3 local national park sites great for junior rangers and BARK rangers

April 16-24 is National Park Week this year. The theme for 2022 is "sPark Connections." We've gathered some suggestions of national park units close to home that may spark a connection with you, your children and your pets.
Consider visiting some of the National Park Service sites in the tri-state that welcome dogs and have special programs for kids. Here's three local suggestions: 
Photo credit: Brian Heyman, News 12
President Theodore Roosevelt was a family man and that family always included a menagerie of pets. Sagamore Hill, his Oyster Bay estate known as his "summer White House," is protected by the National Park Service. Kids can earn junior ranger badges through activities about Roosevelt's life and the natural aspects found at Sagamore Hill. Dogs are welcome on the property and the trails.
Sagamore Hill offers three junior ranger programs, which the park describes as follows:
  • “Theodore Roosevelt and His Sagamore Hill Home,” which covers general information about TR and is best completed after a tour of the Roosevelt home.
  • “Theodore Roosevelt Museum History Hunt,” which asks kids to complete a scavenger hunt based on the exhibits at the Old Orchard Museum. Ask for the activity at the front desk of the museum. (Note: Old Orchard Museum is temporarily closed.)
  • “The Wonderbook of Nature,” which covers the natural setting of Sagamore Hill and requires the close observation of the site’s plants and animals.
Photo credit: Melissa Trentadue
Morristown National Historical Park honors the New Jersey winter encampment of Gen. George Washington's army during the Revolutionary War. BARK rangers are welcome to join families exploring the trails and the grounds, which include reconstructed shelters. Children can obtain a junior ranger booklet and learn about the Revolutionary War and our area's place in its history. 
Children who complete the Morristown Junior Ranger booklet can receive a special Morristown Junior Ranger badge at the Jockey Hollow Visitor Center or the Washington's Headquarters Museum. A virtual program can be done online as well.
Photo credit: Brian Heyman, News 12
Weir Farm preserves the home, studio and grounds of artist Julian Alden Weir. Dogs can join their owners exploring the site's lawns, trails and pond. 
Weir Farm's Junior Ranger materials are available on the front porch of the visitor center. A virtual scavenger hunt is also available online.
***
Visit the National Park Service website to find more local sites, junior ranger programs and dog-friendly locations. Please remember dogs are required to be kept on leash, cannot be left unattended and are not allowed in most park buildings. Parks may have limited access due to the pandemic, and it's best to check what's open before your visit. Some parks do not allow dogs on property due to concerns about the ecosystem, so check before you go if your animal can join you.