National Mall and Memorial Parks

A Carousel Ride...50 Years In The Making

As part of the Park Stewards program, students had an amazing first visit to National Mall and Memorial Parks where they rode and learned about the Smithsonian carousel.

Originally at a private, segregated park in Maryland, several years of protests resulted in opening the park to all visitors on August 23, 1963, the same day as the original March on Washington.

During the visit, the kids also met a woman who had been at the carousel the day it opened to everyone, over 50 years ago.

The teachers shared how helpful the park was in designing and tailoring the visit to benefit the children. “First, [the ranger] came to our school to present a slide show to the students about the park system. Second, [she] took the kids on "behind the scenes" tours of the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials to give them a better sense of what rangers do and what types of jobs are needed to support the park system. Third, [she] gave each of the kids an NPS passport to show them the breadth of the park system (and encourage them to visit as many as possible). The passports were a huge hit and did as much as anything to get the kids excited about the parks.”

After the visit, Ranger Jennifer shared that the students, “have had a number of club meetings after school, where they have discussed future visits and activities and developed a name for the group, PITCH – Parks are Ideal for Teaching Cool History. Students are also stirring interest among their classmates, as they promote the parks in their school community.” Students’ service-learning projects involved creating scavenger hunts for the park with four different themes around race, gender, or ethnicity.

National Park Week Infographic

In honor of the 2014 National Park Week theme, we’re excited to “Go Wild” and share a new infographic with you! From diverse wildlife, iconic landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history, the national parks truly showcase and protect the best of our national treasures.

Take a look, learn something new, and share the knowledge with your friends and family! And happy National Park Week!

Celebrating BEARS

After months of irresistible teasers and adorable trailers, Disneynature’s BEARS has finally arrived! Disneynature’s new True Life Adventure shares the epic story of one brave mama bear and her two impressionable cubs as they learn some of life’s most important lessons. One thing’s certain: audiences across the country are falling in love with this very special bear family.

Bring On Spring

Are you ready to stop hiding under covers, puffy jackets, and warm hats? Are you counting down the days until you can get outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of spring? We are too.

We’ve had our fill of enjoying the most wonderful time of year, and we’re ready to see the national parks burst back to life with the sights and sounds of the new season. In short: we’re excited for Mother Nature to bring on spring!

Q & A With Former National Park Service Director Robert G. Stanton

From 1997 to 2001, the National Park Service was led by its 15th Director – a leader who was unanimously confirmed and proudly served as the first African American Director of the NPS. As part of our continuing celebration of National African American History Month, we spoke with Director Robert G. Stanton and asked him to reminisce about his inspiring career.