National Park Week April 18 – 26

It’s National Park Week!  I have been very lucky and have had the pleasure of visiting a small number of our many National Parks, including Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, The Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, and Rocky Mountain National Park.  That doesn’t even cover the National Parks and Historic Sites that we’re lucky to have in our state, including the beautiful Cape Cod National Seashore.  Visiting a National Park in person is not an option right now, so please enjoy this guide featuring a variety of online resources and do some “visiting”.

  • National Park Service and National Park Foundation
    The National Park Service (NPS) and National Park Foundation are amazing resources and have put together a lot of great initiatives so you can enjoy the National Parks from the comfort of your home.
    • Earth Day Digital Celebration
      April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  The National Parks has created a lot of videos and activities in order to celebrate.  Here are my two favorite guides:
    • “Parked at Home” Initiative
      • Junior Ranger Online Program: Those who have visited National Parks with young children may have had the pleasure of participating in the Junior Ranger program.  I highly recommend it as its informative and fun for the adults just as much as the kids.  A few years ago, my young travel companion held the distinction of being the first “Junior Ranger” of the season at the Boston Harbor Islands and the actual ranger made a big announcement to others at the visitor center to a huge round of applause.  
      • Distance Learning: Great resources for teachers who are teaching via virtual classrooms or for parents looking for some ideas for home schooling.  Even those of us who are neither teachers or parents can find something to learn.
    • Virtual Visits to a National Park
      Though nothing beats an in person visit to these amazing landmarks, these still photos and web cams are the next best thing.  Here are a few I’ve been enjoying:
      • Yellowstone live webcams: In addition to Old Faithful, “visitors” can view the various entrances to the park, different views of Mount Washburn, and the Mammoth Hot Springs.
      • Grand Canyon Tour with Elmo and Murray from Sesame Street: These Youtube videos featuring Grand Canyon Park Ranger, Amala, teaching the two Muppets about the features of the park, are very sweet.
      • Channel Islands National Park Tour with Jordan Fisher: Actor Jordan Fisher, best known for co-starring in the live productions of Grease and Rent, gives visitors a brief look at this California National Park.  Of the three I mentioned here, this was the one I had not visited (or knew) so I really appreciated it.
    • Massachusetts National Parks
      When the COVID-19 crisis is behind us, you’ll be able to satisfy your National Park itch by not traveling far.  We’re lucky in this state to be home to 15 National Parks, 5 National Heritage Areas, 3 National Trails, and 189 National Historic Landmarks!  Here are some of the highlights that you can enjoy from home:

posted by Laura

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