Ancient culture though a partial Village reconstruction and interpretive center (Fort Ancient website). The other is the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. The Dayton Society of Natural History membership allows access to all these sites.
On a final note, it is imperative that the public support the efforts to preserve these sites so they are not lost for future generations, by visiting or writing letters to congress in support for UNESCO consideration. The visit is definetly worth the time, and gives families with children a deeper understanding of Native American history.
The National Museum of the United States Air Force is an icon of National Aviation Heritage and a repository of national treasures. According to its website, the museum is "the oldest and largest military aviation museum in the world." It is located at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton, Ohio. Yes, that is the same location where the Wright brothers perfected their plane. You can actually plan an entire aviation week, encompassing nearby attractions related to the history of flight. I will write about some of these in later posts. The museum is free, and there is ample free parking.
SCOPE & SIZE
To say the museum is large is an understatement. It has over a million square feet, not including the outdoor Air Park and Memorial Garden. The galleries are formulated around historical events, so that the planes and artifacts themselves, tell a story of our nation's history in each major war. There is also a strong emphasis on the history of flight, innovation and space exploration, as these are also directly correlated to the history of the US Air Force. Each gallery is supported by historical information from the time period, such as newspaper articles, photos, films, related artifacts, and aviators' personal stories. Well-organized galleries in a series of connected hangers, tell the history of innovation relating to flight, such as those related to early flight, WWI, WWII, space exploration, and the Cold War.
It is difficult to fully appreciate this museum in one day, due to its sheer size. Each gallery took us about 2-3 hours. If you have time, I would recommend arriving early, or splitting up your visit. If your time is limited, I recommend formulating a plan for your visit, so you don't miss anything you have in mind.
The atmosphere at this museum is so welcoming, that you find yourself wanting to visit again. It is run by volunteers who are always eager to answer questions and say hello. One volunteer selling the souvenir photographs told me that some people actually spend an entire week to go through all of the collections.
Guided tours are offered Free daily at 10 a.m. (Early Years and World War II Galleries), 11:30 a.m. (Korea, Southeast Asia, Cold War and Missile Galleries), 12 p.m. (Fourth Building), 1:30 p.m. (Early Years and WWII Galleries) and 3 p.m. (Fourth Building).
You can find a 360 Tour here and the Museum Website here to plan your visit. The 360 tour includes a map of the galleries. The museum includes the following galleries, each hyperlinked below on their site:
Early Years Gallery World War II Gallery Korean War Gallery Southeast Asia War Gallery Cold War Gallery Missile Gallery Space Gallery Research & Development Gallery Global Reach Gallery Presidential Gallery Air Park Memorial Park Other Exhibits
KIDS & EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
There are kids scavengers hunts and activities on the kids section of their website . You can print these ahead of time. There are many diverse events through the year. An array of programs are available for schools and other educational organizations on the Education section, which includes a teacher guide for each gallery and lesson plans.
As a teacher, I was impressed by the quality, organization, and alignment to historical learning of these materials. Parents may want to take advantage of these guides too, as they are excellent resources to read in the car or for Personal learning days or for STEM Homeschooling days. Click here to access the Resource guides.
This weekend, there is a special family event:
Destination Space Station • Nov. 19 Learn about the International Space Station and spaceflight from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., plus build your own space station from recycling materials.
STEPPING INTO HISTORY
This museum left quite an impression on me, which was a bit surprising, considering I am not a huge plane fanatic. My husband served in the US Army, so I planned this trip for his birthday. I found myself enjoying it immensely. It is one of among the best museums I have ever been to around the world, for both its authenticity, quality, and historical integration using artifacts to explain key events in American and World history. As my daughter said, "It really feels like you can understand what it was like to be there."
You feel like you are stepping into history, and in some cases you really are, as you can board many historic planes. The picture above shows our two older girls immersing themselves in an exhibit about the Berlin Airlift. The museum prompted my kids to ask historical questions. They were eager to go back after our first visit. I left feeling an immense respect for the contributions of our aviators to the history of our nation.
It is evident that the curators of this museum have taken extensive care and attention to detail in compiling these collections. They continue to expand their collections today. It is important to note that many individuals contributed to the state of the museum today, working over several decades to conserve national treasures and artifacts important to the legacy of our nation. In their mission statement, the museum states their sense of responsibility to the history of the United States Air Force and American people stating, "We are the keepers of their stories." This mission comes across passionately.
I've included a link to the history of the museum from the Air Force Museum Foundation for those interested in exploring these aspects. Our family decided to become members. As of November 14, 2016, the minimum starting donation is $30, which is tax-deductible, and provides a magazine subscription, a calendar and 20% off the museum store and cafes. If you plan to visit more than once or want to support their mission, it is worth asking about it on your way in. My daughter decided to buy an Air Force jacket at the Museum gift shop (pictured below) and some astronaut ice cream on the way out, so inquiring about membership early, would have been worthwhile. We ended up joining on our third visit.
A new fourth building recently opened this summer, featuring Space & Global Reach, Research and Development, and Presidential galleries with more than 70 additional planes. You don't want to miss this gallery. Below is a slide show of some of the highlights.
According to a recent press release from the museum site,
“During the official Grand Opening Ceremony on June 7, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said the stories that will be told in these four galleries feature fascinating and important aspects of the Air Force mission. This new building is full of compelling stories of men and women who for many decades have served and defended this nation,” said James. “These people, their stories and the weapon systems they designed, developed, flew, maintained and supported are worthy of recognition and will be highlighted in this magnificent new building to millions of visitors for generations to come.. . .Among the stories found in the fourth building will be the VC-137C Air Force One (SAM 26000), which was used by eight presidents - Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton; the only remaining XB-70 Valkyrie; the C-141C Hanoi Taxi, which airlifted the first American prisoners of war out of North Vietnam in February 1973; the Space Shuttle Exhibit featuring NASA’s first Crew Compartment Trainer; and a massive Titan IVB space launch vehicle that weighs 96 tons. . . . "- Rob Barbua, National Museum of the U.S. Air Force website, June 7, 2016
The new 40.8 million gallery includes several one- of-a kind, historical planes, such as the retired Air Force One, SAM 26000, VC-137C (Boeing 707) pictured above. According to a 2013 article on CNN, a few years ago, this plane had been closed to the public, due to lack of funding for buses to the outdoor yard, so its recent reopening in the new, indoor gallery is very exciting. This plane saw many key events in American history; it is the same plane that transported JFK to the ill-fated trip to Dallas on November 22, 1963 and you can stand before the very spot on-board where Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of the presidency following Kennedy's assassination. Boarding this plane, I felt a deep sense of history overcome my every sensation-the musty smell, the overwhelming feeling of sadness knowing it had transported JFK's remains and the sense of connection to history knowing it had been the workplace of all the presidents after Kennedy until 1998. In the same gallery, you will find two prior planes use to transport Presidents Eisenhower and Truman, which display Air Force insignia instead and have a very different look. The planes transporting Presidents changed during Kennedy's presidency, as Jaqueline Kennedy commissioned designer Raymond Loewy for an update. The plane became a symbolic extension of the White House in the air, proudly displaying the American flag and Presidential seal. This same aircraft took Nixon took to open relations with China and was later used by eight Presidents until 1998, the last being President Clinton( John King, National Museum of the United States Airforce, Aircraft Catalogue, 2015 edition, purchased at the museum gift shop).
The new wing also includes a focus on STEM learning for kids, and a few virtual reality transporters. I will write about this wing a bit more in-depth in another posting, to do it justice. If you forget to bring a stroller, you will find a multitude of neat, little metal strollers on the wall near the bathroom, as well as wheelchairs and motorized scooters. I thought this was especially useful since the galleries are quite large. We brought our own stroller, but Emma wanted to take these metal ones for a spin.
Taken together these galleries create a sense of emotional connection to the aviators and key events in their time period. Each exhibit adds to a historical sense of time and place, creating a reenactment of history. The authenticity of the items and their meticulous restorations and upkeep, add to the allure of the museum. In addition, the layout allows you to see how key events in history influenced one another, in relation to military history and world events.
If you have school-aged kids, the museum has added technology portals in each wing where they can learn about events through photos and quiz-questions to test their learning as they go.
I loved that they included historical content, such as newspapers announcing the start of WWI next to the planes, telling a chronological story. It is also enjoyable because the museum is laid out so that you can go as in-depth as you would like into each gallery. It has side galleries dedicated to more specific aspects, such as Disney's role in creating art for Aviator jackets.
Artifacts like a bicycle sold by the wright brothers and jackets worn by Aces during WWI add personal stories, and tell the history of flight in their own right.
I encourage you visit to this museum with your whole family; you will leave with a renewed sense of respect, awe, and admiration for the history of flight. Everyone will find something to enjoy. When we were at dinner, and I was asking everyone if they had fun on our day, and my two-year old raised her hand and said, "Me, Me, planes." She enjoyed the ample room to walk around, the family flight simulator, and getting on the different planes.
My older daughters left with a deeper appreciation of our nation's history. I have a science background, so exploring the spirit of innovation that drove so many later advancements, most impressed me. I especially enjoyed seeing the Apollo 15 Command Module on loan from Smithsonian, in the Research and Development Gallery.
I enjoyed watching my husband explain to my daughters some of his own combat history, as they boarded a cargo plane used to transport soldiers. My daughters could actually board a C1-30, and he could explain some of his experiences.