Family friendly national park vacation excursions offer parents the opportunity to teach their children about nature. The United States has over 400 national parks with many of them offering interpretive programs through their park service’s office. The interpretive programs provide a broader look at the area that is not offered by camping, walking, hiking or driving through the area.
Rocky Mountain National Park’s ‘Beetlemania’ Program
Rocky Mountain National Park offers a program on the beetles of the region. This region, along with many of Colorado’s pine trees, are currently being overtaken by the mountain pine beetle. Rangers do an excellent job of explaining the situation to the children. The teachers dress up in full-boy beetle costumes along with leading the crowd in sing-a-longs from the Beatles band. Beetle carcasses are available for the children. Before and after pictures of the forest show just how damage a small insect can cause.
Shenandoah National Park’s Horseback Riding Excursion
Enjoy a ride through Shenandoah’s National Park on the back of a beautiful horse. A 1 or 2.5 hour horseback tour is available to individuals who enjoy riding horses or want to experience horseback riding for the first time. Lumber through the Blue Ridge Mountains on horses provided by Skyland Stables located in the center of Shenandoah National Park.
Yosemite National Park’s Sing-a-long Animal Program
A 45-minute sing-a-long program at Yosemite National Park is geared specifically for children ages six years and younger. The “Wee Wild Ones” sing-a-long program offers information to the children in songs, the reading of books, playing of games and making crafts. All activities center on the hawks, bears and big horn sheep that are seen regularly throughout Yosemite. Several time periods are available throughout the summer including both afternoon and evening programs.
Acadia National Park’s Cruise the Shoreline Excursion
Enjoy a boating tour either within the Acadia National Park of on Frenchman Bay. A 3-hour “Dive-In Theater takes family on excursions on Frenchman Bay to see live porpoises and seals. A video monitor is set up so everyone can watch a diver swim on the ocean floor looking for marine life. Any located marine life that is safe and manageable is brought aboard the boat for hands-on exploration. A plethora of information is provided to all visitors on costal and pelagic birds of the area.
Denali National Park’s Stargazing Program
Alaska’s Camp Denali is an excellent location to learn about the Northern Lights. What exactly makes the Northern Lights so colorful? The spectacular phenomenon is explained through astrophysics. Camp Denali offers a Special Emphasis Series that focuses on the Northern Lights. The camp retreat is hosted during the summer in a 17-cabin area within Denali National Park. A specialist on the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, explains the phenomena in two and three night retreats. The specialist is within the park for the entire camp and answers questions throughout the day with nightly hikes through the tundra sky searching for the Northern Lights.