Celebrate summer and the joys of nature by participating in the 2011 National Get Outdoors Day Saturday, June 11 in Missouri state parks. National Get Outdoors Day is an annual event to encourage healthy, active and outdoor fun and Missouri state parks are a natural location for the celebration.
Begin your own family tradition of Get Outdoors Day in a Missouri state park or participate in one of the events already planned.
At Missouri Mines State Historic Site in Park Hills you can buy, sell, swap or just admire rocks, minerals and fossils at the annual Rock Swap from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can also take free tours of the historic site museum.
In Ste. Genevieve, participate in an old-style French social gathering at Felix Valle House State Historic Site. You can take candlelight tours of the home, watch French folk dancers on the lawn and listen to French folktales in the garden while enjoying refreshments from 7 to 9 p.m.
In the St. Louis area, you can celebrate by attending Castlewood Days at Castlewood State Park near Ballwin. From noon to 6 p.m., you can thrill to raptors from the World Bird Sanctuary swooping above the crowd, see presentations by the Endangered Wolf Center and learn how the Wildlife Rescue Center nourishes injured animals back to health. Learn about the animals that live in the water and what you can do to help them. Discover the history of the area during its resort era and travel down Memory Lane with a display of authentic cars from the 1920s and 1930s. Crafts, face painting, storytelling, music and food make it a perfect day.
At Crowder State Park near Trenton, celebrate with the Summer Fun Expo at the beach parking lot from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The expo will feature nature displays, outdoor recreation demonstrations, face painting, nature crafts and guided nature walks. The event is being held during the Free Fishing Weekend so bring a fishing pole to add to the summer fun.
If you want to explore the past with a twist of history, you can hunt for fossils at Fossil Day at Mastodon State Historic Site near Imperial. From 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the entire family can hunt through fossil-bearing gravel piles to discover a piece of the past. Members of the Eastern Missouri Society for Paleontology will display a variety of fossils spanning the geologic history of Missouri. Guided tours of the former excavation site will be offered.
Many of the state parks offer interpretive programs every weekend. Be sure to check with individual state parks and sites to see what they might offer. For example, you can learn about reptiles and amphibians at a Hug a Herp program from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Prairie State Park near Mindenmines.
With so many choices, there is no reason you can’t enjoy time outdoors with your family to celebrate the 2011 National Get Outdoors Day on June 11. All the events are free and open to the public. For more information on state parks and historic sites, call toll free at 800-334-6946 (voice) or 800-379-2419 (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) or visit mostateparks.com.