National park events, often free, are an entertaining and educational part of many RVers life and travels. Here are some activities and special happenings taking place April.
"Saga of the Acadians"
(Louisiana) -- George Rodrigue pays tribute to his Cajun heritage in a special exhibition of paintings at the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Internationally known for his "Blue Dog" series, Rodrigue, with "Saga of the Acadians," tells the story of the Acadians from their exile from Nova Scotia to their settlement in Louisiana. The exhibition runs through April 24 and is free. For more information, please contact Elizabeth Dupree at 504-589-3882.
(Pennsylvania) -- Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site celebrates National Poetry Month by hosting Doppelganger Poes on April 10, 2010, at 10 a.m. See what happens when a group of scholars accidentally summons two conflicting versions of Poe. Poe feels compelled to perform his best works while vying with himself for literary honors. This event will be held at the German Society of Philadelphia, located at 611 Spring Garden Street, across the street from Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site. For more information, please contact Jane Cowley at 215-597-0060.
Anniversaries at Independence
(Pennsylvania) -- Independence National Historical Park is celebrating three anniversaries during April. Celebrate Thomas Jefferson's 267th birthday by joining a park ranger at the Second Bank Portrait Gallery for a gallery tour on April 10 and 11 at 2:15 p.m. On April 15 at 2:15 p.m., join a park ranger at the Second Bank Portrait Gallery to celebrate the life and artistry of Charles Willson Peale on his birthday. Commemorate the life and contributions of one of our most compelling Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, who died April 17, 1790. Join a park ranger on April 17 and 18 at 2 p.m. for the Franklin's Legacy Walking Tour. The tour begins at the Underground Museum entrance. For more information, please contact Jane Cowley at 215-597-0060.
22nd Annual Potomac Watershed Cleanup
(Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia) -- The National Park Service teams with the Alice Ferguson Foundation in the annual Potomac Watershed Cleanup, held on Saturday, April 10 from 9 a.m. to noon. Since 1989, over 50,000 volunteers have joined 375 partner organizations to tug over three million tons of trash from the watershed's streams, rivers, and bays. The 2009 haul included over 290 tons of trash, with more than 27 tons of recyclables; 41,122 plastic bags; 2,095 tires; 17 bicycles; 16 shopping carts; 9 metal and plastic barrels; five TVs; and five refrigerators. Service projects, interpretive programs, and cleanups will take place in a number of parks in Greater Washington. People interested in volunteering should contact a park ranger at one of the participating parks. For more information, please contact Toni Braxton at 202-619-7174.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
(Washington, D.C.) -- Come out Saturday, April 10 from 10 a.m. to noon for a spectacular event for adults and children of all ages. Cherry Blossom queens from the United States and Japan will add royalty to the procession, which will include clowns, horses, antique cars, and mascots. This event, produced by the National Park Service and the National Cherry Blossom Festival, is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required, but grandstand seats will be available. Standing room along the parade route (Constitution Avenue between 9th and 15th streets, N.W.) is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Toni Braxton at 202-619-7174.
50th Annual Sakura Matsuri (Japanese Street Festival)
(Washington, D.C.) -- It's fun, free, and family-friendly! There's something for everyone. The Cherry Blossom Festival closes with the Sakura Matsuri, a large street festival featuring Japanese food; music; Sumo wrestling demonstrations; the making of silk; and the chance to learn about traditional kimono garments. The Sakura Matsuri is the largest Japanese street festival in the United States. Come out from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 10. Held on Pennsylvania Avenue between 10th and 14th streets, N.W. For more information, please contact Toni Braxton at 202-619-7174.
The Best Family Fun Fest EVER Crowns 10 Years of Event at Biscayne
(Florida) -- Biscayne National Park's Family Fun Fest began as a way to keep local audiences coming back to the park. The first event, run by two rangers and three volunteers, drew about 50 people. Family Fun Fest has grown to an event that draws nearly 1,000 each year and is staffed by over 20 volunteers, many of whom are former Family Fun Fest participants. Family Fun Fest takes place on the second Sunday of every month from December through April. The 50th Family Fun Fest (Sunday, April 11, 2010) will feature some of the best activities from the past 10 years, nominated and chosen by participants; hence the title of the event, The Best Family Fun Fest EVER! The event is free and takes place at the Dante Fascell Visitor Center from 1 to 4 p.m. Stations located around the visitor center will provide a variety of interactive learning opportunities, including Food Factor (2006), a look at the stomach-turning—well, human-stomach-turning—diets of some animals; Paddle Puzzle (2008), an activity that uses canoes to track down clues to answer a question about mangroves; Meet the Beetles! (2009), an introduction to dung beetles; and Breaking News! (2005), a crazy newscast that teaches viewers what NOT to do when a hurricane's coming. For more information, please contact Gary Bremen at 305-230-1144 ext. 007.
Happy Birthday, Mr. President!
(Washington, D.C.) -- Well, happy birthday Mr. Former President. A military color guard will observe Thomas Jefferson's 267th birthday at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 13 at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Patriotic wreath tributes followed by the sounding of Taps will conclude the program. For more information, please call 202-619-7222.
Ford's Theatre National Historic Site
(Washington, D.C.) -- At 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14, James Swanson, author of Manhunt, will read and will lead a discussion about the events that took place at the Petersen Boarding House, across the street from Ford's Theatre, after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln died in the Petersen House. The events discussed will be part of Mr. Swanson's upcoming novel. For more information, please contact Kym Elder at 202-426-6924.
The British in Valley Forge
(Pennsylvania) -- The Friends of Valley Forge Speaker Series at the Chapel will host researcher Tom McGuire on Thursday, April 15, 2010, at 7 p.m. in the Bishop White Library of the Washington Memorial Chapel on Rt. 23 in Valley Forge National Historical Park. Mr. McGuire will present A Rare Story: The British Occupation of Valley Forge September 18-23, 1777. This talk focuses on the little-known British occupation of the Valley Forge area in September 1777. Using watercolors and a journal from a young British officer unearthed during a research trip to England, McGuire will discuss the action-filled events that occurred just after the Battle of Brandywine and before the Battle of Germantown. For more information, please contact Nancy Loane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reflections of the 60s at LBJ Ranch
(Texas) -- Come and remember the 1960s at the historic LBJ Ranch. On April 16, starting at 9 a.m., authors, educators, and period experts will gather in Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park for lectures and book signings focusing on LBJ's legacy and the significance of the 1960s. Visitors will gather near the Texas White House to hear speakers on topics such as civil rights, Vietnam, and the impact of President Lyndon B. Johnson on the 1960s and the world. Speakers include Tom Striegler, a U.S. Army artillery officer in Vietnam from 1966 to 1968; Allen Clark, Vietnam veteran and author of Wounded Soldier, Healing Warrior;and Wilhelmina Delco, the first African American Texas State Representative for District Fifty. Books will be available through Western National Parks Association at the signing. The event will include 1960s cars and music and will continue into the evening with an outdoor screening of Forrest Gump under the stars. For more information, please contact Sherry Justus at 830-868-7128 ext. 245.
Revolutionary Times Weekend in Greater Morristown Area
(New Jersey) -- On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, April 16 to 18, 2010, various historic and cultural sites in the greater Morristown vicinity will present a weekend of programs related to the American Revolution. The schedule includes a military encampment at Jockey Hollow, a naturalization ceremony at Washington's Headquarters Museum, the arrival of General Washington on the Morristown Green, an Alexander Hamilton symposium, and activities for children. For more information, please contact Randy Turner at 973-539-2016 ext. 200.
First Annual Santa Monica Mountains Science Festival
(California) -- On April 16 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and April 17 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the National Park Service will host a night and a day of family fun at Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is holding its first annual science festival. Experiment with radio-telemetry and learn how to track mountain lions and bobcats; visit the black light station and discover which bugs come out at night; take a hike through rolling hills and identify wildflowers. The event website is http://www.nps.gov/samo/sciencefestival.htm. For more information, please contact Lauren Newman at 805-370-2343 or email@example.com.
National Park Week
(Nationwide) -- All 392 national parks will have free admission during National Park Week, April 17 to 25. Also during this annual celebration, parks will feature family-friendly activities and special offers on tours, lodging, food, and souvenirs. For example, Mammoth Cave National Park will offer free Mammoth Passage cave tours throughout the week. The tours follow a route along Houchins Narrows, the Rotunda, the nitre mining artifacts, Audubon Avenue, and Rafinesque Hall—some of the mammoth passages for which the cave was named. Also at Mammoth Cave, April 17 is designated as Wildflower Day. Please see www.nps.gov/maca/planyourvisit/maca_events.htm for a full listing of scheduled activities, such as nature walks, birding hikes, a family scavenger hunt, an art workshop, and other ranger programs. Mammoth Cave Hotel will offer a 10 percent discount on all regularly priced gift shop merchandise during National Park Week. * At Minute Man National Historical Park, National Park Week culminates with Junior Ranger Day and Battle Road Heroes on Saturday, April 24. * Starting at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 18, 2010, a five-mile run, a three-mile walk, and a one-mile youth fun run begin the celebration of National Park Week at Valley Forge National Historical Park. A listing of parks and National Park Week promotions is available at www.nps.gov/npweek. For more information, please contact Elise Cleva at 202-208-6843 or Elise_M_Cleva@nps.gov.
Operation Clean Sweep! Volunteer Day
(Virginia) -- Q: How do you clean 150 historic cabins in one day? A: With a whole lot of help. Come out to Prince William Forest Park on April 17 from 9 a.m. to noon. Join park staff and fellow volunteers in an attempt to clean all 150 of the park's historic cabins in one day to get them open for the summer season. Dress to be messed. The park will provide all safety equipment (gloves, dust masks, etc.). For more information, please contact Jenn Kays at 703-221-7181 or Jenn_kays@nps.gov.
Patriot's Day at Minute Man National Historical Park
(Massachusetts) -- Each year in mid-April, thousands of people flock to historic Lexington and Concord and Minute Man National Historical Park to celebrate Patriot's Day. Patriot's Day is a special Massachusetts state holiday commemorating the opening battle of the American Revolutionary War on April 19, 1775. The holiday (officially observed on Monday, April 19) and the entire weekend is celebrated with parades, reenactments, and commemorative ceremonies. The Battle Road event, with hundreds of Colonial militiamen and Minute Men and British Redcoats, is on Saturday, April 17 and forms the biggest day of commemorations within Minute Man National Historical Park. For more information, please contact Lou Sideris at 978-318-7833 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wildflower Walk at the Natchez Trace Parkway
(Mississippi) -- Join a park ranger on Sunday, April 18 at 2 p.m. at the Chickasaw Village Site (milepost 261.8 on the Natchez Trace Parkway near Tupelo, Mississippi) for a wildflower walk. This one-hour program will take participants through both prairie and forest ecosystems and will include wildflower identification and ecology. This program is free to the public. For more information, please contact Amy Genke at 662-680-4053 or email@example.com.
Reenactment of Paul Revere's Row
(Massachusetts) -- Boston National Historical Park will sponsor a dramatic recreation of Paul Revere's historic row across Boston Harbor to Charlestown, where he began his famous midnight ride 235 years ago. The event will coincide with the annual Old North Church lantern service festivities on Sunday, April 18, 2010, and take place during National Park Week. Join the family-friendly festivities at the Charlestown Navy Yard Visitor Center in Building 5 of the Charlestown Navy Yard. The event begins at 7 p.m. with original dramatic performances and fife and drum music provided by costumed players. There will also be a lively reading of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Paul Revere's Ride," written 150 years ago. The event is free, open to the public, and handicapped accessible. For more information, please contact Sean Hennessey at 617-242-5616.
50 States, 50 Parks
(Arizona) -- Come to the Rincon Mountain District of Saguaro National Park at 7 p.m. on April 22. In celebration of National Park Week, we'll take you on a whirlwind journey through all 50 states to visit a unit of the National Park System in each—except one. Join Park Guide Jeff Wallner to learn which state doesn't have a park system area (yet) and to explore both world-famous and lesser-known sites all around the United States. For more information, please contact Melanie Florez at 520-733-5151.
Commemoration of the 1797 British Attack
(Puerto Rico) -- San Juan National Historic Site will host the second annual commemoration of the 1797 British attack—the British Empire's third and final attack on San Juan, launched on April 17, 1797. More than 7,000 troops were repelled by a meager force composed of Spanish soldiers, members of the Puerto Rican Fixed Regiment, local militiamen, and citizens. The commemoration will take place from April 23 to 25, 2010, in and on the grounds of Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristóbal. Living history volunteers dressed as members of 18th-century Spanish, French, and German military units, along with local volunteers from Puerto Rico and San Juan NHS will participate. Activities will include military drills, firing demonstrations, and educational programs. An 18th-century military encampment will be featured. For more information, please contact Dilcia González at 787-729-677 ext. 239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paws in the Park
(Virginia) -- Celebrate responsible dog ownership in the great outdoors with Paws in the Park at Prince William Forest Park on April 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dog exhibitors of all types, military and working dog demonstrations, and a 'faux' dog show will bring together dog lovers and nature lovers. For more information, please call 703-221-7181 or e-mail Stephanie Pooler at Stephanie_Pooler@nps.gov.
Spring Planting Festival
(Tennessee) -- The Spring Planting Festival (April 24, 9 to 4 EDT) at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in Oneida celebrates spring and provides an opportunity to see a bit of our ancestors' way of living. Demonstrations will be provided of old-time skills, including quilting, flint knapping, woodcarving, chair caning, soap making, basket weaving, hand spinning (of yarn), chicken scratch embroidery, blacksmithing, plowing with mule and horse teams, planting sorghum seed, and making fence palings. Displays allow visitors to learn about herbs and their uses and antique tractors and farm equipment. Historic photographs of people who once lived in Big South Fork will be shown. For more information, please contact Howard Duncan at 423-569-2404 ext. 260.
National Junior Ranger Day
(Nationwide) -- The National Park Service runs its Junior Ranger program for young visitors. National Junior Ranger Day is Saturday, April 24. Contact a park of interest to you to find out what it has planned for the day. A sample of planned activities follows. * Kids can dig in the dirt at Yosemite National Park as "Habitat Protectors of Yosemite" from 2 to 4 p.m. * In Acadia National Park from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., hands-on activities will guide exploration of animals, plants, and history for children age 12 and under as they discover how to protect the park. * Catoctin Mountain Park in Thurmont, Maryland, will hold a demonstration of fly casting from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children ages six to 11 are invited to join a ranger at the park's visitor center for an introduction to fly-fishing. * In Saguaro National Park's Rincon Mountain District, kids can earn a Saguaro Junior Ranger badge and special patches in recognition of National Junior Ranger Day when they learn about the challenge of the Earth's changing climate in national parks. Participants will watch films, play games, and join in other activities. * If you would like to be put in touch with someone who can provide information about the activities above or if you would like more information about National Junior Ranger Day around the country or in a particular park, please contact Elise Cleva at 202-208-6843 or Elise_M_Cleva@nps.gov.
Yosemite Fire Symposium on April 27-28 (California) -- Yosemite National Park's third biennial Fire Science Symposium will pass the results of recent research on to park staff, land managers throughout the Sierra Nevada, and interested stakeholders. The symposium takes as its theme adaptive management—understanding that strategies can change to include better fire information. Space is limited for this free event at the Ahwahnee in Yosemite Valley. To register, please send your name and organization affiliation to email@example.com or call 209-379-1422. Please see http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm. For more information, please contact Scott Gediman at 209-372-0200 and Niki Nicholas at 209-372-0472.
Celebrate Wildlife at Grand Canyon National Park on May 1
(Arizona) -- Join Grand Canyon rangers and wildlife biologists for a fun and educational celebration of the park's wildlife. Special programs, interactive exhibits, educational demonstrations, and live animals from the Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center of Phoenix, Arizona, will be highlights of this day-long event. This year's special evening program will be "Condor Recovery at Grand Canyon," presented by Chris Parish of the Peregrine Fund. For more information, please contact Shannan Marcak at 928-638-7958 or visit http://www.nps.gov/grca/naturescience/wildlife-day.htm.
Manzanar NHS Recruiting Youth Conservation Corps Members
(California) -- Manzanar National Historic Site will sponsor an eight-week Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program this summer. The YCC team will work at Manzanar National Historic Site under the supervision of National Park Service staff. The four-person YCC team will focus on the preservation of resources associated with the Native American occupation of the site, the Manzanar orchard community, and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. In addition, the crew will have opportunities to visit other historically significant areas in the Owens Valley and will gain a more complete understanding of the history of the valley. Youths ages 15 to 18 are encouraged to apply, provided that they do not reach their 19th birthdays before August 13, 2010. Application forms are available at Manzanar National Historic Site Interpretive Center. The completed application must be postmarked no later than May 3, 2010. For more information, please contact Anne Ashe at 760-878-2194 ext. 2702.
Fish Removal to Help Sierra Nevada Yellow-Legged Frog
(California) -- Scientists removed fish from nine alpine lakes in Yosemite National Park in summer 2009 to assist the declining Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog (Rana sierrae). Because of the frog's 95% population decline, it is listed as a candidate species under the federal Endangered Species Act. The experimental project begun last year aims to restore habitat by removing non-native fish from a handful of remote sites. Fish removal has focused on lakes in four areas. Only two are thought still to contain fish and will be the focus of a 2010 field effort. Please see http://www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/frog.htm. For more information, please contact Scott Gediman at 209-372-0200 and Niki Nicholas at 209-372-0472.
New Website from Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area (New York) -- The Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area has launched an interactive website. The website includes the exciting new partnership with National Geographic, The Hudson: The River that Defined America, and features interactive maps, image galleries, videos and educational resources, and a renewed guide to sites throughout the Hudson River Valley. Please visit the website at www.hudsonrivervalley.com.