Friday, February 6, 2009

National Parks is the way to go!


With summer around the corner, and making plans for a great vacation, here's a guide to the top 10 Great National Parks that your kids will love. It's a great way to spend quality time with the family, and most importantly your kids will have a Blast!

Statue of Liberty National Monument& Ellis Island Immigration Museum
New York Harbor, New York/New Jersey

"Inside the statue base is a museum with an actual-size replica of Lady Liberty's foot. It's a great way to show children how large she really is," Rizzi says. "Board the ferry in Lower Manhattan or across the Hudson River in Jersey City. Point out Ellis Island on your boat trip and involve the children by asking them to imagine being a child on this huge journey across the ocean, coming to live in a strange country."

Cape Hatteras National Seashore
North Carolina

"This park is filled with the history of pirates, shipwrecks and lighthouses. Check out the many Especially for Kids programs at the visitor centers to learn more," Rizzi says. "Kids will love taking the ferry from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke Island, and, best of all, it's free." A side trip to the Wright Brothers National Memorial is a great way to learn about the history of flight.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Tennessee/North Carolina

"This is the Salamander Capital of the World: At least 30 species of salamanders are found here. Go on a hike and see the wildlife, including bears," Rizzi says. "Bring your camera and capture one of the many waterfalls. Great programs for kids include the Ranger-led interpretive talks, historical buildings, museums and two working gristmills." Drive along the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway for a wide-angle view. Take a picnic and stop at one of the scenic lookouts.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial
South Dakota

"The sheer size of the sculptures can put a child's world in perspective. Join a Ranger-led tour to the base of the sculpture to learn why the presidents on the mountain were chosen," Rizzi says. "Attend the Evening Lighting Ceremony for breathtaking views and drama." Nearby are Wind Cave National Park and Jewel Cave National Monument.

Yellowstone National Park

"You must visit Old Faithful and the geyser basin, but one of my favorite places in Yellowstone is the Mud Volcano/Sulphur Caldron area and the bubbling mud pots," Rizzi says. "As you drive through the park, watch for Continental Divide signs and count how often you cross it."

Yosemite National Park

"Hikes to the base of the waterfalls are fairly easy and pretty exciting, too. Tuolumne Meadows offers more great hiking, incredible views and meadows filled with wildflowers," Rizzi says. "Don't miss driving up to Glacier Point to look over the valley from above Curry Village. Bicycling is a great way to get to the features of the valley floor."

Olympic National Park
Washington state

"If you are in Seattle, half the adventure of a visit to Olympic is taking the ferry to get there," Rizzi says. "Olympic is like three parks in one: the mountains, the rain forest and the ocean. Hikes in all three areas of the park will give your children the chance to experience the varied habitats and perhaps catch a glimpse of each area's wildlife. While on the trails in the rain forest, watch out for giant slugs."

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
St. Louis

No trip here would be complete without taking the tram ride to the top of the famed Gateway Arch. But there's much more. "This is a great place to learn about Lewis and Clark. The Museum of Westward Expansion, underneath the arch, takes you on a journey through the history of the American West."

Carlsbad Caverns National Park
New Mexico

"Don't miss the Evening Bat Flight Program that runs from mid-May through October." Take a guided tour or do it on your own. While this park is about what's underground, wonderful hikes are above ground, too, Rizzi says.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Big Island of Hawaii

"Take the Crater Rim Drive to see steam vents, recent lava flows and the giant, fuming summit crater of Kilauea Volcano. For a fun nature walk, stop at Nahuku and walk through the tree fern forest and the lava tube," Rizzi says. Check out the Pu'uloa Petroglyphs, located a short hike off the Chain of Craters Road. Stop by the Jaggar Museum to touch types of lava and make your own earthquake on the seismograph.

No comments:

Post a Comment