Thursday, April 13, 2017

National Parks' 'free entrance days' offer hundreds of family RV Short Stops

National Park Week weekend April 22–23 is the perfect time for a family outing to one of the National Parks and Monuments to take advantage of the *free entrance days.

Bandelier National Monument dwellings in New Mexico. (Julianne G. Crane)
The National Park Service invites everyone "to discover American history in all its diversity, from the homes of poets and Presidents to ancient archeological places (such as New Mexico's Bandelier National Monument pictured) to the sobering stories of Civil War soldiers and civilians to the legacy of a courageous woman who refused to give up her seat on a bus. Our history is part of who we were, who we are, and who we will be," according to the NPS web site.

America’s “national parks, wildlife refuges, forests and other public lands offer every American a place to get outdoors, learn about our nation’s history and culture, and restore our spirits.” By providing free admission, all Americans can visit and enjoy these extraordinary treasures that belong to all of us.
Kids having fun. (NPS Photo)
Other free days that remain in 2017 include:
Friday, Aug. 25, National Park Service birthday.
National Public Lands Day  on  Saturday, Sept. 30.
Veterans Day Weekend: Nov. 11-12.

* “Fee waiver includes: entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.”

The fee-free days provide a great opportunity to visit a new place or an old favorite, especially one of the 117 national parks that normally charge an entrance fee.  Start Planning Your Visit.

For non-free days, consider America the Beautiful Passes:

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (Marcel Robicheaux)
While you and your family are visiting a national park or monument, think about picking up one of six available passes.

"A pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees (day use fees) at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers," according to park officials.

The following passes are available:
  • Annual Pass -- Cost: $80, available for everyone.
  • Free Annual Pass for U.S. Military -- Current U.S. military members and dependents.
  • Free Annual 4th Grade Pass -- Check out the Every Kid in a Park program.
  • Senior Pass -- $10 lifetime pass for those age 62 and over.
  • Free Access Pass --  Lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities.
  • Free Volunteer Pass -- For volunteers with 250 service hours with federal agencies that participate in the Interagency Pass Program.
Find the nearest national park to you by clicking here.

Julianne G. Crane
For more on the RV lifestyle, click on  

Photos: Top: RVer Jimmy Smith explores a series of dwellings carved into the rock cliffs of Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico. For information on camping, click here. (Julianne G. Crane). Middle: Happy youngsters having fun outdoors (NPS Photo) Bottom: RVers Julianne G. Crane and Jimmy Smith near Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. Click here for camping information. (Marcel Robicheaux).


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A little about the Animal Adventure Park - Home to 'April the Giraffe'

In case you have missed it, 'April the Giraffe' and her new born calf are huge YouTube stars.

April and her suitor, Oliver,  captured the hearts, imaginations and attention of the world. Millions (myself included) spent hours (make that weeks) captivated by the final days of her 15-month pregnancy via the Animal Adventure Park's live Giraffe Cam. This is April's 4th offspring and Animal Adventure’s first giraffe calf.

I became curious about where April and Oliver live and started a little online research about the Animal Adventure Park in central New York State. This growing, interactive family-friendly facility is presently home to more than 200 animals representing 70 different species.

Some of Animal Adventure Park's residents, activities. (Click on photos to enlarge)
According to their Website, this year and next will see expansion in the park beginning with a new Welcome Center and Gift Shop facility that will also house indoor reptile, sloth and small animal exhibits.

Already underway in the park's 5th season is the South American Monkey House, Walkabout Aussie Aviary and the Giraffe Encounter Deck.

Next on the planning boards is the new "Wilds of Asia and African Conservation Outpost" that will become home to "some highly anticipated and endangered species; with all new approaches to our hands-on and interactive educational experience, geared toward the conservation of our new arrivals," say park officials.

This would be a perfect family RV Short Stop after the park opens for the season on May 13. In addition to seeing April's calf, daily activities include hands-on activities for kids of all ages and  "Keeper Talks" beginning at 11 a.m. and every 60 – 90 minutes until 3 p.m.

If you go:

Animal Adventure Park
85 Martin Hill Road
Harpursville, NY 13787
(607) 760-4429 (during season)

Opening day for season: May 13
Daily: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Last Admission: 4 pm

American Alligator
Fall Hours begin Sept. 5
Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday


Cash only (ATM on site) 
2 yrs and under: Free
Children 3-11:  $9.99
General 12+: $11.99
Seniors 65+: $10.99

- Julianne G. Crane 
For more on the RV lifestyle, click on  

Photos Source: Animal Adventure Park  Click on images to enlarge.