The National Park System draws hundreds of millions of visitors each year to all corners of the United States – even as far out as the islands of Hawaii and all the way up to Alaska. With 425 individual sites composed of parks, seashores, historic sites, monuments and more, the United States’ National Park System works to conserve natural and cultural resources for the enjoyment and education of future generations. If your family wants to experience real-world examples of science, the National Parks are a perfect place to start!
Preparing for Your Trip
Alaska and Hawaii are home to some of the most unique geographical features in the country – perfect for hiking, boating, sightseeing and exploring. With both states offering an experience like no other, you might want to spend some extra time planning your trip. To get started, you should check the weather regularly, always carry extra water and a nutritious snack, and look at the National Park Service website to determine supplies, safety recommendations and permits you might need to make your trip a happy one.
Before you grab your sunblock and book a plane ticket, set aside some time to familiarize yourself with the nature and activities you’re soon to experience. We challenge you to research the park you’re visiting and make a checklist of animals, plants, geographic features and even weather patterns you might discover while you’re there. Don’t forget to bring a notebook and pencil with you to journal your awesome observations and new family memories!
Discover the National Parks of Alaska and Hawaii
With volcanoes, glaciers, forests, mountains and beautiful coastline, these two states offer an abundance of adventure. Filled with diverse species of animal life and once-in-a-lifetime views, we hope you saved some room on your bucket list! Keep reading to discover what you might experience at three incredible National Parks in Alaska and Hawaii.
Katmai National Park and Preserve
Located in Alaska, this beautiful National Park and Preserve is home to over a dozen active volcanoes, stunning wilderness, impressive coastline and the famous Brooks River. Its unique features provide ample opportunity for activities like camping, hiking and bear watching. It is a vital habitat for several species including salmon, brown bears and moose. If you’re lucky, you might even spot one of the stars of Fat Bear Week, held annually to celebrate the resident brown bears’ healthy weight gain as they prepare for their winter slumber!
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
This National Park in southeast Alaska boasts snowy mountains, glacial fjords and scenic forests. Much of the beauty of Glacier Bay can be seen by water, so boating and kayaking are popular activities. However, there are still opportunities to explore on land by backpacking or visiting Bartlett Cove. While here, you could be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of a playful harbor seal, massive humpback whale or bright-beaked tufted puffin.
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park
Home to two of the world’s most active volcanoes, this National Park is sure to impress. When you visit, check out sea arches, lava tubes and even solidified lava flows. Between hikes and scenic drives, you can venture through caves, past Sulphur banks, across lava fields and to breathtaking overlooks. Throughout your journey, keep an eye out for the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat, basking green sea turtles or the interesting happy face spider.
Stay tuned in to our blog for more ways you can practice STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning in your own backyard and across the country!