Today was meant to be a super-park-exploration day, but our best intentions were foiled. Mainly by Sam’s big toe getting sliced open at the pool this morning (but no stitches were needed, thankyouthankyouthankyou).
So we babied the big toe for the rest of the day, but managed a little bit of park love, by checking out the National Park Service web-site. We hadn’t seen it in a while, even though Michael works for NPS. Sam enjoyed getting started with WebRangers, just one of many activities within the kids section of the site. He was just getting into decorating his ranger office, when Isabel got very interested in learning to use the mouse, so we’ll have to return to that later.
Another great way to explore parks on homebound days, is to check out one of the many webcams that the Park Service maintains. Washington is well represented; I love the Hurricane Ridge webcam from Olympic National Park.
The photos I’m including today are from some of our favorite park explorations this summer. The top photo is from Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in Idaho. We stopped there for a much needed rest during our drive west this summer. Even though we were there after hours and couldn’t check out the visitor’s center, we blew off some steam and avoided any hitchhiking ticks, so it was a successful visit.
We also loved the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, which is maintained by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Nothing beats finding fish skeletons and climbing on driftwood. The one downside came to our attention a few mornings after our visit. We opened one of our car doors and were practically knocked over by the smell of the decomposing crab Sam had stowed in his backpack. It made the trip even more memorable, but you probably won’t want to catch a ride in Michael’s Subaru anytime soon.
Between National Parks, Monuments, Wildlife Refuges, and Forests, there are so many beautiful places to explore in the United States. And that doesn’t include the thousands of city, county, state, and municipal parks. It’s almost impossible to choose a favorite – right now Hawaii Volcanoes and Mount Rainer are tied for first place in my book.
What’s your favorite park (local or national)? What parks are on your list to visit?
I’m happy to write that the saga of the ouchy big toe ended well this evening. Michael took both kids to the playground closest to our house and they were finally able to run wild. The smallest amount of open space made all the difference, and everyone has gone to bed content and exhausted!