American Pharoah earned the Triple Crown by winning the Belmont Stakes in 2015. The horse placed first at the May 2, 2015, Kentucky Derby. He also won the May 16, 2015, Preakness Stakes. The last horse to win the Triple Crown was Affirmed in 1978.
Samantha Cristoforetti in 2015 set a new record for the longest space flight for a woman (199 days 16 hours). On November 23, 2014, she and two other astronauts were launched from Kazakhstan and reached the International Space Station. The Italian astronaut was to return to earth in May 2015, but setbacks occurred in the rockets meant to bring them back. Interesting tidbit: she became the first person to brew an espresso coffee in space. American astronaut Peggy Whitson broke her Cristoforetti’s record in April 2017.
Waco Mammoth National Monument was established in 2015 near Waco, Texas. The museum and site preserves the fossils of 24 Columbian mammoths and other mammals. The nursery of mother and young Columbian mammoths was probably caught in a flash flood about 67,000 years ago. The site was discovered in 1978 by two men looking for arrowheads. Children can learn more, including the differences between Columbian mammoths and woolly mammoths, at: http://www.nps.gov/waco/index.htm.
New Horizons spacecraft was closest to Pluto in 2015. Launched on January 18, 2006, the spacecraft traveled three billion miles to achieve one of its goals, taking images of Pluto and Pluto’s five moons. When New Horizons was launched, George W. Bush was President, Pluto was still a planet, and Apple had not yet released its first iPhone. New Horizons, traveling at a rate of over 30,000 miles per hour, continues on its journey and will hopefully help us learn more about the Kuiper Belt. Children can learn more at: New Horizons.
New Dr. Seuss Book was published in 2015. Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated the book probably between the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Seuss died in 1991, but he never published it. His widow found the manuscript after his death. What Pet Should I Get? is about two children who go to the pet store but can buy only one pet. They contemplate traditional pets such as dogs or rabbits. Then unusual, Seuss-invented pets become possibilities.
Lettuce grown on International Space Station was consumed by astronauts in 2015. This event marked the first time space travelers grew and ate their own food. American astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren grew the “Outredgous” red romaine lettuce aeroponically. Half the harvest was eaten by the astronauts, and half was frozen and returned to earth for analysis. The vegetable is very significant because astronauts on future, lengthy space trips will need to grow their own food.
Queen Elizabeth II in 2015 became the United Kingdom’s longest reigning monarch. Her length of reign surpassed that of Queen Victoria, her great-great grandmother. Queen Victoria was Britain’s monarch for 63 years, 216 days. Queen Elizabeth II has worked with fourteen Prime Ministers.
Philadelphia became the first American World Heritage City in 2015. UNESCO World Heritage announced the award during a conference in Ariquipa, Peru. Other World Heritage Cities include Florence, Saint Petersburg, Paris, Jerusalem, and Prague. Children can learn more at: Philadelphia.