April 16-April 24 has been designated National Parks Week, a time to discover, explore, enjoy and enhance what’s been called America’s best idea…our national parks. In proclaiming this week as a time to celebrate these special places, admission has been waived, making it possible for everyone to enjoy the parks for free.
In addition, yesterday was National Junior Ranger Day which encouraged kids to take part in fun programs to earn badges. But if you missed this opportunity, did you know kids can participate in Junior Ranger programs everyday even if unable to get to one of the parks? Check out WebRangers and start earning badges today.
Other events scheduled as part of National Parks Week:
April 22, Earth Day, you can get your hands dirty and join in a park project.
April 23, National Park InstaMeet, take pictures and short videos and post on Instagram using the hashtags: #FindYourParkInstaMeet, #FindYourPark, #EncuentraTuParque, #NPS100
April 24, Park Rx Day, fun recreational activities will be hosted to encourage healthy lifestyles and promote physical and mental well being.
This week our schedule won’t permit us to visit any of our parks, but fortunately, we got a bit of a jump start on the celebration. We decided that we wanted to visit or revisit the National Parks in Florida this year. In March we visited Ft. Caroline National Memorial and a couple of weeks ago we spent the afternoon at Canaveral National Seashore. Then last week we went to Everglades National Park and Biscayne Bay National Park.
April is a great time to visit the Everglades since you don’t have to battle the heat or mosquitoes. We walked trails and watched manatee, alligators, a crocodile and birds.
To really enjoy Biscayne Bay National Park, you have to get out on the water since 90% of the park is under water. We planned to rent kayaks, but that wasn’t possible since the park needs a vendor for the rentals; and while they have boat tours on the weekends, that didn’t work for us either as we were there on a Tuesday. As a result, we were limited to the Visitor Center, walking the trail to the point, fishing from the shore and reading on the deck overlooking the water. Next time we’ll bring our boat so we won’t be dependent on others.
Other National Parks located in Florida that we need to visit in 2016:
Big Cypress National Preserve
Castillo San de Marcos National Monument
DeSoto National Memorial
Dry Tortugas National Park
Fort Matanzas National Monument
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor
Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve