The National Park Service has jumped on the “go digital” bandwagon to celebrate National Park Week, April 18-26. Families sequestered at home can explore national parks through online activities including virtual tours, scavenger hunts, trivia contests and junior ranger programs.
Most national park facilities and events have been closed or canceled by the coronavirus outbreak, though outdoor spaces in some parks remain accessible to the public. Before visiting, always check with individual parks to learn about changes to park operations.
“Although much has changed in recent weeks, an assortment of fun and engaging digital National Park Week events can help people connect to our shared heritage and natural landscapes,” said David Vela, National Park Service Deputy Director, in a statement.
The Find Your Virtual Park page on NPS.gov features games, videos, webcams and kid-friendly activities. The National Park Foundation offers a series of virtual escapes as well as suggestions for home-based park experiences.
To preview the digital celebration, the National Park Service (@NatlParkService) and National Park Foundation (@GoParks) will host a Twitter chat on Thursday, April 16 at 10 a.m. Arizona time. All are welcome to join the conversation and share favorite memories, tips and stories about national parks using the hashtags #FindYourPark and #NationalParkWeek. From April 16 through 26, a special limited-time park ranger emoji will appear with the use of these hashtags, in addition to #FindYourVirtualPark and #EncuentraTuParque on Twitter.
Even as a digital experience, “national parks can provide a source of comfort and strength,” said National Park Foundation President and CEO Will Shafroth.
Each day of National Park Week will highlight a specific theme:
- Saturday, April 18: Junior Ranger Day
- Sunday, April 19: Volunteer Day
- Monday, April 20: Military Monday
- Tuesday, April 21: Transportation Tuesday
- Wednesday, April 22: Earth Day
- Thursday, April 23: Throwback Thursday
- Friday, April 24: Friendship Friday
- Saturday, April 25: Park Rx Day
- Sunday, April 26: Bark Ranger Day
RELATED ARTICLES (because some day it will be possible!):