Wondering what is in store for the National Parks this summer? The Vacation Mavens chat with John Tillison, a former park ranger and publisher of the Park Ranger John website, to get his take on planning a visit to the National Parks in 2020 and what to expect. Plus we talk about virtual Junior Ranger programs that you can do at home.
ON THE PODCAST
00:30 – Sponsors – COMRAD Socks and Moon Travel Guides
00:56 – Talking with Kim and Tamara about summer plans
03:40 – Talking with John Tillison
04:30 – What is happening with National Parks right now
06:30 – What to expect this summer
11:55 – Junior Ranger Program
19:30 – Virtual Tours
23:05 – Parks to visit
29:55 – Where John wants to go first
30:35 – John’s Favorite Travel Gear
33:20 – Coming up next
ABOUT MOON TRAVEL GUIDES
This episode is sponsored by Moon Travel Guides.
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ABOUT COMRAD SOCKS
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ABOUT JOHN TILLISON
John was a Law Enforcement Park Ranger for 20 years before starting Park Ranger John. The goal of Park Ranger John is to share the things I learned while working and living in parks. I want our readers to have the best experiences possible in the parks they visit.
TIPS FOR VISITING NATIONAL PARKS
- As the National parks start to open you may see different rules and regulations for each park depending on the crowds that they are getting. Some parks may only be available for scheduled visits rather than just showing up.
- Crowd control has always been a top priority for National Parks and you will see that this is still a fact as the parks are slowly re-opening. Make sure that you are contacting the right people to find out what each park is offering as they start to open up again, whether it is a visitors center or the local Park Rangers. Facebook and Twitter have been a really up to date source of information for what is going on for each of the parks.
- The Junior Ranger Programs are a really great source of learning for a bunch of different age groups. The way the program works is that you would find a ranger at a visitors center or contact station and ask about the program. They will give you a booklet and throughout the day you will go through the visitors center and learn some of the history of the park. Then you will go out into the park and do some activities. Once you do the worksheets in the booklet you will take it into the ranger and take a pledge and receive a Junior Ranger Badge. This is not something that you can do in five minutes. You will need to make sure that you are getting the booklet as soon as you get there if this is something that you want to do for your visit.
- You can also earn a Junior Ranger Badge virtually. Different parks are offering some other virtual learning tools right now that kids can take advantage of. Just visit John’s site for information on the Junior Ranger Programs so that you can learn at home.
- You can look up National Park webcams and just look around at different parks at home.
- The average National Park visits is about 3 – 4 hours, usually between the hours of 9am and 4pm. So if you want to visit at a less busy time you should keep that in mind when planning your visit. The first couple weeks of June or the very end of August also tend to be less crowded due to school openings and closings. Unfortunately that won’t necessarily be the case for this year!
FAVORITE TRAVEL GEAR
John loves his Zamberlan boots because if his feet aren’t happy he is not happy! He also likes to wear layers because it is easy to dress up or down, and clothes that dry quickly.
MENTIONED ON THE PODCAST
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