While we were on our vacation visiting family on the west coast, we took a day to visit Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument in Washington.
It was a very cloudy and foggy day, so we did not have spectacular views of the mountain, but the clouds did part long enough for us to get a glimpse into the crater. The girls (and adults) were appropriately impressed. The kids did the Junior Ranger activity offered here at MSH. First, we watched a movie about the 1980 eruption, which complimented a video we watched back at home before we left for this trip. It talked about the events of that day in May but also the smaller, crater-building eruptions that took place over the next few years after the big one. We saw the lava dome grow and the crater glacier change size and shape. It was very interesting. Next, we attended a ranger presentation. The ranger discussed the changing shape of the summit and crater, showing us before and after pictures and also pointing out the rebuilding sequence that has since occurred.
After the ranger signed their booklets and they finished the activities inside, we noticed that the sun had peeked out and that we might be able to see into the crater from the observatory. We went outside and hiked up to the outdoor observation point, and did manage to see it for a brief minute or two before the clouds moved back in.
Finally, the girls went back in and were sworn in as Junior Rangers. They got their pins and trading cards, plus a certificate signed by Ranger Grace. I bought them each a patch, too. We had remembered to bring our National Park Kids Companion Books along, so they also got stamps in those.