Explore the National Parks from Home

Posted on April 23, 2020

by Lisa Schmidt

This year, National Park Week (April 18-26) looks quite different, as many people are social distancing by staying home and not venturing out. There are still many opportunities to celebrate and enjoy our national parks responsibly. Let’s explore how we can do this with the resources below.

Tour the National Parks on hoopla

Hoopla has some fantastic national park documentaries to watch. I highly recommend the Discoveries…America National Parks series featuring 50-minute films covering places from historic Massachusetts to the California Redwoods.

National Geographic has quite a few beautiful documentaries on several amazing places: Glacier National Park, Extreme Alaska: Denali National Park and Secret Yosemite.

Not in the mood to watch? Your ears will enjoy some easy listening with NPR Road Trips: National Park Adventures, featuring stories about locations, people and history in NPR’s signature story style.

All you need to access hoopla is a Library card. Don’t have one? Sign up for one online for nearly instant access to eBooks, audiobooks, streaming movies and music.

Explore the National Parks Online

Take a trip across America retracing the steps of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, as they surveyed the Louisiana Territory and beyond, by following their trail from space. This self-guided tour gives wonderful historical facts along with detailed maps.

Parents who are looking for activities to keep their kids engaged in learning should visit the park service’s educator resources. There are classroom assignments and worksheets that can be sorted by grade level and subject interest.

Don’t forget that we have our own local national park attraction in Lucas County! Did you know that both Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis are part of the park service system? Currently, they are open and free to the public to walk around. Check out the Metroparks Toledo website for more information.

My favorite way to explore the parks right now is to use Google Art & Culture. They partnered with the National Park Service to produce an amazing experience with five stunning parks in America. The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks is a wonderful way to easily explore some select national park locations in an interactive online environment. A park service ranger will guide you through Kenai Fjords, Hawai’i Volcanoes, Carlsbad Caverns, Bryce Canyon, and Dry Tortugas.

Explore with Family and Friends

I personally recommend the board game Trekking the National Parks, which features 45 of the 60 locations known as national parks. The game is perfect for anyone over 10 years of age and is easy to understand and loads of fun (and educational). Gameplay takes about 30-60 minutes. Players move meeples around the map of the U.S.A. trying to visit as many national parks as possible to collect victory points to win. Pick one up from your local game store if possible.

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