Grand Canyon guide for kids

About 90 percent of Grand Canyon National Park’s visitors head to the South Rim, the most accessible area of the park’s 1.2 million acres. But even here, it can be hard to know where to start, especially when traveling with children. I kept that in mind when writing What I Saw in Grand Canyon: A Kid’s Guide to the South Rim. Many families have just a short time to visit the canyon. Where do you go? What opportunities are there for kids? How can you help your children make sense of this vast place?

What I Saw in Grand Canyon offers a sampler of many of the things families are most likely to see during their visit to the South Rim, as well as recommendations for easy walks and hikes. The book’s fun checklist format provides space for kids to record their own sightings while they learn about the park’s geology, wildlife, plants, and history. Back at home, they can use the book to share their Grand Canyon visit with family and friends.

The book, illustrated with photos by Christopher Cauble, is now on sale at Riverbend Publishing. It will soon be available on Amazon and at local bookstores.

I hope What I Saw in Grand Canyon will prove to be a good companion for your family on your Grand Canyon journey. May you have a safe, enjoyable, and unforgettable visit to the South Rim.

Free download: companion activities for What I Saw in Grand Teton

Shwabacher Landing,
Schwabacher Landing, courtesy National Park Service.

If you are a teacher or homeschooler looking for ways to extend What I Saw in Grand Teton: A Kid’s Guide to the National Park, here are a few activity ideas for you. My thanks to third-grade teacher Suzy Miller for “Safe Space”–a fun way to teach important lessons for kids living in or visiting areas with potentially dangerous wildlife.

 

New kids’ book about Grand Teton National Park


I’m excited to announce the release of What I Saw in Grand Teton: A Kid’s Guide to the National Park on April 1 by Riverbend Publishing. I wrote the text and Christopher Cauble provided the many beautiful photographs. Our book offers a sampler of many of the animals, plants, and places families are likely to see on a trip to the park, as well as space for children to record their own sightings. It also includes fun facts on everything from ranger hats to earthquakes. The wildlife “Guess what?” sections are some of my favorites. Did you know that bluebird feathers aren’t really blue? Or that the pronghorn’s closest living relatives are not antelope? (Hint: They are found in Africa and can grow up to 19 feet tall.) I liked digging into the research to find surprising details even about common species.

After spending a fair amount of time in the Tetons as a kid, I enjoyed reconnecting with the park and learning more about its history and incredible diversity of wildlife and plants.  The book provides a fun guide for kids visiting Grand Teton National Park, and I hope it will spark an interest in wildlife and natural areas for at least a few of them. What I Saw in Grand Teton is now available through Riverbend Publishing,  Amazon (where you can view some of the pages), and in the local park area.

Gone to the chipmunks

Above the Alpine Visitor Center, Rocky Mountain National Park,
Above the Alpine Visitor Center, Rocky Mountain National Park, © 2016 Julie Lue

I spent most of my twenties working for the National Park Service, and I lived in a wide variety of government housing, including several shabby but appealing old houses where the wild creatures outnumbered human inhabitants.  Sometimes I wondered, lying awake at night, how many hearts beat inside those walls. With all that lovely national park habitat protected for their use, why did the animals need to live in my house? Or my office?

My latest essay in the Christian Science Monitor, “The indoor wilds at outdoor parks,” revisits my experiences with wild (non-human!) roommates and officemates in Rocky Mountain National Park. At the time, they were considered annoying but not dangerous. Attitudes changed dramatically when hantavirus came on the scene, and suddenly those cute, non-housebroken deer mice became a threat. When I moved on to Canyonlands National Park, I found that every effort had been made to seal off my double-wide from four-footed intruders. These efforts mostly worked (and later employees moved into rodent-free new housing). But somehow a packrat still managed to chew its way through the floor and drown itself in my toilet. I’m not even going to get started about my coworkers’ experiences with skunks and scorpions.

About the visitor center in the story . . . the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center was designed by Taliesin Associated Architects, Frank Lloyd Wright’s firm, after Wright’s death. Working there, I always thought the building was a bit of an oddball. But in my defense, I had previously worked out of a fort and a log cabin. I recently revisited the building while researching a children’s book I am writing about the park. I think I get it now, at least a little.