This year the theme was "Passport to the World". The children learned about nine different countries ~ Spain, England, Egypt, India, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan and France. They learned about how the Vanderbilts traveled the world and about their personal experiences. There were booths with activities for each country. The kids really enjoyed getting temporary henna tatoos in India. They then moved on to England to attend an afternoon spring tea party.
The kids also got to do some punch embroidery in Russia and make crowns in England. In Japan they learned how to make origami puppy dogs, and in Egypt they wrote some hierglyphics. I thought the lesson on pointillism painting in France was excellent.
Tom Sawyer liked making castanets in Spain. He had to warm up to the idea of spending the day at the Biltmore on his birthday. He gave us a difficult time for a while, but after a talking to from his Dad and seeing that some of the crafts were really fun, he shifted his attitude. They also enjoyed the shows. They saw a Russian ballet and Flamenco dancing.
After an early lunch, we went to the barn to pet the baby animals. This is always a highlight of our day. The kids petted chicks, lambs, goats, and a horse. They also saw a goat being milked.
We then took funny pictures in front of the country poster boards on our way to the Biltmore Winery.
The Winery was interesting and was a short factory tour. I loved factory tours as a child and want to share more of them with my children. However, there are not many factories near us anymore. We decided to skip the Biltmore House tour this year and take more time in the gardens. Even though we spent all day there, we still saw just a tiny portion of the Biltmore Estate. We are considering getting a year-long pass sometime in the next year so that we can explore the miles of bike and nature trails, as well as watch the huge gardens change from season to season.