Homeschool Field Trip: Learning About Recycling at Detroit’s Lincoln Street Art Park
A few months ago, we took the kids to explore Lincoln Street Art Park in Detroit. It was one of those rare sunny days in January where the weather felt a little spring-like. We had spent so many days in the house because of cold weather and snowy days that we were antsy to get out of the house and do something fun.
I had been hearing about and seeing photographs of other people’s visit to Lincoln Street Art Park so I really wanted to go.
I absolutely LOVE street and urban art! My kids think it’s pretty cool, too. When we lived in Tennessee, we didn’t see street or urban art so this was a new experience for the whole family. Every time I go to Detroit I am still amazed by all of the vibrant street art I find. I guess that’s the tourist in me since we’re still new to the area. Either way, I love it!Discover #urbanart at Detroit's Lincoln Street Art Park! #Detroit #art Click To Tweet
What is Lincoln Street Art Park?
Lincoln Street Art Park used to be an abandoned industrial site in Detroit. In 2011, it was transformed into “an untraditional sculptural park” (Green Living Science).
According to Green Living Science, tours are offered of the art park and the Recycle Here! drop-off area. I need to see if tours are being offered this spring/summer. I think it would be a great learning experience for the kids to learn about the history of the industrial site and also learn about the importance of recycling and reusing.
When we arrived to the art park, we were fascinated by the different art structures and mural art featured at the Lincoln Street Art Park. At first, the teens didn’t know what to think because they had never seen anything like this before While the toddlers were excited to walk around the art park and touch the different sculptures.
Is it a cat or a dinosaur?
The kids discovered a very tall structure at the park. They weren’t sure what the sculpture was at first. They took turns guessing what it could be. A cat? A dragon? A tiger? A dinosaur? They walked around the sculpture and walked underneath it. They inspected almost every part of the art piece to try and determine what was this strange creature. All I could think was, “They’re examining art and using critical thinking skills to inspect parts of the sculpture! This is great!” That’s the mom-teacher in me. 😉
The answer: the sculpture is known as “Frank the Dinosaur”. Frank was a 40-foot tall dinosaur created from reusable materials. As the kids examined the dinosaur scuplture, they identified the different reusable materials they could find in the sculpture. Resources they found were highway street cones, a cat litter box, patio chairs, and scrap playground equipment.
Frank the Dinosaur was originally featured at the Detroit Electronic Music Festival. When we viewed the sculpture, it was a little worn out and didn’t look exactly like its original version. But I’m still happy we were able to see Frank the Dinosaur and take a picture of it because a few weeks ago (April 2017) the sculpture was taken down.Teach children how to reduce waste by recycling and reusing materials! #homeschool Click To Tweet
An environment-friendly clubhouse?
That’s what Elijah called the Green Dragon— a small, shed-like house made from reusable materials. According to the information on the door, The Green Dragon was created by Kaitlyn Wattle. The description of the building read: “the off-grid headquarters for meetings of the minds and collaboration of the hearts”.
The kids thought the Green Dragon was really cool. They were amazed at how warm it was on the inside of the structure. We found out tires were used as material for building the building and keeping it warm. “These tire bricks weigh in at 200-400 lbs. each making the wall bullet, fire, typhoon and earthquake resistant” (The Green Dragon, Lincoln Street Art Park).
Wouldn’t it be cool if…?!
Just a mom’s thought here: I think it would be cool if more art and a playground for children was added to the street art park. I’m sure funding is a big factor to take into consideration when finding artists and adding more art to the park. If there was a playground at the art park, more families would be attracted to the park and I know children would love it. 🙂
What did the kids think of Lincoln Street Art Park?
The toddlers loved the art park. Whenever we go exploring in the city, they’re not really able to walk around because of traffic. It’s just not safe for them to run around. But at the art park, they were able to walk around and explore on the different art structures. Honestly, I think Zhen and Zechariah thought the art park was a playground, especially when they saw “Frank the Dino”, a large sculpture made from salvaged pieces of material. 🙂
As for the teens, Elijah and Mj had mixed feelings about Lincoln Street Art Park. On hand, they thought the street art was really cool. Elijah said he appreciated the overall concept of the art park and what its intended purpose was: to educate the community about recycling and reusing discarded resources. But on the other hand, the teens didn’t completely understand the art and found some pieces not very appealing.
“I thought it was creative. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It was strange in it’s own right.” -Elijah, age 17
“I didn’t see it as art because it looked random. It was a little too weird for me.” -Michala, age 15
I explained to the teens it was okay to not like certain art pieces. I told them they don’t have to like everything they view in an art piece or even at an art exhibition. The important thing is they examine the art and form their own opinion of it.
Overall, our experience at Lincoln Street Art Park was very enjoyable and informative. We’re actually wanting to visit it again this summer and explore of the park. We weren’t able to see all of it because at the time of our visit there was a group filming at a certain section of the park. We also would like to schedule a tour of the recycle facility to learn more about recycling.
What we learned from our field trip to Lincoln Street Art Park:
Have you visited any cool art exhibits or museums lately?
Thank you for reading!
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All photos by J. Hamra.
To learn more about the Lincoln Street Art Park in Detroit, visit the official website of Green Living Science at http://greenlivingscience.org/lincoln-street-art-park/.
**Special Note: This post is not a sponsored blog post. It is an honest experience of our visit to Lincoln Street Art Park in Detroit. All opinions are my own.