The National Park Service, with its 395 National Parks and 84 million acres under management, provides a custom-made adventure playground for kids of all ages throughout America. On Saturday, September 24th, National Parks across North America will waive their entrance fees to commemorate National Public Lands Day. To help celebrate this annual event, the National Park Service (NPS) and the National Park Foundation (NPF) have unveiled ten great ways for kids to get out and play in National Park locations across America.
Washington DC – President’s Park
Kicking things off this Saturday, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation will welcome Nickelodeon and their 8th annual Worldwide Day of Play to Washington, D.C.’s President’s Park. Located next to the White House, President’s Park will be home to the largest Worldwide Day of Play to date, with an entire day of activities and games – encouraging kids to get up, get out and get to a national park! In that spirit, Nickelodeon’s television networks and websites will go off-air and offline from 12 pm to 3 pm (all times ET) as a signal to kids and families nationwide to get active.
The President’s Park – part of the National Park system since 1933 – encompasses the park land surrounding the White House and its grounds; including the Ellipse, Lafayette Park, Sherman Park and the 1st Division Monument.
Maine – Acadia National Park
Sea-life bingo keeps youngsters excited tallying green sea urchins, orange sea stars, and other curious marine creatures that reside in tide pools that surface at low tide. Watch for harbor seals farther out in the water.
Originally established as Lafayette National Park by President Wilson in 1919, the park name was changed to Acadia in 1929, the park protects more than 47,000 acres.
Florida – Biscayne National Park
Families visiting Biscayne between December and April can sign up to attend “Family Fun Fest” – a daylong program held on the second Sunday of those months and focused on activities tied to the park’s diverse resources.
Massachusetts – Cape Cod National Seashore
Cycling is one of the best ways to get around the Cape thanks to its paved rail trail, which leads through the woods, pass kettle ponds created by retreating glaciers, and to spurs leading to Coast Guard, Marconi, and Le Count Hollow beaches.
Wyoming – Grand Teton National Park
Teens looking for a challenge can measure themselves against the Tetons, thanks to climbing schools where world-class guides will teach them the basics and lead them to the summit of 13,770-foot Grand Teton.
Located in north-western Wyoming, the 484 square miles of the Grand Teton National Park – originally established in 1918 – is dominated by the nine million year old 13,770 foot granite summit of Grand Teton.
Colorado – Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Kids love to get sandy on the tallest sand dunes in North America. Rising to about 650 feet, these dunes in the heart of the park are perfect for skiing, sand-boarding, or just plain old rolling down.
California – Lassen Volcanic National Park
Budding geologists will be fascinated with Lassen Volcanic, as it can count all four major types of volcanoes — shield, plug, cinder cone, and composite. There’s even a Volcano Club kids can join to learn more about this volcanic landscape.
Bisected by the Cascade Mountain range this stunning 106,372 acre park is crowned by 10,457 foot Lassen Peak, a 27,000 year old plug dome volcano.
Kentucky – Mammoth Cave National Park
A Mammoth Cave trip is built around a cave tour with the family, or three! Take the Violet City Lantern Tour to experience the passageways by flickering lamp light as many of its first visitors did, view the incredible flowstones on the Frozen Niagara Tour, or visit the Snowball Room with its ancient autographs inscribed with soot.
Washington – Olympic National Park
Kids can start the day with a snowball fight (on Hurricane Ridge) and end it soaking in warm springs (like those at Sol Duc Hot Springs).
Michigan – Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Winter isn’t the off-season here, as there are trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. And if there’s enough snow, kids and adults can even sled down the 100+ ft. Dune Climb.
To learn more about these and other great national park adventures for kids and families, check out the National Park Foundation’s special guide, “Parks for Play: 35 National Park Adventures for Kids of All Ages.” Whether it is this weekend or any weekend, America’s national parks offer endless activities the whole family can enjoy. This National Public Lands Day, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation invite everyone to go out and play. Here are ten fun-packed national park adventures for kids and families.
Source: National Park Foundation