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).
If you like to share images on social media, use the hashtag #kidstoparks (or #buddybison if he’s in your photo). NPT is on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And now for the giveaway!
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!
I’d love to visit Redwood National Park with my son, who turns 4 years old this August. I have been once before and seeing trees that big and old changed my entire perspective on life. I’d love to share that experience with him 🙂
The younger the better for visiting the Redwoods I think, so the size difference between tree and child is the largest!
We can’t wait to take the kids to Yosemite. Too many times we see so many beautiful photos that give us major wanderlust. The kids would be super pumped and it would open their eyes to more vast environments.
Raising Kids Wild, you are the winner of the two Nat Geo books about national parks. Thank you for entering! (Yosemite is breathtaking)
I can’t wait to take my little man to Yosemite, as that’s where persevering our national lands started, thanks to John Muir. We live near RMNP and we all find so much joy being outside. I’m a firm believer in fostering a love and stewardship for the earth while they’re young. Great giveaway! Thanks for the chance.
Thank you for sharing, Rachael! We’ve been to Yosemite once, when my son was 4. He’s now 10, and I look forward to visiting again with my daughter (who’s now 3).
We want to visit Yellowstone! (to see the geysers!) We lived in Utah for several years and loved our time spent in the parks. We now live in Ohio and are only 30 minutes from CVNP. 🙂
Sara – Thank you for sharing! We lived in Bozeman, MT (that’s where I met my wife and where my son was born). Yellowstone will always be a special place for us! When you go, don’t be like those idiots in the news and stay on the trail. 🙂
Summer 2017 we are hoping to do a grand Utah national parks camping trip: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, etc.
We can’t wait to take our kids to Yellowstone. Our kids have watched the BBC Earth Yellowstone videos and have been itching to go see the wonders ever since. My husband and I visited many national parks with our families growing up and are enjoying sharing the experience with our children. Yellowstone is an exciting one for all of us as it is one that will be a new experience for all of us.
Jessica – I can attest to the wonders of Yellowstone. I lived in Bozeman for six years, and visited many times (and did a history internship at the cultural center in Gardiner on the north side of the park). Yellowstone has of course been in the news because of thos immature guys going off trail at thermal features. The place is beautiful, but it is indeed wild and treacherous in areas. When you go, I recommend visiting Bozeman also, and taking your kids to see the awesome dinosaur displays at the Museum of the Rockies. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!
I want to visit Arches National Park. The natural stone arches look amazing and I would love to see them in person.
Thank you for sharing Lauren! We’re planning a Utah national parks trip for summer 2017, including Arches. 🙂
We would love to go to Yellowstone as a family! Hoping to explore Fall Creek State Park next weekend 🙂
I would love to visit them all, but Yellowstone tops my list and now that I have family living in Alaska, I’m adding Denali to my list! 😃
Like others commenting here about Yellowstone, it is wondrous! Love that place, look forward to visiting again with my son and for the first time with my daughter. Thank you for sharing!
So, I didn’t mention why it I intrigues me… Yellowstone is so iconic. I want to see the wild animals and geysers and beautiful scenery! Denali is so mysterious and far away. It’s beauty and mystery are appealing.
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