10 Reasons to Take Your Kid to the National Park

Submitted a year ago
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Instill a love of nature in your child this summer

For a number of years I volunteered at the Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, VT and it has been near and dear to my heart ever since my first hike on the trails there.  Most local schoolchildren are familiar with the next door neighbor Billings Farm, but not as many know the wonders of the National Park.  Well, thanks to my ranger friend Julia Lynam, here is a list of reasons why you should take your kid to the park:
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1. 20 miles of beautiful trails to run on - that will keep them busy! For little ones there is a one mile Junior Ranger Loop that is a perfect way to start your child on a life of hiking.

2.  A chance to count the painted turtles sunning on the logs at the Pogue

3.  Enjoy a ranger-led Junior Ranger program (ages 6-12 accompanied by an adult)  These events are FREE, have varied themes and run from June 24 through August 22.  There are short explorations on Tuesdays from 11-11:30 am and longer programs on Saturdays from 2-3pm

4.  Learn about the nature of the park with a Ranger, Starting July 1, these Nature Programs - for all ages - will be Sundays and Wednesdays at 11 am - noon or 12:30 (ish)  FREE

5. Earn a Junior Ranger badge by yourself! To earn your badge hike the Junior Ranger Loop around the mansion and through the forests. Complete activities along the way, interview a park ranger, and return to the Visitor Center to be sworn in as a Junior Ranger. Pick up a booklet at the Carriage Barn Visitor Center.

6. Go on a Forest Quest and seek out treasures hidden in the Mount Tom Forest! Activities and riddles will reveal clues to help you unravel the forest's mysteries. This two-hour family-oriented hike is held several times a season. Check out the schedule of events, or call 802-457-3368 ext 222. *It can also be self-guided. Pick up a copy at the Carriage Barn Visitor Center, or print it at home (make sure to get both documents):

7. Older kids will enjoy the program Art Pick, a searching look at some of the paintings in the historic mansion.  Starting July 1, Mondays at 1pm, one hour. (This is new, a more dynamic version of the regular Art Tour,  which is offered at 1pm on Thursdays!) There is a fee charged for adults - FREE for 15 and under)

8.  Borrow a themed backpack and head off into the park.  These backpacks have boks, art supplies and info on plants, animals and other fun things that your child will discover at the park.  Come back again and try out another one for more learning opportunities that are FUN!!

9.  Head into the Carriage House Visitors Center and take a look at the children's books in the park's collection.  You can learn to identify trees, find out which animals call the park home and read some fun stories while you take a break from the trail.

10. Enjoy YOUR park as a family - Create lasting memories with a hike and picnic - after all, the National Parks System was created for all of us to enjoy!

  • Please call the park visitor center (802) 457-3368 ext. 222 for a current list of Junior Ranger programs
  • To learn more about what is going on at the park, click Programs at the ParkCalendar

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