National Parks Week was just last month, and currently all 4th graders in the United States and their families can get free access to national parks and other national lands through the Every Kid in a Park program). We will visit Mount Rainier National Park in Washington over Memorial Day weekend.
And we’re planning a Utah national parks trip for summer 2017.
That’s a lot of people visiting national parks – kids should get the chance to experience lands so special that they’ve been added to the National Park Service (which is celebrating its centennial this year). And the National Park Trust does great things to get school kids into national parks.
The NPT’s 6th annual Kids to Parks Day is just a few weeks away, on May 21. It’s simple: get outside with a kid and visit a park. You can sign a pledge to do so on their website and add to the growing number of participants. 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!
We will visit one of our favorite urban nature parks here in Portland, OR. I hope you will participate, too. A kid will thank you!
So, plan to get outside as a family on May 21 for Kids to Parks Day (and pledge to participate to be eligible for prizes including a BabyBjörn Baby Carrier)! If you’re in the Portland area, you can find a park to visit using this map tool from The Intertwine. There are also a few events going on at some local parks and natural areas: the Tualatin River Bird Festival at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge in Sherwood; a Summer Splash FREE Kayak Demo Day put on by Next Adventure at Oaks Amusement Park; a stream critters program at Marshall Park in SW Portland with Portland Parks and Recreation; a citizen science Eco-Blitz at Powell Butte Nature Park in SE Portland with The Intertwine; and a Free Metro parks day (no parking fees at Oxbow Regional Park near Gresham or Blue Lake Regional Park in Fairview).
To enter for a chance to win two books from the National Park Trust, please comment on this post telling me about a national park you hope to visit someday, and what it is about that park that intrigues you. The two books are: Buddy Bison’s Yellowstone Adventure (which I posted about here) and National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide USA (Centennial Edition). From the entries I will randomly pick a winner. The contest will be open until Friday, May 20, 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!**
* I saw a kid wearing this shirt here in Portland, OR and thought I must get one for my son. I had a hard time finding it online though. I found out that you can purchase adult sizes through the online shop of the Crater Lake Natural History Association. But I had to do a phone order to get a children’s size (here’s their contact info).
** Did you pledge to participate in Kids to Parks Day on May 21?***
*** Did you really? Okay, I’m done. Get outside!