We’re taking a Virtual Spring Break Trip to the National Parks. Today we are focusing on the nature national parks instead of the historical sites like Independence Hall, Washington Monument, or Alcatraz.
It is spring break week here in Ann Arbor. But, with stay at home orders in place, no one can travel for the spring break. So we are holding a Virtual Spring Break visiting a different destination or themed set of destinations each day. Be sure to check out our Virtual Spring Break article which will link to each place we have visited and include upcoming destinations.
Our National Park Trips
We have visited many National Parks on our trips over the years, both historical and “nature” parks. The Nature Parks we have visited include Bandelier National Monument, Rocky Mountain National Park, Shenandoah National Park, Pictured Rocks, and Sleeping Bear Dunes. My daughter has also visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Great Falls in Virginia with her Girl Scout Troop.
Yosemite and the Grand Canyon on near the top of our list to visit. We were set to visit Yosemite a few years ago, but large parts were undergoing conservation and not accessible.
National Park Activities at Home
I suggest starting by taking the Find Your Park Quiz. You can take it a few times with different answers to find new parks to explore.
National Parks Service At Home Activities
The National Parks Service created a page of activities you can do at home.
Kids ages 5-13 are invited to become Junior Rangers. They can download a book and complete it at home. You can earn your Junior Ranger badge by bringing it back to a participating park (once travel restrictions are lifted), or mail it back. The Night Explorers badge is one you can do from home.
The National Park Service shared coloring sheets last week.
Explore with National Parks Documentaries
A Disney+ subscription includes a large selection of National Geographic Programming.
- Into the Grand Canyon
- America’s National Parks -8 episodes featuring
- Gates of the Arctic
- Grand Canyon
- Great Smoky Mountains
- Wild Yellowstone – 2 episdodes
Netflix includes National Parks Adventure narrated by Robert Redford.
Relive your Past National Park Trips
Have you previously visited National Parks? Just Go Travel offers custom National Park style posters using your own photos. I think this photo of my daughter climbing at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico would be a good one.
Books Featuring the National Parks
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- Where is Mount Rushmore?
- Where is the Grand Canyon?
- Mount Rushmore: 57 Fascinating Facts for Kids
- Good Night Yellowstone
Movies Featuring the National Parks
There are several movies featuring the National Parks
- National Treasure : Book of Secrets – Mount Rushmore – Streaming on Disney+
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – Arches National Park in the opening scene – Streaming on Netflix
- Dances with Wolves – Badlands National Park – Airing on Starz on April 12 & 13.
National Park Foods
Picnics are a great option for a visit to a National Park. Plan a picnic in your back yard, or on a blanket in a grassy area of a neighborhood park being sure to keep the appropriate social distance. Do not use picnic tables at the park during the COVID-19 closures.
Being in a park always reminds me of cooking over a flame. Consider using the grill and making things like hot dogs and s’mores.
Or, if you pick parks in a particular region consider the local cuisine. Anyone up for a park in Hawaii?
Break out the baking gear and make a cake and decorate it like a park. Maybe Arches or Half-Dome.