Bryce Canyon National Park.
(Photo: © NPS Photo)
Are you ready to take a trip outdoors this summer? A visit to a national park might be the perfect summertime treat. Hike on a trail, look at animals, or even go canoeing. The national parks offer many fun summer activities for kids, and even families. Check out what's happening at some of the national parks this summer, or go to http://www.nps.gov/ to learn about all of the parks. If you can't make a trip to a national park this summer, the national parks will come to you. Check out the Web Rangers Web site.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon, Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park is preserving darkness and inviting you to celebrate the night! The park is offering moonlight hikes. And be sure to check out the star parties. Use a telescope to look at the night sky and learn all about the sky from astronomers. You can also find out why plants and animals need the night's darkness. And from June to August, the park offers special programs for kids just like you! The 30-40 minute long activities will teach you all about the culture and natural history of the park. Also be sure to check out the Junior Ranger Program.
Everglades National Park
Miami, Naples, and Homestead Florida
The Everglades National Park extends throughout the southern tip of the Florida peninsula and most of Florida Bay. The park is known for its rich bird life. You might even see one if you go on a walk led by a park ranger. And if you want to get closer to the water, boat tours are available at Flamingo and Gulf Coast. You can also rent a canoe from the same places. Did you know that the Everglades National Park is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles exist side by side? Take a trip to the park and check it out for yourself.
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon, Arizona
If you are between the ages of 9 and 14, the Grand Canyon National Park has a program just for you. You can become a Dynamic Earth Junior Ranger or a Discover Park Junior Ranger. Attend programs, learn about the park, and get your very own ranger badge! Hiking in the canyon is another popular activity because it allows you to see the park's beauty. But be carefulthe extreme summer heat might make hiking difficult.
Grand Teton National Park
Seeing an elk, moose, or bison in the 40 miles worth of mountains is common. You can also see 300 species of birds, including bald eagles! Hiking, walking, fishing, swimming, canoeing, and biking are popular summer activities in this park. The park also offers the Grand Adventure, an activity guide for kids. If you complete the activities and attend programs led by rangers, you'll get a Young Naturalist patch.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park and Grand Lake, Colorado
If you visit Rocky Mountain National Park this summer, you'll have the chance to travel along the highest, continuous paved road in the United States. Driving along Trail Ridge Road allows viewers to see many of the park's sites. If you would rather see the sites from the outdoors, the park has 359 miles of trail for you to hike, backpack, or even horseback ride. You might even see a cougar, eagle, coyote, or hawk along the way. Evening campground talks also take place throughout the summer. And don't forget to pick up your Junior Ranger Activity Book for some added fun!
Beehive Geyser at Yellowstone National Park.
(Photo: © NPS Photo)
Yelllowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park has the perfect Junior Ranger Program for kids between the ages of 5 and 12. Kids will be introduced to the park's natural wonders and learn how to preserve them. Through the program, kids will hike on a park trail, complete activity pages, and attend a ranger-led program. Summer is also the perfect time to go on a Ranger Adventure Hike through the park. On the hike, you will explore wildlife habitats. Also be sure to check out the Mystic Falls Walk. This two-mile walk lets you see the park's ecosystem. Have you ever seen black sand? The Black Sand Walk explores Yellowstone's volcanic activity.
Yosemite National Park
The Sierra Nevada, California
Short walks and longer hikes to waterfalls are perfect summer activities in Yosemite National Park. Or you could always take a bus tour to Glacier Point to see a view of Yosemite Valley. In the summer months, Yosemite National Park gives people the opportunity to look at the night sky with telescopes. If you want to see the stars, be sure to go to Glacier Point on Saturdays. And you can become a Junior Ranger just by filling out an activity booklet, collecting a bag of trash, and attending a program.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is known for its great variety of plants and animals. If you're interested in learning more about nature, be sure to join a Park Ranger in an activity. You can go on a shuttle tour or guided hike. Daytime talks and evening programs are also available. Like the other national parks, Zion offers a Junior Ranger Program for kids. From now until September 4, you can earn a certificate/pin or patch just by participating in the program. Participating in the program is a great way to learn about nature and how to preserve it.