The State Parks of Arkansas will be joining local and national parks across America in the annual national celebration of “Kids to Parks Day” on Saturday, May 16. This will be fifth anniversary of this nationwide day of outdoor play held a week before the official start of summer vacations. Organized by the National Park Trust in cooperation with a host of local and national collaborators, it encourages families to connect kids with parks to experience the nature, environmental education, and history adventures found in the local, state, and national parks, and all other public lands.
“Kids to Parks Day” is a call for parents and grandparents to engage the children in your life in the outdoors. This is an opportunity to be nature mentors to your children or grandchildren so they can experience first-hand how inspiring the natural world can be. And you’ll be connecting them to the heart-healthy activities that can be enjoyed in parks.
The natural world is a world of wonder, and the Arkansas state park system administers over 54,000 acres that include 143 trails totaling 400 miles to explore and enjoy. The 52 state parks are a living legacy that teach and inspire generation after generation. Studies show that children who have experiences in nature are better students and make better citizens. Today’s youth will be the next generation of stewards who will protect and manage these natural and historic treasures.
KIDS TO PARKS Mississippi River State Park
The U.S. Senate recently introduced a resolution in support of Kids to Parks Day, and Governor Asa Hutchinson has proclaimed May 16th as “Kids to Parks Day” in Arkansas in coordination with the National Park Trust. In the governor’s proclamation, he calls attention to Arkansas The Natural State’s wealth of diverse national and state public lands. The governor notes that “Kids to Parks Day” will broaden children’s appreciation for our bountiful natural resources, as our parks and recreation areas provide spaces for connecting with Mother Nature and enjoying outdoor activities. He notes that all children and adults need physical exercise for their well-being, and “Kids to Parks Day” is open to people of all ages, encouraging a large and diverse group of participants to become more active.
In addition to the many recreational opportunities and self-guided activities that can be enjoyed by visitors in Arkansas’s state parks daily, state park interpreters around Arkansas will offer a wide range of special activities and programs on May 16. These range from a Woodpecker and Warbler Birding Walk at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area near Rogers to a Dutch Oven Outdoor Cooking Workshop at Cane Creek State Park near Star City, and from Games of Yesteryear at Powhatan Historic State Park in Powhatan to Family Fun Day at White Oak Lake State Park. For details about all the state park “Kids to Parks Day” special activities on May 16, visit www.ArkansasStateParks.com/
KIDS TO PARKS Pinnacle Mountain State Park
“Five years ago, the National Park Trust (NPT) launched this grassroots movement to encourage families to discover and celebrate our country’s parks and public lands and water. Families, schools, park officials, and elected officials have embraced this fun event—a national day of outdoor play—and it is fast becoming America’s unofficial kick off to summer,” said Grace Lee, executive director, National Park Trust.
The NPT launched www.KidsToParks.org, where park events are listed by state and city. The website features helpful downloadable tips and activity guides to help children, families, and teachers plan park adventures. Families can pledge to participate at the website.
When they visit an Arkansas state park on May 16, kids and parents are encouraged to tweet #ARStateParks or #KidsToParks and send in photos to Buddy@BuddyBison.org, where pictures will be shared online. Those who pledge to participate at the KidsToParks.org website will have a chance to win a grand prize, a Nikon COOLPIX L830 camera.