Kids should get to play in parks everyday, but on May 16th there’s extra incentive to get them outside – the National Park Trust’s 5th annual Kids to Parks Day.
Kids to Parks Day is described as “a nation-wide day of outdoor play organized by National Park Trust (NPT) in cooperation with a host of local and national collaborators” by “encouraging children across the country to explore their neighborhood parks and discover science, history, nature and adventure right around the corner or just across town.” So this is not just about visiting national parks, which would be great if that option is available for you. Any park will do!
If the prospect of getting outside on a special day isn’t enough encouragement, those that pledge to participate on the NPT website (here) will be entered to win a Nikon COOLPIX L830 camera.
Also, I will host a giveaway here on this blog for some awesome nature and outdoor prizes provided by the NPT. Find out how to enter at the end of this post.
Before that, I want to share about some moments during two different trips to Yellowstone National Park (we were living in Bozeman, MT at the time). In the summer of 2008 – my son was two-and-a-half – we went on a drive through Yellowstone, seeing the Old Faithful Geyser, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and many of the other major site-seeing points of interest.
All of those spots were incredibly busy, of course. What I remember most, however, is the time spent along the Gibbon River where we stopped to have our packed lunch (very close to this spot the Gibbon River merges with the Firehole River and becomes the Madison River).
There were some picnic tables available, so we claimed one and explored along the river. The amazing part about this spot was that we were just one of less than a handful of families hanging out there.
Our son loved walking along the side of the river, collecting sticks and rocks (some ended up tossed into the river).
He gathered them and put them on the picnic table bench – his collection (don’t worry, we didn’t take any of it home with us). For a short period of time, that spot along the Gibbon River was our Yellowstone.
Then a year later, when our son was three, we drove the amazing Beartooth Highway and north section of Yellowstone National Park. We stopped in the Lamar Valley to take a look at scores of bison that were grazing on grass and sipping from a pond.
There were young bison frolicking around. We enjoyed a break from the driving to watch the bison.
Our son had along with him on the drive his own bison plush that we had purchased in the park the previous year (kind of looks like Buddy Bison, the NPT’s mascot).
The following year, when he was four, we moved to Portland. We hope to visit Yellowstone again, especially now that we have a young daughter.
So, plan to get outside as a family on May 16th for Kids to Parks Day (and pledge to participate)! If you’re in the Portland area, you can find a park to visit using the map tool from The Intertwine. If you like to share images on social media, use the hashtag #kidstoparks (or #buddybison if he’s in your photo). NPRT is on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And now for the giveaway!
To enter for a chance to win a prize package from the National Park Trust, please comment on this post telling me about a memorable national park experience, either from your childhood or now with your own child/ren. The prize package consists of a “Buddy Bison” mascot stuffed animal, 2 National Geographic Books (National Geographic Secrets of the National Parks and National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide U.S.A.), a CamelBak BPA- and BPS-free reusable bottle, a T-shirt, and a NPT Park Activity Guide (a $75 value). From the entries I will randomly pick a winner. The contest will be open until Saturday, May 16, midnight PST. If you would like to enter without commenting on the blog, you can send me an email at darwinsbulldog AT gmail DOT com. Good luck!