Below are eight activities your kids are sure to love as they soak up the majesty of our national parks.
Ice Skating at YosemiteYosemite National Park, California 1 of 9
Never has an ice skating pond had a more glorious backdrop. While enjoying the view of Half Dome, one of our nation's natural treasures, you and your children can ice skate to your heart's content at the Curry Village Ice Rink. It's the perfect way to combine sightseeing with fun—the ultimate two birds with one stone.
Ride a Sled Down the Sandy Slopes of Giant Sand DunesGreat Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado 2 of 9
If you live north of the 36th parallel, you know how much your kids love snow sledding—so surely you wouldn't want to pass up the chance to go sand sledding, would you? At Great Sand Dunes National Park, you can take your kids for a ride down the tallest dunes in North America—up to 750 feet high! Just don't forget to pack your snow sled.
Land an Airplane on a GlacierDenali National Park, Alaska 3 of 9
Due to Denali's magnitude and rugged landscape, the best way to get a full understanding and appreciation for Alaska's national park is in the air. While this by itself is certainly cool enough to keep your kids interested, the real fun begins when one of the airplanes, tricked out with snow skis over the wheels, lands—safely—on a glacier.
Watch a Cloud of Bats Exit a Giant CaveCarlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico 4 of 9
While the miles of walking through the cave's never-ending maze of tunnels and rooms are—in the words of many kids—totally awesome, it's the cave's many residents that put on the real show. Over 700,000 bats , in a mass exit, fly from the cave's entrance at dusk, creating a black cloud that corkscrews upwards for nearly three hours. An amphitheater at the site gives spectators a perfect view.
Drive Through a TreeSequoia National Park, California 5 of 9
If seeing the giant sequoia trees that stand over 250 feet tall isn't enough to raise your children's eyebrows, perhaps driving through one will. At Sequoia National Park, a fallen tree lies in the middle of the road. But fear not—you can drive your vehicle in and out of a giant tunnel cut through the tree, giving everyone a remarkable perspective of the sequoia's sheer massiveness.
See Old FaithfulYellowstone National Park, Wyoming 6 of 9
Still faithful, the giant geyser continues to erupt a cloud of sparkling water 150 feet into the air nearly every hour. It's nature's most consistent and long-running show, and your kids will be awe-struck by its awesome power. The well-known geyser is also extremely accessible, requiring a very short walk to take in its show.
Watch Dolphins and WhalesChannel Islands National Park, California 7 of 9
According to the National Park Service, the waters surrounding Channel Islands National Park, which lies just off the coast of Santa Barbara, contain around one-third of the world's cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises). Such a dense population of these species means visitors don't have to wait long to catch a glimpse of these ocean-dwelling mammals.
Ride a Mule Down the Grand CanyonGrand Canyon National Park, Arizona 8 of 9
If you want to make the Grand Canyon even grander in the eyes of your children, a mule ride down the North or South Rim will give you stunning views and shots of adrenaline the normal look-out posts can't offer. The ride is sure to give your kids appreciation for this enchanted land—not to mention the stubborn animal giving them the tour. But remember to reserve your spot early, as tickets sell out over a year in advance.