Discover Your Parks and Forests
Great news: The weather is cooling off finally. Not so great news? School is back in session and we now can’t travel except on the weekends. What’s a family to do?
For us, we are going to spend as much time outside as possible. I love the changing of the season and the beautiful colors. This fall, make it the fall spent discovering the great outdoors again!
Have you seen the commercials or heard about the Discover the Forest program? This is an amazing and free resource from the US Parks and Forest Department that help you find ideas and information about what you can do in the parks and forests near your area; whether you are at home or going someplace new!
We like to get out and spend time together, but often this involves admission fees or other expenses that can really add up on your short trips. By using the Discover the Forest site, we have been enjoying the flowers, changing leaves and chasing each other on the trails at our local parks. What a great way to spend time together while staying close to home. Of course, we will make sure to use this tool when traveling later this year. We have already looked up locations near our travel locations in Florida and Michigan for 2015.
It’s really simple to use..
To locate a park near you:
Enter your zip code (or the zip code of where you will be traveling)
Select how many miles you are willing to travel
Pick activities your family is interested in doing
Choose the type of site you’d like to visit:
State Forest or Park
Park or Playground
Other Natural Area
Museum & Educational
Then… click on “Map My Results”
The site will present you with a map showing all the parks/forests/outdoor areas with the activities you clicked indicating you had an interest in doing. That is so cool!
Now you can click on a place to get more information on activities such as times, directions, ticket prices, etc.
Here is what is available in my area. Pretty impressive isn’t it? I entered my zip code and selected the activities that my crew would enjoy. Then the map popped up with a ton of places to visit!
For our first outing, I selected one of the local parks. They have a wonderful selection of things for us to go do and see as a family.
Big Bone Lick State Park has its origins steeped in prehistoric events. Imagine ancient giant mammoths, mastodons, ground sloths, and bison roaming through mineral springs and swamps that are now grassy plains covered with trees and shrubs.
This is certainly a wonderful tool to use, but there’s so much more to check out.
They have a neat “Before You Go” section that covers topics like what to pack, how much activities cost, and how to respect the forest/nature as you have a good time.
“What to Do” has a bunch of activities, even online games that deal with nature and the forest. It even has a place to learn how to use a compass and how to create leaf rubbings.
The “More to Explore” section lists several national organizations and educational resources. This is great information to use in the classroom or at home.
I am excited to get outside and enjoy the cooler temperatures while learning more about the area we live in. Our fall plans are to visit as many spots as we can before the weather is too cold to enjoy being outside.
What about you.. Go discover what’s near you, whether you’re with your kids, your parents or just want to see the great outdoors on your own!
And when planning your next vacation, make sure you check out the site and use the local attractions to fill in spots on your schedule or to find exciting new places to visit.
Find somewhere close to you that you never knew about? Let us know in the comment section!
Sherryl Wilson @ SimplySherryl