Shenandoah National Park announces family-friendly spring events

shenandoah national parkShenandoah National Park will host two events this spring celebrating the National Park Service Centennial and encouraging kids of all ages to connect to nature, wildlife, and their national parks.

The first event, Junior Ranger Day in Shenandoah will take place on Saturday, April 23, at Dickey Ridge Visitor Center (mile 4.6 on Skyline Drive) and Byrd Visitor Center (mile 51). Kids and their adults will be able to examine nature items on touch tables, search for clues in indoor scavenger hunts, and try on ranger uniforms. They will have a chance to check out a park patrol vehicle or ambulance, join a wildland firefighter working a fire hose, meet a live screech owl, attend a talk about wildlife or go on a short hike with a ranger.

In celebration of the Centennial of the National Park Service, the first of this year’s Centennial music events will be presented in conjunction with Junior Ranger Day in the Byrd Visitor Center auditorium on April 23 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. John Muir: University of Wilderness features the writings of John Muir performed by actor Thomas Mitchell with “nature forged” chamber music by Chance.

Junior Ranger Day falls during National Park Week, April 16 to 24, 2016 (an entrance fee-free week), so entrance fees will be waived at all National Park Service sites, including Shenandoah.

The second event, Kids to Parks Day, will take place on Saturday, May 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Byrd Visitor Center and Big Meadows area (mile 51). Kids to Parks Day is a nationwide day of outdoor exploration and play, organized by the National Park Trust. A full day of events is planned to get visitors up close and personal with wildlife and nature! There will be a chance to learn about the animals that live at Shenandoah, see several live animals, explore the Big Meadows area, and attend an evening program. We will be joined by staff from the Wildlife Center of Virginia as we celebrate our 30-year partnership with their facility and meet some of their live animals. To learn more about Kids to Parks Day, explore the National Park Trust website at www.parktrust.org. More information about The Wildlife Center of Virginia can be found at www.wildlifecenter.org.

Kids to Parks Day is a great opportunity to take advantage of the “Every Kid in a Park” initiative. Launched in September 2015, Every Kid in a Park provides the opportunity for every fourth grade student across the country to earn free admission for themselves and their family to any federal lands and waters that charge an entrance fee.  Fourth grade students can log onto the Every Kid in a Park website where they complete an interactive activity. Once completed, the students are able to print out a paper voucher that can be used for free admission to experience federal lands and waters first hand through August 2016. Instructions and trip planning resources can be found at the Every Kid in a Park website (www.everykidinapark.gov).

Both National Junior Ranger Day and Kids to Parks Day are free and open to visitors of all ages. The complete schedule for these events and other special events in the Park can be found on our website at www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/special_events.htm.


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