Did you know that the National Park Service turns 100 this August? That means multiple generations of exploration and learning about nature and history!
Although the National Park Service commemorates some of the oldest, most beautiful areas of nature and history in the United States, it is also not afraid to embrace modern technology. In fact, recently, the National Park Service has been using technology to take us deeper into nature than ever before. We love seeing technology as a tool to learn, access and explore without limits! Here are a few of our favorite opportunities:
Rangers Are Now Using iPads As Interpretive Tools
Here at PopUp Play, we believe that tablets can be awesome tools for building, creating and learning. And apparently, National Park Services are on the same page.
Elizabeth Rogers, a ranger at Fire Island National Seashore in New York, believes that iPads can be a valuable tool in helping to give park visitors a fuller experience. She incorporates an iPad into just about any activity she can think of, using it as a field guide resource, camera and easy way to connect with the park’s social media platforms instantly.
Rangers have even noticed the ease with which young visitors adapt to park technology using the iPads. We’ve spoken before about how easily our kids can interpret and use technology. Why not use that familiarity as a learning opportunity?
Watch The Live Alaskan Bear Cam
Yup, the National Park Service has given the people what they want by jumping on the live animal stream bandwagon. By visiting this site, you can see live footage of Alaskan Bears in their natural habitat at Katmai National Park & Preserve any time of day. Multiple cameras are set up around the park to give you full coverage.
This use of technology transports us into a scene very few would ever have the opportunity to witness, and boy are we thankful for getting to see adorable cubs up close and personal! If you want to learn more about Katmai’s bears, be sure to download this eBook to keep you informed on their activity and patterns.
Watch Live Webcasts Of Missile Launch Centers
Depending on the time of year, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site offers live webcasts of the launch-control center at Delta-01. Made famous for being the front-line during the Cold War, the Minuteman Missile Site presents plenty of learning opportunities for children, whether near or far! Children can learn about the history of the site and some of the specific engineering and science that goes into the launching of a missile. For more information on opportunities, visit the Park Service website.
Streetview Parks From Your Computer
To celebrate their hundredth birthday, the National Park Service teamed up with Google to enable live walkthroughs of National Parks, in just the same way you can live-view an urban street.
With just a click of a mouse, you can explore National Park locations across America and learn about exhibits, featured artifacts, view 360° views and watch informative videos. Of course, nothing can beat the actual experience of viewing America’s beauty with your own two eyes, but this comes pretty darn close.
Take A Virtual Field Trip Through Yellowstone
Don’t have time to make a trip out to Yellowstone National Park this summer? No worries, you and your child can learn all about Old Faithful Geyser, bison and more through the National Park Service’s online “Windows Into Wonderland” field trip. Between interactive comics geared toward kids and plenty of fun facts about the history and preservation of the park, your child can be a Yellowstone expert in no time!
Take A Self-Guided Cell Phone Tour
For those lucky enough to make their way out to a National Park anytime soon, be sure to check out the possibility of a tour around the park from your cellphone. As long as you have cell phone coverage, you can hear everything from an explanation of the park’s history from a park ranger to the geological makeup of the local flora to the stars visible in the night sky. Check your local park’s website to see if cell phone tours are offered.
Be sure to visit your closest National Park between August 25-28 for free admission and to celebrate the centennial anniversary!