Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The time is always right to do what is right.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday celebrates and honors Martin Luther King, Jr. in America. Today, we take a moment to reflect back on his great life and achievements.

National Park Service sites will have free admission for everyone on Monday, January 17, 2022, as the first fee free day of the year in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.

The National Park Service offers opportunities across the country to honor this important person.

In Georgia, there is the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park. In this location, you can walk through his neighborhood of Atlanta where he had his birthplace, home, church, and burial site. 

In Alabama, there’s the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail. Here you can retrace the steps of the 1965 Voting Rights March led by Dr. King on this 45-mile long trail.

In Alabama, there is also the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument. At this national monument, you can visit places where Dr. King and his fellow activists coordinated for civil rights.

In Washington DC, there’s the Lincoln Memorial. Here you can stand where Dr. King gave his famous “I have a Dream” speech.

Also in Washington DC, you can visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. The memorial honors Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy and the struggle for freedom, equality, and justice.

Take time on this Monday to honor and celebrate this great man. Educate yourself and act.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

White House

Happy 229th anniversary to the White House!

Construction started on this iconic building back 229 years ago in Washington DC. Every President except George Washington has resided here since 1800. The White House stands about 55,000 square feet, six floors, and has 132 rooms.

A few fun facts about the White House:

• John Quincy Adams established the first flower garden.
• There are 35 bathrooms, 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases and 3 elevators in the White House.
• It would take 570 gallons of paint to cover the entire outside surface of the White House.
• A swimming pool was added to the White House in 1933 to help polio-stricken Franklin Roosevelt exercise his upper body.  In 1969, Richard Nixon had the pool filled in to create an area for press to gather. Gerald Ford had an outdoor pool built in 1975.
• President Carter had the first computer and laser printer installed in the White House in 1978.
• The White House has a bowling alley, flower shop, dentist office, and carpenter’s office located on site.

Happy 229th!

Dinosaur National Monument

What do you call a T. Rex who hates losing? A saur loser! 🙂

Happy 106th anniversary to Dinosaur National Monument!

A few years ago, we traveled from California to Colorado. We really enjoyed this national monument! From the Quarry Visitor Center, we took a shuttle up to the Quarry Exhibit Hall. In this hall, you can see approximately 1,500 dinosaur bones.

In addition to this hall, 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. 

A Map!

Check out a new map here I made of national park service units that I have visited over the years. When you hover it, you will see the name of the site and years visited. You can also click on the dot to link to the specific national park service’s website for more information on that particular park.

I can’t wait to add more dots to the map! 🙂 You can find this map on the main page of this blog under a tab at any time. Enjoy exploring!

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

A couple of weeks ago, we ventured out of town for a few days and visited Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Given this trip was plan B for our summer vacation, it turned out really great!

Sequoia and Kings Canyon sit south of Yosemite National Park in California in the southern Sierra Nevadas. Sequoia is America’s second national park created in 1890.

In Sequoia National Park, the kids opted to check out General Sherman as our first adventure in the park. General Sherman stands as the earth’s largest tree in volume of total wood. It is 275 feet tall with a circumference of 103 feet. Its trunk weighs an estimated 1,385 tons! It’s also estimated to be 2,200 years old! Every year, General Sherman grows enough new wood to produce a 60 foot tall tree of usual size.

Over in Kings Canyon National Park, we checked out General Grant.

While these parks have the amazing giant trees, these two parks also showcase other diverse parts of nature. Enjoy a few photos of other parts of these parks:

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We really enjoyed our time here! We did miss going to the visitor centers and listening to ranger talks, but the kids still learned new things and completed their junior ranger books that we printed out at home before our trip. 

While most people drive on through these two parks in one day, you can easily spend multiple days here and enjoy the variety of landscapes and trails here. I’d highly recommend checking out these two parks if you’re in the area!

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” ~ John Muir

Museum of the National Park Ranger

During our vacation in Yellowstone National Park this summer, we discovered the Museum of the National Park Ranger.

Built in 1908, the museum once served as the Norris Solider Station. It’s currently on the National Register of Historic Places. This spacious, multi-room log structure housed a detachment of U.S. Cavalry. The soldier station changed into a ranger station and underwent several room alterations before it finally became the Ranger Museum in the 1990s.

This cool museum takes you through the history and timeline of national park rangers in America. You can learn about their iconic uniforms, duties, hardships, lifestyle, and other cool facts here. They have some really great exhibits here! And you can even watch some short videos in a small auditorium in the museum (great opportunity to rest your tired legs and learn a few fun facts).

In addition, retired national park service rangers staff this museum giving visitors a great opportunity to ask questions about their past work and the national park.  Ask away as they love to chat!

If you’re in Yellowstone, take time to stop into this cool museum and check out the history here!

Enjoy some photos from inside the museum:

 

Devils Postpile National Monument

A couple of weekends ago, we headed away for the weekend to Mammoth Lakes in California.

Fall in the mountains just rocks! I love the cool, mountain, fresh air and cold temperatures once the sun goes down.

While there, we originally talked about doing a day in Yosemite. But, we decided to check out Devils Postpile National Monument instead and could not be more happy with our decision!

We started our day there enjoying a hike to Rainbow Falls. Gotta love a 101 foot high waterfall and one that reflects rainbows! 🌈

The trail intersects with the PCT and JMT which is pretty cool to see a tiny bit of those two iconic trails.

After the hike, we took a bus over to the Devils Postpile ranger station. Our kids got their junior ranger books there.

We hiked to see the Devils Postpile. Pretty cool to see the lava formations in the mountain and know how many years ago it all happened. It reminds you of the magnitude of earth and time here compared to us little humans.

Established as a national monument in 1911, this is really cool to see in person!

Our daughter’s little stuffed friend joined us in the national monument as well!

While lesser known than the nearby Yosemite National Park, Devils Postpile National Monument is definitely worth a visit!

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! 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.