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Sunday, April 26, 2009

National Park Service

I am currently in the preliminary planning stages of a major trip that I will be taking with the two youngest girls in the future. I have to say, Randall and I have been "planning" this trip for a while as part of the girls' schooling, but this is the first time that I've actually sat down with a pen and paper and started writing out our route. In a few short hours I have accomplished a lot of early stage planning.

I suppose it would help if I told you the general idea of this trip. We are intending a 2 month or so road trip across the States to explore our country and the important sites along the way. A big part of my planning required a trip to Google Maps to "map out" my intended route. After spending a while determining which direction I wanted to drive and what cities I wanted to visit, I started using the trip planning option at I have to say that I just love that website. I was able to plan out my route from city to city and get a rough idea of how much travel time would be required to get from point to point.

While I was mapping out my trip with the Free Trip planner, I discovered another really amazing website. The trip planner included an option to mark each national park along the route. With each park, there was a link to the National Park Service website page about that park. That in itself was pretty good for planning purposes, but what I also discovered is that many of the individual park's pages have information for teachers to use to enhance their students' learning experience.

For example, we will be visiting the Grand Canyon at some point during our trip. The NPS website page for the Grand Canyon has a great link for teachers to use. There are even lesson plans that can be downloaded to use.

The NPS has made my job so much easier as an educator because now all I have to do is create a folder for each location that we might visit along our trek and put all the necessary information and worksheets in each folder. If I keep those folders in order based on our trip itinerary, then it's easy to pull out the information I want to discuss and cover as we get to each new location. I can plan ahead for the educational aspects of the trip long before I even leave home.

I'm so excited, even though this trip is just in the early stages of planning and won't actually commence for about - oh - four years from now.

(You may wonder why I'm planning a trip that I won't be taking for four years. I should explain that this particular trip is a two month road trip across several states and involves mostly camping at National Parks along the way. I should also add that I'll be taking this trip without the company of another adult. My husband will be working for most of the trip, though we are planning for him to meet us in certain locations where we know we will want to spend an extra bit of time exploring the area. So, two small kids with one adult on a lengthy road trip takes quite a bit of planning. Plus - I'm a "planner" when it comes to these things. The planning is half the fun for me.)


The Mother said...

The NPS offers a park pass that makes travel MUCH cheaper if you are planning to hit more than two or three. Check it out.

Mom said...

I'll make note of that. If the park pass includes camping fees then that would be a huge savings for me with this particular trip since I'm planning to camp most of the trip.

Thank you so much for the information.