It’s time to gear up for some (virtual) hikes and exploration of some of the National Parks we wanted to see this summer! There is a mix of media for tours from interactive Google experiences to live cams to static cams. It isn’t the same as being there physically, but there are opportunities for “one-on-one” learning that may not happen in the park.
Before we set off to explore in each park, we read up on each park in our National Parks Guide by National Geographic Kids. We took turns reading about each park we are about to “explore,” just like we would before traveling there.
Volcano National Park in Hawaii
Google Arts and Culture to the rescue again with this amazing tour of Hawaii’s lava tube and Volcano park. It is interactive. Each section has audio, and you click to explore more of the park. There are videos of the 1959 eruption, a flyover of the active flow and sounds of the volcano. This is not to miss. The whole experience takes about 10 minutes.
Yellowstone National Park
While we can’t hike around, talk to a park ranger guide, or check out their informative museums, there are 9 cameras around the park. The Old Faithful geyser is a live cam (scroll to mid-page). On days when the park is open, predications about the eruption are posted daily. Obviously with the recent closures, the most recent prediction is March 15th, so we kept the live cam up during dinner. How many people can say they enjoyed dinner in front of old Faithful?
There is also a seasonal documentary on Yellowstone though the seasons made by National Geographic and is available on Disney Plus. It captured the girls attention, especially the bison herd.
Dry Tortugas National Park
From Google Arts and Culture, The Dry Tortugas National Park is available for virtual tour. Like the tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, it is interactive and you can “swim” a shipwreck and the reef surrounding Fort Jackson.The whole experience takes about 8 minutes.
Everglades National Park
Google Earth utilizes user uploaded images which create “virtual” walk-throughs of 6 different parts of the National Park. You can almost imagine the humidity, albeit we did not try to replicate it.
Manhattan – Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
Three cheers for Google Arts and Culture for a virtual tour of the Birthplace of Theodore Roosevelt. This was a request from A, after she read about it. The Google version shows pictures when the exhibits are being redone, and does show empty cabinets while refreshment is occuring. There are a few photos with captions remarking on the reason behind the exhibits and the history of the family. The “blue living room” aka Parlor was a favorite.
Glacier National Park
There are 13 static webcams around Glacier National Park on the National Park Page. Thirteen!
Lake McDonald‘s camera is on image auto-refresh every minute like the other cameras, so it is not a continual video feed. We checked out different views, like the Flathead River, to “explore” the park.
In addition, Google Earth has a tour using user images for walking around the park.
Plan a visit to the National Parks
The beautiful part of this park day is that all of the above links are links that existed before COVID-19 existed in the world. Even after restrictions are lifted, you can do the above virtual parks day. If you are planning a trip to the Grand Canyon National Park, read our posts from our recent trip in December on the Grand Canyon Railroad and Grand Canyon stay, and packing tips for a winter trip to the Grand Canyon.
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