National Parks Week

April 18-27!

Time to visit a National Park!

Golfer and Naturalist at Yorktown Battlefield, Virginia.
Yorktown Battlefield

National Park Week is an annual Presidentially proclaimed week for celebration and recognition of Your National Parks.

Your National Parks are living examples of the best this Nation has to offer – our magnificent natural landscapes and our varied yet interrelated heritage. Parks can provide recreational experiences, opportunities to learn and grow, and places of quiet refuge.

This year, take a moment, an hour, a day to visit the national parks near you.

This is a great excuse to get out and visit your local National Park…or even a National Monument if a big park isn’t within driving distance. Chances are there’s one within an hour of you! If you can’t physically go, there’s a great resource for kids at WebRangers…an online community where kids can earn virtual badges and explore more of the National Parks system without leaving home!

I’m especially passionate about this because studies have shown that visits to national parks are down by as much as 25 percent since 1987. This is crazy to me, because I am MAD for our National Parks! My best childhood memories, and my best memories with my kids are at National Parks. All the articles and worksheets in the world about taking care of our beautiful planet aren’t worth even an ounce of the real experience of watching Old Faithful erupting, or standing under a natural arch, or walking through a Giant Redwood, or standing on the battlegrounds of the Revolutionary & Civil Wars. And then to share that with my kids?! Fuhgedaboudit!

Golfer was so overcome while walking back from the double arches that he had to take a few moments to commune with the awesomeness of nature.

Starting with Yellowstone, National Parks are an important contribution to conservation and one of our best exported ideas (besides ‘Baywatch’ and ‘McDonalds’, of course.)

Golfer and Naturalist watching Old Faithful erupt for their first time.

Richard Louve studied this trend and wrote a great book about this disconnect with Nature, Last Child in the Woods. He terms this ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ and cites the overwhelming technologies that keep kids indoors (TV, Video Games, the Internet…) but goes on to point out:

Many parents feel that if they don’t have their kids in every organized activity, they will fall behind in the race for Harvard.

BUT!!!

Everyone that I’ve gotten to know either in homeschool groups, online groups, or blogs is bucking the trend and exploring places that I’ve never been. So, in honor of National Parks Week, and in the spirit of getting out and experiencing natural places, I want to know what your favorite place is to explore with your kids. Whether you go this next week, or have already been…my challenge is for you to blog about it, link back to here and leave a comment linking us to your blog. If you don’t have a blog, just leave a comment telling everyone where you love to go. I’m not tagging anyone*, but if you live in Colorado, then I need to know what’s around here to do! If you live ouside of Colorado then I want to see places that are new to me! If you live outside of the US of A, then I take it back and tag you.

*yes, I am! I am totally tagging people! Because I started thinking about where different people live, and who I’d like to see pictures from, and, well, I’m using my evil tagging powers to make people share their adventures with me. So, I tag:

Here Comes Trouble. She’s in ITALY! ‘Nuff said.
These Go To Eleven. Virginia in the house! We love Virginia and the kids talk about moving there all. the. time.
Throwing Marshmallows. ditto.
My So Called Homeschool. ditto.
A View From Here. I hope she’ll show more pics of her kids on her new (to her!) farm!
Mama P. Iowa…our favorite John Linnell song on ’50 States’.
Mischief Makers. What’s going on in Chicago area? Where is there to go with kids?
Zayna’s Garden. Oh, Canada!

So, go forth, be one with nature, and blog!

Interview with Richard Louve HERE.
My favorite guidebook, Frommer’s National Parks with Kids (Park Guides)

9 Comments

  1. We're in! Though right now, Lil'Bugs favorite place is our backyard! :)

  2. Tracey /

    I love Yosemite- its definately one of my fave places on the planet, and a jewel among the parks, IMO. THis year we're also adding a trip to Kings Canyon and Sequoia- lesser known, but I hear equally great, so I'll get back you in July on that. Oh- and hav eyou tried Joshua Tree NP- very cool- and how about Haleakala and what about Volcanoes-you need them on your list!

  3. Hey can I join in? Just started reading your blog and this recent post of mine fits right in – http://kezs-blog.blogspot.com/2008/04/bush-walk-p… . Hope you enjoy a touch of Australia :)

    Kerrie

  4. Iowa is a witch……

    TMBG is doing a kids show in May in KC, MO/KS. Yeah. I will so totally go into labor if we go (or if Dearest takes Lil'Bug). It's only a week or so before our due date……

    Still, I want them to go! (Ok, I WANT TO GO!)

  5. notjunecleaver /

    OK, I did it. I made myself take the time to write about a park today or I would never do it.
    http://thesegotoeleven.homeschooljournal.net/2008

  6. mischiefmakers /

    You caught us this week…we were one with nature…its I love this place. http://mischiefmakers.wordpress.com/
    I can't wait for summer and we can drive to different parks…I'm suppose to go to Utica, thats suppose to be really nice

  7. Thanks for thinking of me. I'm going to work on it asap.

  8. childsplay /

    I'm really enjoying reading about all these different places!!!!

  9. Do state parks count? I haven't been to a national park in a while, but we went to Dino Valley State Park recently! We are planning to return, it was pretty awesome. http://kmduff.blogspot.com/2007/09/dinosaur-valle

    My last national park was the Grand Canyon, which was fantastic and totally worth the drive to the middle of nowhere.

    Overall we hang out the most at home and at the local parks though.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. National Park Week : These Go To Eleven - [...] National Park Week and Child’s Play has tagged me for her meme to write about a National Park ...
  2. My Own Backyard « Zayna’s Garden - [...] 26, 2008 by zaynasgarden Child’sPlay tagged me last week for a post called “National Parks Week”, ...