Last Field Trip – Discovery Kingdom

Yesterday was the last field trip with the visiting Kyoto students. The trip was to the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo (formerly Marine World).

As you might expect with a place like an amusement park, the students split up into groups and headed out in all different directions after getting through the front gate. Some went straight for the thrill rides while others went to see the animals. Here’s a group that was just exiting the Medusa roller coaster ride:

There were characters wandering the park offering photo opportunities for park visitors. Here’s the scene when the Joker from Batman came around and was encircled by a group of students with cameras:

We were concerned about this trip for a few reasons. California is in the middle of a heat wave, with temperatures in Modesto well over 100 degrees. We are also experiencing very thick smoke from all of the wildfires burning in California right now. For whatever reasons (mid-week, smoke, or heat), the park was not very crowded yesterday. There were very few lines, and the afternoon even had a light breeze to keep it feeling cool. Thankfully, in the center of the park there was a large food area with a big cover for shade. Many of the students ate lunch there (here’s a group with Brad Cornwell, the Modesto teacher):

There were not many parts of the park where you would not run into students from our group. Here’s a group of Kyoto students with their teacher Chris Flesuras in front of the penguin display:

This joint summer school between Modesto City Schools and Kyoto Gakuen has been an engaging experience for all involved. Today the students are working on wrapping up the production of their documentaries from their visit. We may end up working through the weekend to get enough copies made for everyone to take home. The Kyoto students return home early Monday.

We will try to get some student reactions to this summer school posted to this blog in the next few weeks. We already have a long list of changes we will make for next year’s summer school to improve the experiences. Overall, this has been a great way to close out the first year of this program. We really look forward to distilling the best parts from this past year and improving the program for the coming year.

Keep an eye on this blog for additional posts over the next few weeks on this visit and impressions from those who participated.

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