Kids to Parks Day May 18, 2019

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Since 2011, the National Parks Trust has coordinated Kids to Parks Day,  is a nationwide celebration of the great outdoors designed to connect kids and families with their local, state, and national parks and public lands.

By discovering and exploring our public lands, families are afforded the opportunity to learn about park stewardship, outdoor recreation, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), and the history of our country. The hope is that by teaching our kids to appreciate and enjoy our public lands, our children will become the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts, caring for the nature around them.

In preparation for Kids to Parks Day, the NPT works with cities and towns, teachers, families, park and public lands officials and and other stakeholders across the country to invite families to create their own adventures at one of the many park events and programs in their community. Kids to Parks Day is always celebrated the third Saturday of May, which this year is May 18.

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Locally, Annapolis Recreation and Parks will host Annapolis’s first local Kids  to Parks Day at various locations throughout Truxton Park. Activities will include: a wild bird intro, bike safety, fishing, stand up paddleboarding, flag football, skateboarding, crafts, boat rides and pickup basketball. The event is FREE, family-friendly and includes lunch (as supplies last.) For more details and the schedule of events, please visit

As part of Kids to Parks Day, two programs in particular offer unique opportunities to celebrate our nation’s national parks.

Kids in Parks TRACK Trails

The Kids to Parks program’s TRACK Trails connects kids and families to public lands through activity-packed, self-guided hiking brochures. Each TRACK Trail has four different brochure topics to choose from, allowing each member of the family to explore the natural or cultural resource that appeals to them. Kids that hike TRACK Trails can register their adventures through the program’s website ( and earn a series of prizes designed to make their next outdoor adventure more fun. There are more than 175 TRACK Trails nationwide, many located in Annapolis and the surrounding areas, including the C&O Canal National Historical Park, Monocacy National Battlefield Park, Catoctin Mountain Park and Antietam National Battlefield.

Junior Ranger Program

“Explore, Learn, and Protect!” The Junior Ranger motto is recited by children around the country; each taking an oath of their own to protect parks, continue to learn about parks, and share their own ranger story with friends and family. The NPS Junior Ranger program is an activity based program conducted in almost all parks. When visiting, make sure to have the kids ask about getting the Junior Ranger stamp for their national park passport.

To find either a TRACK Trails or Junior Ranger program in your area visit

If hikes that are a little more adventurous are what your family seeks, be sure to check out 5 Scramble Hikes For Adventurous Families which highlights several trails around Maryland and Virginia worth exploring.