Every year one week is set aside to celebrate our national parks. This year National Park Week is April 22 through April 30.
There are more than 400 park sites to choose from. With 22 in Arizona alone, the national park service is recommending three ways to engage with the parks during this week.
First there is Park Rx Day when you can consider the health and well-being that comes with visiting a park. You might want to go with a group or by yourself to spend time in a park. The time could be spent looking around, learning something new, or just enjoying the scenery and how it makes you feel. Being outside can come with health benefits from reducing anxiety to improving cognition. All parks will be fee-free on Saturday, April 22, to encourage people to get out and enjoy themselves in a park.
Second, there is National Junior Ranger Day on April 29 when no matter your age, you are invited to learn, explore, and protect our national parks.
A third way to explore the parks is through volunteering. Volunteer duties include such tasks as staffing the visitor centers, leading nature hikes, presenting environmental education programs to school and community groups, conducting “Junior Ranger” programs and day camps, assisting biologists with research projects, pulling non-native weeds, helping with day-to-day maintenance functions, trail building and maintenance, and patrolling trails on foot and horseback, when appropriate.
Some of the activities in the Arizona National Parks are:
Chiricahua National Monument. Campfire/Evening Program every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday until April 30, 2023, for 45 minutes from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m.
Coronado National Memorial. Hiker Shuttle/Guided Tour, “Hike, Ride, Talk” Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until May 28, 2023, for one hour from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
Grand Canyon National Park. History Exhibit: The Amazing Kolb Brothers; A Grand Life at Grand Canyon. Every day April 22 through Sept. 3, 2023, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Earth Day Litter Cleanup Volunteer Event. April 22, 2023, 9 a.m. to noon.
Navajo National Monument. There are three self-guided trails located behind the visitor center building. All self-guided trails are open from sunrise to sunset and are open year-round—weather dependent.
Petrified Forest National Park. Museum Demonstration Lab every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from April 22 until Dec. 31 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The demonstration lab includes a program for children. Chat with paleontologists at work in the Museum Demonstration Lab and peek in the windows to view the fossils they are cleaning and conserving from Petrified Forest National Park.
Saguaro National Park—East District. Guided Tour, Garden Walk 30 minutes. Every day from April 22 through May 6, 2023, from 2 to 2:30 p.m. Reservations not required.
Tumacacori National Historic Park
* Guided Tour: Bird Watching Walk, Saturday, April 22, 8 to 10 a.m. Walking takes place on and off trail in varied habitats. All birding level experiences welcome. Binoculars available for loan. Reservations required.
* Mammals, Birds, and Bugs, Sunday, April 30, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Join Tumacácori in celebrating Dark Sky Appreciation Week! Explore the world of nocturnal creatures and learn the importance of preserving the night sky.
* Junior Ranger Day, Saturday, April 22, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. All ages welcome to enjoy a day to play, create, learn, and protect! There will be games and crafts.
Get out and enjoy our parks! For more information about activities at other national park sites, check out the National Park Service website at nps.gov.