The last of us fell prey to this sickness so it was a pretty quiet day around here. I’m not sure what we have, but it’s got a good hold on us. Mikayla wanted to make her first camp cooking video but that’s going to have to wait until we are on the mend.
I’m often asked to name the favorite place we have visited so far. That is a very difficult question to answer. I can’t even say that we’ve liked one state over another. It’s all been so amazing. I would visit each state again and recommend any of the stops we have made.
What I can say is that we have grown to love the National Parks Service. Stephen T. Mather, NPS Director from 1917-1929 said, “The parks do not belong to one state or to one section…. The Yosemite, the Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon are national properties in which every citizen has a vested interest; they belong as much to the man of Massachusetts, of Michigan, of Florida, as they do to the people of California, of Wyoming, and of Arizona.” The National Parks really do belong to every American and they are worth visiting.
So far we have been to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore, Effigy Mounds National Monument, Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, and Hot Springs National Park. Each park is unique and highlights different historical, geographic, cultural and scientific aspects of the United States.
Barry and I, along with our two oldest girls have National Park Passports books that we stamp at each park with a stamp that is dated and unique to that park. It serves as a record of our visit. We also purchase the stickers from each park to add to our books.
Eva is earning badges at the parks that participate in the Jr. Ranger Program. Workbooks are available for children ages 6 – 12 to learn more about the park they are visiting. I’ve found that certain aspects of some of the parks are a little hard for children to grasp. The workbooks really help in this area. When the assigned amount of pages are completed, we take them to a Park Ranger who goes through them with us explaining certain areas in more details and even asking Eva questions to help her relate to the park in a more personal way. The Ranger then signs the certificate in the back of the workbook, swears her in as a Jr. Park Ranger using a pledge that is unique to that park and gives her a Badge with the parks name on it. It is a wonderful program! We finish the workbook as a part of school during the week. Eva also enjoys working on the Web-Ranger activities through the National Parks Service website.
The Rangers at the parks are very helpful, courteous and highly educated in their fields. If you visit a park, try to get in on one of the Ranger guided tours or programs. They are very educational and so interesting that you will leave wanting to know more.
If we see nothing more than the National Parks on this trip, we will have seen not only the very best of America but some of the most beautiful and unique places in the world. The National Parks are our National Treasure! They are the pride of our great country.
- National Park Service: http://www.nps.gov/index.htm
- Jr. Park Ranger Program: http://www.nps.gov/learn/juniorranger.cfm
- Web Ranger Program: http://www.nps.gov/webrangers/
The National Park Passport Books and Stickers can be purchased at the National Parks.