Category Archives: Parks

Cold Water

Cold Water In The Ground

This was a new learning adventure for my children.  We filled our empty bottles with fresh cold water that was pouring out from the ground. 

Why? Why would we fill water bottles with water from underground?

Because we were thirsty. 

We had explored the history and features of the park and played in the hot sun.  Now we were thirsty, very very thirsty.  Our water bottles were empty.  We needed water!

The water was fresh and vibrant in our mouth!  It was noticeably different from regular bottled water, and different from tap water.  

There was something very special about this water.  It was life giving.  You could taste the gift of life in the water.  It danced on your tongue.  The water was thirst quenching.

There along the road and a crystal clear creek, was a lovely cobblestone bridge.  On both sides of the bridge were places to fill your bottles / containers with fresh water. 

We met other travelers on the journey who stopped to fill their containers too. 
We actually stood in a line for a few minutes while other travelers filled their containers.  It gave us time to visit with them.  Their boxes were full of empty bottles, perhaps as many as 30 gallon bottles. With precision, efficiency, and experience, we watched the man ahead of us fill each bottle.  


He told us he has been filling 25 to 30 one gallon bottles with this fresh spring water for at least the past 6 years. His wife had grown up filling containers at this spring and it was a tradition they continued when they married.  He said it saves him a lot of money and tastes better than using the bottled water from the store.  He said it was quiet today, and he was glad for it as he usually has to wait in a long line before getting to fill his bottles.  Many people know of the health value, and come here to get this fresh spring water for their families.

The spring water is flowing from what is called an artesian well.  It is a an underground aquifer (a storage / collection area of water in the earth), and it has enough pressure that when you bore a pipe into it, it forces the water up through the pipe right out of the ground.  The water is clean, and cold at around 53 to 54 degrees fahrenheit.

You can read about the history of Richmond, IN and Wayne County for more information.

Check out these old postcards of the park and more details about the spring water here.

Further The Learning

I thought it would be fun to learn about springs, artesian wells, and water purity as a family learning adventure.  Here are a few resources my kids and I are enjoying.

Diagram of an artesian well.  The water coming out of the well is under pressure.  The pressure is caused by surrounding rock, soil, and clay, and because the water level in the aquifer is higher, or the saturation point is higher, than the opening or “head” of the well.

Artesian Well 
                                                                                                   image source

Why does fresh spring water taste better?
Well everybody’s tastes are different, but most people prefer the taste of fresh spring water.  I believe it is because it has a lot of dissolved minerals and it is oxygenated.  In addition to minerals that help with the taste, it also has more oxygen than other water we usually drink.  It is being stirred up as it travels up through the ground and pressure of the water mixes with air and increases the oxygen in the water.  Our bodies love oxygen.  Our bodies, and taste buds, like oxygenated mineral water.

Why is the water cold?
Ground water is insulated by rocks and soil from the earth’s surface temperature.  Therefore the temperature of most aquifers is approximately 50 +/- degrees fahrenheit. However there is some variations to this.  

Science Learning With Water

Fun Activity: Take an 3 empty containers, and in one fill with flowing spring water and check its temperature with a thermometer, in another fill with surface water from a creek, in another container fill with surface water from a pond or lake.  Compare the temperatures of the three different sources of water.  Which one is colder?  Which one is warmer? 

Pour each of the three water samples into a separate coffee filter.  What can you observe with your eyes?  Look at each coffee filter or a slide prepared with a water sample under a microscope.  What do you see?  Record your observations for each water sample.

Create your own water cycle.

Create your own water shed .

Create your own water aquifer in a tank.

Water Science, Math, Lapbooks, Unit Studies, and Literature Activities on my Pinterest Board Water Science and Activities.

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Glen Miller Park Richmond, Indiana

We have been visiting the Glen Miller Park in Richmond, Indiana for our weekly family fitness outings this month.   There is so much to see and do at this park and it is a great place for families.   Glen Miller Park is a beautiful 196 acre park full of tall mature trees, creeks, springs, a lake with a fountain, ducks and geese, tennis courts, walking trails, 11,000 square foot concrete and fenced skateboard park, a walk through rose garden, outdoor theater and band area, picnic areas, shelters, concession stand, bathrooms, and an awesome playground with two very large play areas and a water / splash play area.

Glen Miller Park was established in 1885.  I found that fact amazing!  Folks wanted this area kept as a park and appreciated its value for families clear back in the 1800’s.   It is one of the most beautiful parks I have ever been to and I can see why they would have wanted to preserve this beautiful area for future generations to enjoy.  There are large glacial rocks left behind from the time in history when the area was covered in glaciers.  The kids love climbing on these beautiful rocks.  I love the tall mature trees, water features, and rolling hills in this park.  It makes it such an interesting place to explore. 

Situated at the front of the park is a statue of the “Madonna Of The Trail” built by the Daughters of the American Revolution.  It is a tribute to all of the pioneer women who traveled through this area and cared for their families in covered wagons as the country expanded westward.  My grandma is a member of this national organization and I was very excited to learn about this memorial they have built in the park. 


There is also a plaque marking the site for the “First Toll Gate” established in the state of Indiana in 1850.  I found this exciting too.  I used to live in a brick Federal house about 15 minutes from the park and the house was built in 1850 too.  It was built by the Bond family who also dedicated land to the city of Richmond where Earlham College is.  So I was excited about this connection to history.  Another neat connection to this time in history I have is that my mother’s father’s family traveled through Richmond, IN and possibly through this toll gate when they migrated across the country on their way to Kansas.  The Richmond Historical Museum houses a trunk owned by my family that passed through here.  I will share more about this in a future story.

The lake at the park is very peaceful with lots of geese and ducks and a fountain to enjoy.  There is a small fishing dock and you can also fish from the banks.  We found lots of small fish near the top of the lake feeding on slices of bread folks threw out to feed the ducks and geese.  I hope to bring the kids out to fish and feed ducks and geese soon.

The park has three natural springs where folks come and fill up their own bottles for fresh spring water too.  Sometimes there are long lines of people waiting to fill up their containers.  Thankfully, on this day, we waited in a very short line and the kids had lots of fun filling our water bottles.  Be sure to check out our story about filling up that I will post soon. The spring water running through the creek is ice cold and absolutely clear.  It is a beautiful spot to get out and enjoy on a hot summer day.


The park hosts many concerts and community activities.  There is a large field that goes up hill from the theater and you can set out your chair or blanket and enjoy the show.

Another fun feature of this park that is very appealing to teens and young adults is the concrete skate / bike park.  We saw lots of teens doing tricks on their bikes and skate boards.  It looks a little dangerous, but I am sure it is a lot of fun.  How they can do these tricks without padded clothing and protective pads / gear is amazing.  You can skate or bike at your own risk.

My kids favorite feature of the park is the playground and splash area. I really like that there are picnic areas, parking, bathrooms, paved sidewalks, and concessions right near the playground too.  It is easy to push a stroller or a wagon if you want to.  Everything you need is close by.   

The playground is truly amazing and it is every kids dream!  It is jam packed with slides, tunnels, bridges, climbing walls, ladders, nets, fire poles, and so much more.  There is even a long expansion bridge to walk on above the playground.  You can play so many games on this playground.  My kids love tag, hide an
d seek, freeze tag, pirates, capture the flag, racing down the slides, and so much more.  Though they get tired running and playing, they never get bored!!!


There is a smaller playground for younger children, and lots of swings too.  Everything is handicap accessible.  And you don’t have to just play on the playground.  Be sure to bring a ball, frisbee, or kite and enjoy the grassy areas as well as the lake too.

The city of Richmond, Indiana has 16 developed parks and 3 undeveloped parks.  Wow, that is a lot of parks for a city of about 37,000 people.  If you would like to learn more about this wonderful town in east central Indiana, check out the summary listed on this web site.

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Boats, Birds, and Clams, OH MY!

This week we did a family fitness activity at a local park called Lake Julian.   In addition to a lake, it has a boat marina, a sail boat club, a rowing club, a playground, picnic shelters, and lots of wooded and natural areas to explore.  We visit this park several times through out the year because there is so much to see and do here.  It is a great place to observe the seasonal changes too.  Besides family time together, it is a fun place to explore natural science.

It was a beautiful day with bright sunshine and with a slight chill in the air.  There were a dozen or more fishing boats on the water. 

The kids and I spoke with one of the fishermen as he slowed his boat down not far off shore.  He was using a paddle to check the depth of the water in the shallow areas and checking out his trolling motor and gear.  We inquired about how the fishing was going.  He said he had not caught anything yet.


There were lots of sail boats on the water too.  The other side of the lake had more sail boats than I could count.  They looked so beautiful.  Their large white sails were such a contrast against the winter backdrop of “hibernating” trees and the blue water of the lake.  It was amazing to watch the sails catch the wind and push the boats along in the water. 

We spent some time feeding and observing the birds on the water.  There were several varieties of ducks, geese, and sea gulls.  The kids noticed that like the fishing boats and sail boats, ducks and geese can float on the water. They use their feet like the boat propeller to push themselves along in the water. Birds can take flight and sailboats do not fly, but there are similarities in both the sails and wings. The wings are similar to the sails on a sailboat because they can open and close and catch the wind to glide along. 

The sea gulls were very competitive with the ducks and geese.  They had a distinct advantage of speed and craftiness.  They would fly high in the air, swoop down fast to the water and steel the food away from the ducks and geese.  The kids remarked how the sea gulls could fly both quickly and slowly depending on how they held out their wings and the placement of their feet.  They are true pirates of the air and water.

We had so much fun feeding and watching the birds on the lake.


Then being the hands on young scientists we are, we had a great time exploring near the shore.  We walked quite a distance of shore line, noticing small changes, observing the water, rocks, waves, plants, wind, and various birds.


The kids hoped to find small fish and crayfish.  They used a small stick to poke around small pools near rocks.  They lifted a few rocks to see if they could entice a crayfish out of hiding.

We did not find crayfish today, and we only saw one small fish.  We hypothesized (guessed) that we did not see lots of small fish, because it is not yet spawning season.  The fish count in the lake may be low this time of year, and most of the small fish may have been eaten through the winter months by the bigger fish and birds.

We did however find lots of other treasures.   We found moss growing on rocks.  And feathers left by the birds. We found some goose poop too (no picture).  The kids were fascinated with different rocks and the contrasting soft texture of the feathers.


Check out these fresh water clam shells.  Some of the shells were separated from each other and laying side by side in the water, and some others we found in the water were still attached to each other.  


The kids wanted to know what the animal that lives inside of the shell looks like.  They also wanted to know where the clams went and why these shells were left behind? So we decided we would investigate more about fresh water clams when we returned home.


We observed the ducks feeding on fish and plants.  They bent forward and dipped their heads and upper bodies under water to reach for food. This also gave the children a closer view of the ducks webbed feet they use for swimming. 

The mallard ducks were a little pre-occupied with competing for a mate to care about the children throwing out bread to them, or the sea gulls stealing the bread.  The geese and the wood
ducks were obviously offended by the sea gulls and squawked at them when they swooped in. There were hundreds of birds on the lake today. Aren’t these ducks gorgeous?

For More Information About Fresh Water Clams:
Definitions, classifications, and pictures
                Fact Sheet
                Coloring Pages

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