News From Our Blog

Go to Where it all Began at Minute Man Historical Park

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Summer is a great time to take advantage of our national parks and monuments. Many offer free or low-cost admissions and programs perfect for families. So this summer we will be featuring one of our country’s public lands every week and highlighting things you and your family can do there.

Minute Man National Historical Park

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Image description: Militia march at Minute Man National Hisorical Park

Minute Man Historical Park is where the Revolutionary War all began. Located 22 miles outside of Boston, the park lets you visit the iconic towns of Lexington and Concord. Start your trip at the Visitor’s center and watch the film “Road to the Revolution” where you’ll learn about Paul Revere’s legendary ride as well as the famous battles at Lexington and North Bridge.

Then walk along the five-mile Battle Road Trail. This trail connects Concord and Lexington and is the same path where many minutemen walked during the start of the Revolution.

You could also take a guided tour to help you learn about the colonial men and women who played an important role in our nation’s history.  One tour is “Who Were the Minutemen?” where you join a ranger costumed as a minuteman as he explains what the militia did and also includes a demonstration firing of a 18th century musket.

Another tour is the “Some Were for Making a Stand” tour. A ranger joins you at North Bridge and explains the April 19th, 1775 opening battle of the Revolution. There are many other scheduled tours available throughout the summer. Find more information.

Kids can also enjoy learning about the U.S. Revolution at Minute Man Historical Park. The Whitmore house lets children try on traditional colonial clothing, organize the day and help prepare a meal. Everyone has the chance to participate in the Hats Off! Homespun Tribute play where you and your family can learn why spinning thread, shopping and cooking were important to the revolution.

Minute Man Historical Park is also full of historical reenactments and events that are not only interesting but also educational; to learn more about the park activities and to plan your visit take a look at the schedule of events.

Hike, Camp and More in Yosemite National Park

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Summer is a great time to take advantage of our national parks and monuments. Many offer free or low-cost admissions and programs perfect for families. So this summer we will be featuring one of our country’s public lands every week and highlighting things you and your family can do there.

Yosemite National Park

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Image description: People have been camping in Yosemite National Park since the 1800s. Photo from the National Park Service.

World-renowned photographer Ansel Adams captured some of the nation’s best sights and scenery in his lifetime of work as a nature photographer. In the words of President Jimmy Carter, Adams was “drawn to the beauty of nature’s monuments” - and he found no greater inspiration than Yosemite National Park.

Adams, though perhaps one of the most well-known and artistic, is far from the only person to find success and happiness within the boundaries of Yosemite National Park. Thousands of visitors have visited the 1,200 square miles of national park since its protection in 1864, hiking miles of trail, capturing one of its many scenic cliff faces on film, laying down in a meadow, or camping in the middle of the valley.

Although the park may be most known for its picturesque waterfalls, there are a plethora of activities available for visitors to explore and experience:

Before traveling, check the current conditions in the park and read up on its illustrious history.

Enjoy Alaska in the Summer

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Summer is a great time to take advantage of our national parks and monuments. Many offer free or low-cost admissions and programs perfect for families. So this summer we will be featuring one of our country’s public lands every week and highlighting things you and your family can do there.

Denali National Park

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Image description: Mt. McKinley dwarfs the surrounding scenery in Denali National Park. Photo from the National Park Service

Denali National Park and Preserve is an incredible place to fully appreciate the Alaskan wilderness.  With more than 6 million acres, Denali has breathtaking views of the Alaskan terrain, stunning wildlife and of the largest mountain in North America, Mt McKinley.

Be witness to the beautiful Alaskan scenery during the summer months. At Denali National Park  there is a great chance to see a number of wild animals such as the grizzly bear, caribou and moose. You may also be able to catch a glimpse of the golden eagle or the rare bald eagle flying above the vast Alaskan sky.

Denali is great for those who are explorers at heart! There are a number of different ways to travel through the national park:

  • Tour bus: narrated by a trained naturalist, tour buses may be the best chance to see the large array of wildlife living within Denali.

  • Shuttle bus: Gives you the freedom to hop on and off the bus to explore different trails and sections of the park.

  • Bicycling: There are designated bike trails available during the summer and cyclists are welcome to bike through the entire 92 miles of  park road.

  • Hiking: There are a number of different trails located around the park that range from easy to difficult. For those who like a challenge, Denali offers you the special opportunity to hike off-trail!

Find more ways to explore the park.

Kids also have an incredible chance to learn and explore the park’s history. They can borrow a Denali discovery pack, which is filled with activities and lessons about the park and wildlife. The top ten family activities will give you a number of fun things of what to do while at Denali.

Because this park is in rugged terrain, it’s important to read up on things to know before you visit so that you can safely navigate the great Alaskan frontier.

Explore the Iconic Mount Rushmore

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Summer is a great time to take advantage of our national parks and monuments. Many offer free or low-cost admissions and programs perfect for families. So this summer we will be featuring one of our country’s public lands every week and highlighting things you and your family can do there.

Mount Rushmore

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Image description: The iconic Mount Rushmore. Photo from the National Park Service.

Mount Rushmore is iconic, there’s no doubt about it! The massive carving, with its surrounding mountainside, is one of our nation’s most recognizable public landmarks. That’s not all there is to it, though - by visiting this public land, you can learn about the sculptures’ tumultuous history, explore the Avenue of Flags or take a hike in the South Dakota Black Hills.

More than 3 million visitors from across the nation and around the world visit the park annually, to see the landmark that has been described as a “symbol of freedom and hope for people from all cultures and backgrounds.”

Initially, Doane Robinson, often called the “Father of Mount Rushmore,” intended for a carving of one of the Needles in the likeness of a notable Sioux. This plan changed as time went on and today, the carvings of four great American presidents look out from the side of Mount Rushmore.

 To learn more about the history of the installation - including the blasting away of one of the president’s heads in 1933 and the proposal of including Susan B. Anthony on the mountainside - check out PBS’s timeline of Mount Rushmore’s creation.

After taking a snapshot of the 60-foot-tall heads staring out at you from the ancient rock, be sure to check out the other activities that the park has to offer:

  • Visit the Avenue of Flags (PDF), created as a celebration of America’s bicentennial

  • Take a guided walk to the Sculptor’s Studio, or one of the other available ranger tours

  • Attend the Evening Sculpture Lighting Ceremony which takes place at approximately 9 p.m. nightly from May to September

  • Take in the Burkett Plaque, in honor of then-college student William Andrew Burkett’s award-winning essay (PDF)

  • Bask in the beauty of the Black Hills of South Dakota

When planning your visit, you can check out the National Weather Service’s forecast or read brochures about the park, available online through the National Park Service. You can also read President George Bush’s remarks at the park’s dedication July 3, 1991, available courtesy of the American Presidency Project.

Plan a Trip to the Beautiful Channel Islands

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Summer is a great time to take advantage of our national parks and monuments. Many offer free or low-cost admissions and programs perfect for families. So this summer we will be featuring one of our country’s public lands every week and highlighting things you and your family can do there.

The Channel Islands

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Image description: One of the many coves on the Channel Islands. Photo from the National Park Service.

The Channel Islands sometimes referred to, as the “North American Galapagos” is an incredible national park off the coast of southern California.  Comprised of five distinct islands, this park offers a one-of-a-kind experience because of wildlife not found anywhere else in the world.

Each island in the park offers something unique that you can discover:

Anacapa Island: A great place to view the Winfield Scott shipwreck from land, also one of the best islands to snorkel through the beautiful kelp forests.

Santa Cruz Island: A fantastic place to visit if you like to swim, kayak or dive. Lucky bird watchers may be able to spot the scrub jay, only found on Santa Cruz Island!

Santa Rosa Island: Whether you decide to hike through Black Mountain or stay along Water Canyon Beach, Santa Rosa provides breathtaking views no matter where you decide to go.

San Miguel Island: This island contains an abundance of wildlife. Harbors are bountiful with gulls, pelicans and auklets. You can also watch the western meadowlark, rock wren and sound sparrow in their natural habitat.

Santa Barbara Island: An island in recovery, Santa Barbara is home to a number of different rare plant and animal life. If you dive off the coast of this island you may just find sea stars, sea urchins and gorgeous Garibaldi fish.

The Channel Islands are a great place to visit during the summer because of the many whale watching opportunities. Throughout the summer you can view the largest animal in the world, the endangered blue whale, off the coast of the islands! Other whales, such as the humpback and the orca, can also be seen in the summer months.

You can see the marine animals from on high points throughout the islands as well as through telescopes located outside the visitor’s centers.

Whale watching boating trips are also available if you want a close-up view. For more information, please check out island transportation. You can find a full list of guided tours on the schedule of events.

Whether you are visiting the islands for the wildlife or for the number of outdoor activities, the Channel Islands provide a rare insight into the southern California landscape.