Grand Prismatic Spring πŸŒˆ

In July, we visited the Yellowstone National Park. We had a few must-see items on our list and it included the Grand Prismatic Springs.

We had missed seeing it on previous trips to Yellowstone, but I had seen photos and could not wait to see it in person! I should disclose that I love rainbows, color, and volcanic activity, so could not wait!

We had warnings of the crowds, so we started our day early. We enjoyed a nice hike to the area and then hiked up to the overlook.

These springs look amazing! 🌈 You can really see the rainbow of colors! It’s not photoshopped or edited and looks just as beautiful as the photos (if not more so). Gotta love that bacteria giving us these colors!

This is the largest hot springs in the United States and the third largest in the world.

Hayden Expedition of 1871 leader Ferdinand Hayden said this about the Grand Prismatic, “Nothing ever conceived by human art could equal the peculiar vividness and delicacy of color of these remarkable prismatic springs. Life becomes a privilege and a blessing after one has seen and thoroughly felt these incomparable types of nature’s cunning skill.

Add this amazing and beautiful hot springs to your bucket list to see in person! 🌈😊

Dinosaur National Monument

Happy 104th anniversary to Dinosaur National Monument!

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A few years ago, we planned a vacation to Colorado and we planned on driving from California to Colorado. At the time, our son loved dinosaurs! I mean really loved them and even talked about growing up to become a paleontologist! After some discussions and checking out the routes, we decided to stop by this national monument and check it out.

We really enjoyed this national monument! Our son loved seeing real dinosaur fossils!

From the Quarry Visitor Center, we took a shuttle up to the Quarry Exhibit Hall.

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In this hall, you can see approximately 1,500 dinosaur bones! There are even some places where you can touch them!

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Our future paleontologist loved this national monument!Β IMG_4997

Beyond the dinosaurs, there is much more to do in the monument. For example, you can check out carvings in the rocks, called petroglyphs, left by the Fremont people nearly 1,000 years ago. You can also take a hike, go camping, go fishing, or watch wildlife like elk or bighorn sheep there.

Definitely check out this national monument if you’re in the Utah or Colorado area.

To celebrate this anniversary or if you can’t wait to visit there, click here and check out their Junior Ranger activity book.Β 

 

Castle Geyser

One of the highlights from our trip happened by surprise. In Yellowstone National Park, we caught Castle Geyser erupting while literally standing next to it.

Most people think about Old Faithful when they picture Yellowstone National Park. However, Yellowstone has 500 amazing geysers and some 10,000 thermal features to check out!

Castle Geyser has the largest cone geyser and may be the oldest geyser in that area.  It’s named after looking like an old castle.

While the geyser’s eruption pattern has changed over time, it now goes off about every 12-14 hours unless it has minor eruptions which throw off the pattern at times.

The water eruptions from this castle shoot hot water up to 100 feet into the air for about 20 minutes! And then it blows some hot, noisy steam for around 30-40 minutes. The entire eruption can last about an hour.

We caught this eruption one day in July while visiting there. Our family loved it! Definitely a highlight from the trip!

Enjoy some photos and a video of this really cool geyser!

Wilderness Act

On this day 55 years ago, Congress established the Wilderness Act. Congress wanted to protect undeveloped and wild areas as an enduring resource for the American people. Today, this act protects 111 million acres of wilderness.

This act created the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and immediately designated 54 areas into this system.  Some of the first wilderness areas created included Bridger Wilderness in Wyoming, Ansel Adams Wilderness in California, and Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota. Today, the National Park Service makes up about 56% of the land under NWPS with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management areas making up the rest.

Many benefits exist today from this land conservation including providing habitats for wildlife; clean air; clean drinking water; boosting local economies with tourism and recreation; and providing some really amazing places to escape and appreciate this great land here!

Go enjoy this anniversary and get out in the wilderness today!

 

103!

Check out who’s turning 103 years old! The National Park Service!

President Woodrow Wilson created the national park service (NPS) back on August 25, 1916.

The act stated that the NPS β€œis to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Pick a park to visit and celebrate this important birthday of these amazing treasures!

National Mall

Happy 229th anniversary to our National Mall.Β  The National Mall is centrally located in Washington, DC.

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The National Mall is America’s most visited national park and nicknamed “America’s front yard”.

The Mall area preserves the Washington Monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, D.C. War Memorial, World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, George Mason Memorial, Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House, the National Mall, East and West Potomac Parks, Constitution Gardens, 60 statues, and numerous other historic sites, memorials, and parklands.

I remember seeing the National Mall for the first time. I had traveled to DC for an internship after graduating college. In my free time, I walked over to check out a few sights and knew this area would be an ideal place to see some iconic memorials.

I grew up seeing the skyscrapers in Chicago. I’ve seen tall or big buildings. I’ve seen open areas and parks.

Yet, this place wowed me. I paused in my steps there. The beauty, the history, the size, the importance of it all truly awed me.

I love going back to this part of our national park system. It brings together our country in unique ways. It still awes and wows me!

According to the National Park Service, “The open spaces and parklands envisioned by Pierre L’Enfant’s plan, which was commissioned by President George Washington, created an ideal stage for national expressions of remembrance, observance, celebration, and expression of First Amendment rights.”

If you’re traveling to the DC area, definitely make some time and check out the National Mall area.

Happy 229th!

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Indiana Dunes National Park

Recently, we visited Chicago and Indiana to see family and show the kids some fun there. During this trip, we visited a national park! And we got see a newly designated one!

Indiana Dunes National Park sits along the southern shore of Lake Michigan in northwestern Indiana. This national lakeshore became a national park as of February this year.

We checked out the visitor center first and our kids become junior rangers there! As I’ve mentioned, you definitely need to check out the junior ranger activities at our national parks! Great way to get the kids involved and learn something!

At the center, we read up on the park, watched the short history film, and even bought our youngest a junior ranger vest and hat. 😍

I love learning cool facts about the park like the fact that Lake Michigan took form 11,000 years ago when the Wisconsin glacier began to melt.

We headed to the shoreline and parked by the Kemil Road Access Point. We enjoyed seeing the lake and let the two kids skip some rocks.

We had to drive over and check out the park’s most dynamic dune, Mount Baldy. Mount Baldy stands 126 feet tall. To see this powerful dune, you need to take a short, fun trail to reach the beach from the parking area. It’s a fun little hike!

If you’re in the Chicago or Indiana area, check out our 61st national park and the first national Park in Indiana.