FROM THE PARKS: Explore GTNP for FREE during National Park Week, Apr 21-29

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Grand Teton National Park offers free admission and more during National Park Week from April 21-29.

Several fun-filled activities and events are planned for the whole family and these are also free of charge. Visitors and local residents are encouraged to plan a getaway to experience the natural wonder of Grand Teton during National Park Week. As this year’s theme “Picture Yourself in a Park” suggests, it’s a perfect time to make memories and capture photographs to share online at http://www.nps.gov/npweek/.

To celebrate National Park Week and the arrival of spring, ranger naturalists will lead early-morning tours to observe strutting sage grouse as they perform their annual courtship dance on an historic lek (mating arena) located just off the Antelope Flats Road near Mormon Row. Tours will take place April 21–22 and April 28–29 and begin from the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at 5:30 a.m. Reservations are required; call 307.739.3399 to make a reservation and get advice on what to wear and bring along

The Teton Park Road is free of snow, but vehicles are not allowed to drive it until May 1st. Consequently, National Park Week presents a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a hike, bike ride or rollerblade outing on the road before summer traffic begins. Spring weather can be changeable and inclement, so be prepared with layered clothing and/or a windproof jacket, and carry water and energy snacks.

In recognition of National Park Week, The Murie Center staff will offer guided tours of the historic Murie Ranch at 4 p.m. on Saturday April 21 and Saturday April 28. Explore the Teton home of the Murie family that served as a base camp and center for the American conservation movement in the 1950s and 60s.

Several activities are scheduled for National Junior Ranger Day on Saturday, April 28 at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose. Festivities include:

10 a.m. —a living history demonstration on mountain men

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — an inspection of vehicles and equipment regularly used in park operations; these will include an ambulance, fire

engine, patrol car and snowplow.

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — a live bird demonstration by Teton Raptor Center bird biologists

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — a ranger boot camp and obstacle course where children compete in physical activities that mimic park ranger      jobs; an animal Olympics game where youngsters can test their skills against the abilities of various wildlife species; a story corner for     listening to tales about Grand Teton; a touch table with animal furs, feathers and bones to feel; a cultural history station that showcases objects from the David T. Vernon Collection of Indian Arts; and a station where children can dress up in an genuine ranger uniform.

2 p.m. — a second mountain man demonstration.

Children who participate in at least three of the activities will earn either a Junior Ranger patch or badge. Grand Teton Association will offer a 15% discount in the Discovery Center bookstore on Junior Ranger Day.

Numerous educational and informational books and other interesting items (videos, posters, ornaments, plush animals, toys, etc.) may be purchased using the special Junior Ranger Day discount.

During National Park Week, all 397 national park areas offer free admission all week long. A seven-day pass to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks is normally $25 for a private vehicle.

Kati Hime, Editor

editor@wyolifestyle.com

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