HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
June 4, 2007, Herald Journal

A great trip-planning web site

By JENNIFER GALLUS

I wanted to share a great web site that can assist nature-loving travelers this summer.

When planning a road trip, you’ll want to check out www.nps.gov. You will find all the information you need about visiting national parks, national recreation areas, national historic trails, national monuments, historic sites, and parkways.

I’m a patient person, but not when it comes to surfing the web. I usually feel like it’s a big waste of time.

This web site promptly brings you relevant information and is easy to navigate.

A map of the US is on the home page and with the click of the mouse, you can bring up comprehensive information for any national park or recreation area of choice.

Not only will the site offer information like directions, hours, seasons, fees, and reservations, the site will link you to hundreds of related subjects such as things to do when you’re at that particular place, things to know before you get there, science articles written about research done at that place, and much more.

Kids ages five to 12 who will visit a national park can sign up to become a Junior Ranger.

Each park offers a Junior Ranger program with the goal of introducing children to the natural wonders of the park.

The cost is $3 and the child completes an age-appropriate 12-page activity paper to complete the program and is then awarded an official Junior Ranger patch specific to that park.

This is something I haven’t started with my boys, but we will definitely be participating in this program this summer. I may have just as much fun with it as the kids!

For kids of any age not planning to visit a national park, they can become Web Rangers.

They can choose a Ranger Station, solve mysteries, find activities, play games, solve puzzles, receive awards, and much more.

I think the web program would be a great activity for kids over the long summer, and would be a better alternative to keep them busy on rainy days than video games.

Also, it would be a perfect activity for children in the winter when we’re all looking for fun things to do.

Hopefully, this web site will add to your upcoming road trip.

Kid-isms

After fishing with the family last weekend, I laid down on the grass for a while. I can’t really say that I fished too much because the kids kept me busy putting bait on their hooks continually.

My 7-year-old told his friend as I laid on the grass, “She needs to rest because she has a full-time job – as bait girl.”