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A day trip filled with memories, old and new

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Residents Ray and Helen Keller during a stop at Coronado Heights.[/caption]

The Life Enrichment Team of Wichita Presbyterian Manor works hard to plan activities that focus on engaging the residents and that create new memories that residents can share with others. Whether it’s a celebration on campus, a simple joyride down memory lane or a day trip out of town, the Life Enrichment Team aims to truly enrich the lives of their residents.

Recently, a day trip was taken with stops in Canton and Lindsborg. The morning started with a beautiful 65-mile drive out of town, down country roads and highways, passing through a few small towns (the kind that disappear if you blink when driving past) before turning off to visit the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge just outside of the tiny town of Canton. The bus made its way down a long, bumpy dirt road, affectionately referred to by residents as a “washboard road.”

The group arrived in time to grab their tickets and board the open-air tram. Once everyone was snuggly seated, the driver began to venture down a long dirt path, pulling the tram along slowly. Residents were treated to a guided tour by a retired school teacher who had been volunteering out at the refuge for several years.  She pointed out a variety of native plants, grasses and flowers along the prairie. She also explained the symbiotic relationship that the bison and the prairie had together, as if they were just perfectly made for one another.

The refuge stretches for more than 2,000 acres and is home to bison, elk, more than 170 species of birds, and many other animals. The herd of bison has grown from less than 50 to over 200 over the years. While on the route, the residents enjoyed an up close view of the bison herd (no binoculars needed), ranging from males to females and babies as young as three months old. They were all a bit scruffy looking as they were working on shedding their winter coats. The tram continued around the dirt path and eventually made its way back to the beginning.

After a short stretch break, the residents boarded the bus and were off again to the quaint Swedish town of Lindsborg, just a quick twenty minutes away. Upon their arrival, they headed to the popular Swedish Crown Restaurant, where a plated authentic Swedish meal was hot and ready for the group. After stuffing their bellies with a delicious assortment, the residents had some free time to explore the Main Street at their leisure.

With a happy group all back on the bus (and because the weather was cooperating so nicely) a last minute stop was decided among the Life Enrichment Staff. They ventured a few miles outside of town to visit Coronado Heights, a popular destination perched high upon the hill for many years. This special “historical marker” was said to have been the last place the Spanish explorer, Coronado, gazed out at as he had finally given up his search for the legendary City of Gold. Two residents were especially happy to be able to stop.

Unbeknownst to the rest of the bus, residents Ray and Helen Keller had fond memories of Coronado Heights. It happened to be the same place he proposed to her more than 63 years ago. They said a lot has changed since the last time they visited, with the site being updated for both safety and ease of access. They happily agreed to get a quick photo snapped to add to their collection.

With that, the bus was off again and on the road towards the manor. The residents were overjoyed with the trip. Everyone was so pleased with the lineup of events and the smooth flow throughout the day. Resident Gloria Bonwell was happy to share that she had always wanted to visit the refuge and could now cross that adventure off her bucket list. Even for days afterward, the residents were still talking about how wonderful the trip had been and appreciated every minute of it.

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