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The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
  • Best National Parks for Families

  • Make outdoor exploration a family affair with these, the best national parks for families.
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  • Instill a love of the Great Outdoors in your children by bringing them to one of our nation’s treasures. Children will be awed when they stand at the summit of the beautiful Grand Tetons, or when they first hear the haunting cry of a loon at Voyageurs National Park. With a variety of fun and interactive programs that cater to children, these best national parks for families get our kid-friendly stamp of approval. It will be an unforgettable adventure the whole family can enjoy. Grand Teton National Park Jackson, WY (307) 739-3399 www.nps.gov/grte/ Grand Teton National Park is renowned for its sweeping vistas, jagged peaks, and exceptional wildlife, but this iconic national treasure is also consistently recognized as a top family-friendly vacation spot. The park offers a variety of kid-friendly programs, activities and events. Throughout the year, Grand Teton National Park hosts a number of educational programs such as astronomy star-gazing sessions, art contests, scenic float trips on the Snake River and horseback riding excursions. Additionally, children are invited to earn a Junior Ranger badge by completing the “The Grand Adventure” pamphlet, an interactive activity guide for children. Families can leisurely stroll the park’s myriad easy trails, three of which are stroller-accessible or rent bikes at Dornans and ride the bike path. And, of course, children will surely delight in the park’s wildlife activity. Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone National Park, WY (307) 344-7381 www.nps.gov/yell/ Bring your kids to experience the unrivaled natural beauty of Yellowstone, our nation’s geologic wonderland. Children will be awed by the sight of geysers bursting, or enthralled by the park’s rare and charismatic wildlife including bears, bison and elk. The park hosts a number of family-oriented tours, activities and programs, such as the Stagecoach Adventure and Old West Cookout that takes you on a rustic ride in a horse-drawn, canvas-covered wagon and ends with a cowboy steak dinner in Pleasant Valley. Additionally, the park hosts a number of ranger-led activities designed for children. Although the program offerings change from year to year, events in the past have included a fun “Wildlife Olympics” for kids. Voyageurs National Park, MN International Falls, MN (218) 283-6600 www.nps.gov/voya/ Located in the heart of the scenic North Woods, Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park features a number of family-oriented activities and programs. Each spring, the park hosts an annual Kids Art Contest, in which local students are encouraged to create artwork that illustrates a yearly park-related theme. During an open house, a winner is chosen and fun prizes are awarded. To encourage children to get out on their own and explore the park’s unique environment, the park distributes free “Discovery Packs” to families. Each pack is centered around a different learning objective, such as “Plants,” “Water” or “Geology.” Rocky Mountain National Park, CO Estes Park, CO (970) 586-1206 www.nps.gov/romo/ Rocky Mountain National Park is a great family-friendly place to introduce children to the Great Outdoors. Children will be enthralled by the park’s stunning mountain scenery and diverse array of wildlife. Rocky Mountain caters to families through a number of programs such as the “Rocky’s Junior Ranger Program,” which educates children on topics such as park preservation, flora and fauna facts, and environmental education. In addition to a number of easy family-friendly hiking trails, the park also has guided horseback-riding tours suitable for older children. Finally, the Rooftop Fair and Rodeo, hosted every July in Estes Park, is a kid favorite. The fair features a number of fun and interactive events such as a rodeo with Colorado cowboys, a parade, and country-western concerts. Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA Mineral, CA 96063 (530) 595-4480 www.nps.gov/lavo/ Home to numerous volcanoes and jagged mountain peaks, Lassen Volcanic National Park offers a wealth of activities aimed at getting children to discover the joys of nature. Joining in the fight against childhood obesity, Lassen Volcanic National Park encourages children to get active and take advantage of nature. As part of the Let’s Move Outside campaign, the park recognizes children who display a commitment to physical fitness by giving them a special sticker. Additionally, in conjunction with the Lassen Park Foundation, Lassen Volcanic National Park hosts a yearly Youth Camping Program. This summer program provides facilities and resources for non-profit organizations that serve at-risk or underserved youth, giving children the unforgettable opportunity to camp in the great outdoors. Brought to you by: Spry Living

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