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
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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).

Lincoln Street Art Park

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.

Lincoln Street Art Park
Lincoln Street Art Park is located in Detroit at 5926 Lincoln Street. Photo Credit: J. Hamra

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.

Lincoln Street Art Park
Elijah and Zhen checking out the art at Lincoln Street Art Park.
Lincoln Street Art Park
Urban art is featured at the Lincoln Street Art Park

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. 😉

Lincoln Street Art Park
Frank the Dinosaur was a popular attraction at Lincoln Street Art Park.
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Frank the Dinosaur after it was taken down.

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 Green Dragon Detroit
The Green Dragon when it was being built.
The Green Dragon
Zhen, Zechariah, and Daddy check out The Green Dragon.

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).

Lincoln Street Art park
The outside wall of The Green Dragon. You can see the tires sticking out.

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. 🙂

Lincoln Street Art Park

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. 🙂

Lincoln Street Art Park
Zhen enjoyed exploring the art park.

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.

Lincoln Street Art Park
Zechariah playing at the art park.
Lincoln Street Art Park
Exploring art is fun!

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:

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“Recycling Grunge Sign” Photo credit: Free Grunge Textures – www.freestock.ca via Visual Hunt / CC BY

 

Have you visited any cool art exhibits or museums lately?

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

 

Contact Jennifer here.

All photos by J. Hamra.

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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.

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31 Comments

  1. RaNesha

    May 3, 2017 at 18:22

    I love the art displays I am a huge fan of Lincoln Street Art Detroit has some amazing displays. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Jennifer

      May 3, 2017 at 19:52

      We really liked the art at the park, too!

  2. ejnosillA/RedefiningHERstory

    May 3, 2017 at 18:41

    Wow… such innovative things at the park. If I ever take a trip to Detroit, I will have to check this out. Thanks fror sharing… STay blessed Queen ~ejnosillA

    1. Jennifer

      May 3, 2017 at 19:52

      Thank you. Yes, if you come to Detroit, definitely swing by Lincoln Art Park. It’s an interesting sight to see.

  3. gingermommyrants

    May 3, 2017 at 20:39

    I would love to check out Lincoln Street Art Park in person. It is a great way to teach the kids about recycling.

  4. Jay Colby

    May 3, 2017 at 22:34

    Such an innovative park. I love going to see art its always a fun & learning experience.

  5. Evelyn Reese

    May 3, 2017 at 23:22

    What innovation of Art. I would love to visit this park someday. It is a great display of the local talent in your area. In addition it was a great idea for a field trip for the family.

  6. Terri Beavers

    May 4, 2017 at 01:59

    This sounds like a really good learning experience. My sister homeschools and they go on fun field trips, I’ll have to send her your link for more ideas.

  7. Michelle Leslie

    May 4, 2017 at 08:51

    I loved this post Jennifer. I’ve been hearing so much recently about the street art in Detroit and the Lincoln Street Art Park is such a brilliant idea. I truly wish I could get something like this off the ground here in South Africa. We all need to learn and appreciate recycling more. Good for you for taking the kids there and showing them a new perspective.

  8. Candy Rachelle

    May 4, 2017 at 09:25

    You seem to be an amazing woman/teacher. If not now, your students will appreciate you and recognize this later. Great job!

    http://www.keepingupwithcandy.com

  9. Courtney CJ

    May 4, 2017 at 10:07

    I am obsessed with street art and try to find it in whatever new city I visit. It is so fun to me and I love seeing artists’ expressions. I would love to check this out.

  10. Joyce Brewer

    May 4, 2017 at 12:21

    I love how the exhibit had items are various height levels. This ways children of all ages can experience it

  11. Carol Cassara

    May 4, 2017 at 13:36

    It’s important to make kids aware of recycling and helping out the environment. I think this is a great choice for a field trip!

  12. Ivelisse

    May 4, 2017 at 13:57

    Your family is the cutest! I think it is great that you guys go on field trips! I plan on doing that with my kids in the future.

    Love,
    Ivelisse | CarnationDreams.com

  13. Yuen Mi

    May 4, 2017 at 22:25

    I love street art, they’re so innovative, and full of freedom. These are beautiful. I always make a point of searching for hidden street art wherever I go. If Im ever in Detroit, I know which area to look 🙂

  14. Andrea

    May 4, 2017 at 22:43

    What a great field trip for the kids, and what a great thing to teach them! My daughter has been picking up trash at parks and throwing it away, to help “mother nature”. I will be sharing more with her on recycling and reusing!

  15. Elizabeth

    May 4, 2017 at 23:08

    You always have the cutest blog posts and photos. Keep up the great work!
    xo, Elizabeth // txelizabeth.com

  16. Ana Ojha

    May 4, 2017 at 23:08

    Lincoln street park looks so fun and those street arts are amazing! I’d love to explore it!

  17. Manavi Siddhanti

    May 5, 2017 at 02:00

    great ideas on what to do when at the park!

  18. Elizabeth

    May 5, 2017 at 03:16

    What a fantastic day trip! I love that the city has a dedicated area for creative artists to display their work without fear of repercussions. Great day out!

  19. Gennifer Rose

    May 5, 2017 at 10:13

    Great photos of the Art Park! I have been wanting to explore Detroit for a while now. Ever since I watched the Anthony Bourdain’s Detroit special it’s been on my list 🙂

    Gennifer Rose | http://www.GenniferRose.com

  20. hey sharonoox

    May 5, 2017 at 14:37

    This looks like a fun field trip for the family. It a great idea to educate children about recycling through art. cool street

  21. emmy

    May 5, 2017 at 14:58

    This is such a great idea! What an awesome field trip. I currently homeschool my 6 year old and this inspires me to teach him about recycling. Looking forward to seeing more posts!

  22. misty nelson dawn

    May 5, 2017 at 15:04

    What an awesome post I enjoy reading this and I love to go there and see the street arts in live

  23. Nati

    May 6, 2017 at 01:52

    What a great Field trip! I think it’s a great experience you offered your kids, you had a brillant idea!

  24. Krystel | Disney on a Budget

    May 6, 2017 at 13:47

    Looks amazing. I’ve never seen art like this in person. What a great field trip.

  25. Kevin

    May 7, 2017 at 08:16

    Gotta love field trips like this! I love discovering places like this one, especially with my grandkids! The look on their faces are priceless. 🙂

  26. Swadhin Agrawal

    May 8, 2017 at 00:34

    I loved the idea of this field trip. Getting exposure and learning from natural environment is priceless.

  27. Mimi Green

    May 8, 2017 at 02:04

    This looks like my kind of field trip. My kids would enjoy this so much. I would do the same thing honestly. lol

  28. Obi

    May 8, 2017 at 10:51

    lovely trip and cool park. so many teaching moments and even a little geometry lesson too in there.

  29. Yeu Doi

    May 12, 2017 at 01:37

    Very cool adventure & photos! The art looks great. I am sure you had a blast!

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