How did it get to be June already?! So much for my thoughts of posting weekly updates; looks like that didn’t happen again this year.
We took at long field trip last month in hopes of enriching our U.S. history studies. For two of our kids we purchased a special book, Passport to Your National Parks. I hope the other children don’t someday regret declining our offer to get them a book, too. Every year new stamps (stickers) are printed so that you can spend even more money decorating your passport. Thi$ is completely optional. When you go to the visitor’s center of a national park, you can get a “cancellation” for free.
Entrance into the parks isn’t free, however we learned about the America The Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Annual Pass. Given the number of parks we visited, this pass saved us money on our trip (and we can continue to use it for the next eleven months).
Our family took over 1000 pictures at some incredible locations. My favorites were: 1) our horseback ride through Garden of the Gods, 2) Golden Spike, and 3) Zion.
We were at the Golden Spike Monument first thing in the morning, so had time to talk with the ranger and explore the displays in the visitor’s center before the steam trains arrived. Prior to our trip, the golden spike was just a paragraph in boring history books. Now it is so much more!
Another stop was the Grand Canyon. Magnificent! Now that we’ve seen the north rim, we’d like to return to see the south rim — some of us would like to spend enough time there to hike across (there’s even a place down in the bottom of the canyon where those who make reservations ahead of time can spend the night).
Many of the places we went had school busses full of kids on end-of-the-year field trips, so I’m not the only one who thinks these were educational locations. The educational aspect was a bonus; this was a fabulous vacation. If you’re looking for some great places to visit, here’s a start:
- Lewis and Clark Caverns
- Grand Tetons
- Jackson Hole
- Buffalo Bill Historical Center
- Little Bighorn Battlefield (definitely take the time to attend a ranger talk)
- Mount Rushmore
- Crazy Horse Memorial
- Jewel Caves
- Wind Caves
- Garden of the Gods
- Pike’s Peak (the road closes at 3:00, so make sure you get there early enough)
- Four Corners (unfortunately fenced off when we visited)
- Great Sand Dunes
- Grand Canyon
- Zion National Park
- Grand Staircase-Escalante
- Glen Canyon
- Bryce Canyon
- Capitol Reef
- Great Salt Lake
- Golden Spike National Historic Site
The national parks service has educational materials available here, as well as having a “teachers” link in the sidebar of every park, so it’s worth taking a little extra time to explore the resources available before you go. If you decide to visit any of these locations, I’d love to hear about it!