Nature 101: HBD, NPS!
For 101 years, the National Park Service has been entrusted with the care of our national parks – six of which are located right here in Missouri. In honor of NPS’ 101st birthday on August 25, 2017, here are some of our favorite ways to explore nature. Be sure to check out all 101 ideas over on the NPS blog!
Photo courtesy of National Park Service, by Richard Spener.
- Find Your Park. For us St. Louisans, this one is easy: Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, a.k.a. the Gateway Arch & Old Courthouse, or Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site! Other national parks in Missouri include Ozark National Scenic Riverways (Van Buren), Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield (Republic), George Washington Carver National Monument (Diamond), and Harry S Truman National Historic Site (Independence). In all, there are over 400 national park units to choose from.
- Sleep under the stars at one of 130 campgrounds in national park units.
- Earn a badge in one of the Junior Ranger programs. Earn the special Junior Ranger Night Explorer Patch at the Junior Ranger Workshop at the Gateway Arch Visitor Center on September 3.
- Lay down and watch the clouds roll by.
- Go paddleboarding on a lake. Check out SUP St. Louis for SUP lessons and rentals, SUP yoga, SUP fitness, and more. Rentals are also available at the Post-Dispatch Lake in Forest Park and at Creve Coeur Lake.
- Go on a nature photo scavenger hunt.
- Take a deep breath in nature (ahh, fresh air!).
- Bee pollinator friendly, plant a pollinator garden.
- Go hiking.
- Participate in NPS Fee Free Days. Each year the National Parks offer days in which they waive the entrance fee for each park. At the Gateway Arch, the $3 entrance fee is in included in each adult Journey to the Top & Arch Entry-Only ticket. On the “Fee Free” days (dates through 2017 include Aug. 25 for the NPS Birthday, Sept. 30 for National Public Lands Day, and Nov. 11-12 for Veterans Day weekend), that $3 will be waived, reducing the Journey to the Top price to $10/adult.
- Join in on the Missouri National Parks Passport Challenge fun. To commemorate the founding of the National Park Service, Missouri’s national parks are hosting the Passport Challenge – a great way to experience the wealth of educational, cultural and recreational opportunities these local treasures have to offer. You have until December 31, 2017 to enter – time to get goin’ if you haven’t already!