These 12 Free Outdoor Events Are Especially for Military Kids

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National Parks are both America’s backyard and our birthright. Preserving some of the most beautiful, historic, and wonder-filled places in our nation, the National Park System ensures that all people can enjoy the great outdoors together.

The Department of the Interior estimates that every American lives within two hours of at least one federally operated park. That’s a pretty amazing statistic considering how gigantic our country is! And the fantastic part for military families? Checking out these places is all free thanks to Blue Star Parks. (You can learn more about that here.)

While families of all stripes can enjoy a variety of activities for adults and children in National Parks any day of the year, on May 19, 2018, there’s even more fun and excitement for kids as Kids to Parks Day takes place.

Kids to Parks Day is an annual event that celebrates parks and kids through extra-special activities and opportunities for children and their families.

This year, Blue Star Families has partnered with the National Parks Trust to offer events in for military kids parks that are close to military installations.  Here are 12 of those events:

Cruise the Anacostia River

Kids to Parks Day at Anacostia Park includes a boat trip, river trail walk, Buffalo Solider presentation, and a tour of the Aquatic Resource Education Center. You can register here.

Stargaze on the Emerald Coast

If you have some budding astronomers in your family, you’ll want to set aside the evening of May 19 for some stargazing on Florida’s Emerald Coast, thanks to the Escambia County Astronomers Association. Learn more here.

Check out the Rio Grande

A naturalist will offer a hands-on lesson about the Rio Grande Valley. A walking tour will also be offered. Blue Star Families’ Books on Bases program will offer free books to military kids and children will go home with the National Park Trust’s Buddy Bison mascot. You can learn more here.

Go on a scavenger hunt in San Diego

There’s something for everyone at Damato Park in San Diego on May 19th. From a scavenger hunt for kids to a resource fair during and after the event to an outdoor movie, there’s tons to do on Saturday evening! Register here.

Splash in the Carlsbad Lagoon

The beach is your oyster on May 19. There will be a ton of water and beach activities available. (And don’t forget, a hot dog lunch will be provided too.) Register for Kids to Parks Day activity here.

Enjoy the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

Stargazing Adventures of Jacksonville’s members are bringing telescopes and leading a hands-on lesson about our heavenly bodies. Bring a blanket and some chairs for an evening of fun and peaceful reflection. You can register for this event here.

Go canoeing at Key Bridge Boat House

Blue Star Families is covering your canoe rental and snacks for this fun day in DC. Enjoy outdoor adventure in the heart of our nation’s capitol. Make sure you register soon!

Become a Junior Ranger at Denali National Park

Military kids and their families will explore the Murie Science and Learning Center, eat a complimentary lunch, and become Junior Rangers at Denali National Park. Kids will also receive a swag bag filled with fun things, including a Buddy Bison and books from BSF’s Books on Bases program. RSVP for this program now.

Hang out in San Antonio

Go fly a kite! (No, really!) Spend your afternoon with other military families as you enjoy San Antonio’s beautiful weather. Learn more about this program here.

Fly a kite in D.C.

Girl Scout Troop 1697 will help assemble kites and teach younger children to fly them. Grab a snack and a bottle of water and enjoy a relaxing day with your family. Learn more here.

Hike Kenai Fjords National Park

Eat a complimentary lunch with other military families, then take an exclusive hike with Kenai Fjords National Park rangers who will teach children about safety. The hiking adventure will have families take in Exit Glacier before returning back to pavilion where children will receive a bag of goodies including Buddy Bison and books from BSF’s Books on Bases program. Register now.

Explore NYC’s parks

Military families will get a chance to explore Tribeca GreenMarket and taste foods from family farms thanks to Heroic Food and GrowNYC. They’ll also check out the USCGC Lilac, America’s only surviving steam-powered lighthouse tender. Finally, families will go home with a Buddy Bison and a plant pot kit, too. (This event will take place May 26.) Be part of the event.

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Joanna Guldin

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