Kids visiting Normandy

Kids visiting Normandy ()

Editor's Note: This story was written by 11-year-old Kipp Gleason when they visited Normandy, France.

You climb over a small hill and finally reach the beach, but what is the history behind this place where Vikings raided, conquerors set off, and men gave their lives for our freedom?

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On the way

First, you will want to prepare. I suggest Orep historic comics, a regional publisher, and Band of Brothers, the book and miniseries (parental guidance). The library is also a good place for books about Normandy, WWII, and the Vikings. I also suggest audio books, and YouTube videos on Normandy.

If you are coming from Germany, don't forget to stop in Belgium. First, eat some waffles, then, go to Bastogne. The Bastogne WWII Museum is excellent for kids. When you are done at Bastogne, get back on the road to Normandy.

In Normandy

When we got to Normandy, we were ready to go right to bed. We liked the Utah Beach Museum a lot. It had loads of fun activities and things to see because it is built on a bunker sight. Next, we went to Ste Mere Eglise, and the Airborne Museum. Bring a jump master and prepare to jump. The third building has a very realistic simulation of a C47.

Beyond D-Day

Make sure your trip is not only about D-Day. Go to Bayeux and discover their tapestry that tells the story of William the Conqueror with a little humor stitched in. It's a thousand-year-old comic strip. There is also a nearby shop called Bayeux-Broderie that sells pictures from the tapestry for you to sew. (It is harder than it looks.)

Mont Saint Michel is also a cool place. It is both part of the mainland and an island in the same day. Pick a tide time. It is only an hour from the Normandy beaches.

Tips to Enjoy Your Visit:

  • Don't forget to get interactive kid headsets (free at Bastogne and Bayeux, cheap elsewhere)

  • Wear costume items (historic and fun souvenirs)(my brothers and I wore helmets to all the WWII sights)

  • Buy the kids activity book at Utah Beach museum. It makes the experience more fun.

  • Collect sand in a jar at each beach. Jars are available at gift shops.

  • Take photos in front of dueling KM marker zeros. See if you can find all the different start points along the route of liberty. Each one is marked "0 km."

  • HAVE FUN!!!!

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