The Kids Zone, a new addition to the National ParkService’s website, http://www.nps.gov, contains more than 50 interactiveactivities designed to connect children with the people, places, and eventscommemorated in the country’s 391 National Park Service sites.
Starting August 25, children visiting the website can learn about Mitsy, a nine-year-old Border Collie who performs an important job at the Statue of Liberty or little Lula McLean’s rag doll which is a witness to history at Appomattox Courthouse or how Thomas Edison changed their lives.
“The Kids Zone, launched on the 92nd anniversary of the National Park Service, introduces the next generation of park stewards to the fascinating stories told in national parks,” said National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar. “The website will enable young people to actively explore parks without leaving home but, hopefully, will also inspire them to visit these special places in person.”
The website includes information on the 325 in-park Junior Ranger programs where young visitors complete booklets on park resources and earn certificates, patches, or badges. In 2007, more than 440,000 children participated in Junior Ranger programs nationwide.
Other features on the website include stories by children who live in national parks, biographies of dogs who work in national parks, and an expanded WebRangers page. Children can continue to earn a WebRanger patch after completing exercises that include decoding a secret message from George Washington, helping endangered turtles get to the sea, setting up a ranger station, tracking animals, and learning how to survive in the desert.
The Kids Zone “hot button” on http://www.nps.gov, the National Park Service homepage, will provide a direct link to the expanded children’s website starting on August 25, 2008.