OWTK Kindie Music News

Picnic in the Park

Have a picnic! A traditional day out with the kids. Pack up some PB&J sandwiches (or another household favorite/easy to make and travel-with food), some beverages, plates, napkins, and snacks and head off to a local, state, or national park. Unless your destination is right around the corner, you will also most likely need a cooler of some sort to transport your delicious meal.

This past Saturday we headed over to Valley Forge National Park on a whim for a picnic dinner of Egg Salad in Pita Pockets, pretzels, lemonade, and yogurt. Having our trusty National Wildlife Federation car blanket with us, we decided to bypass the picnic table areas for an open bluff just off of a parking lot. The spot was ideal – big patch of well manicured grass, high elevation overlooking the battlefields, and well-shaded (at 6pm). We brought no toys, just a frisbee, knowing that there would be an abundance of open fields for running, sticks for collecting, and birds to watch. We were also lucky enough to see five airplanes pass overhead, which is always a treat for most youngsters (Philly Airport is only 30 miles away). This, along with the meal, was more than enough to occupy our little one for a couple hours.

A picnic can be a relaxing time for a family to enjoy each others’ company and revel in the sunshine. Spending your breakfast/lunch/dinner in a state or national park also allows for some on-site history lessons/discussions should you so desire. We walked around an encampment and went into a couple log cabin houses. Our girl was intrigued, and we talked about how different it would be to live in these cabins (dirt floors, no bathrooms, etc.) than in our house, but we kept the historical importance and relevance of the cabins very high level.

A bit about Valley Forge Park:
The Park’s Driving Encampment tour is a wonderful way to see the entire park and then decide when and where to pull over, do some walking, picture taking, and (hopefully, if you read the first part of this post) picnicing. The tour, which begins behind the visitors center, will take you and your family up, over, and through most of the battlefield and under a covered bridge. There are numerous parking lots off of the single lane road as well as occasional spots along the road itself. These make for easy sightseeing pit stops. Keep in mind that much of this drive takes place on a one way stretch of road, meaning that if you miss something your wanted to see – you either must pull over at your next available opportunity and walk backwards (not literally, unless you typically enjoy doing so) or make the entire loop again. So be sure to drive at a decent pace (read: not too fast), allowing for quick pulloffs. Each of the five marked Encampment tour stops offer several log cabins to tour, inside and out. Our picnic spot comes shortly after the 4th, just beyond Washington’s Headquarters. The entrance to the lot is on the right, and the wide open and flat patch of grass will be straight ahead of you. In addition to the great views and abudant history at Valley Forge Park you are also bound to encounter some deer. We saw a group of seven grazing behind the 1st encampment site and one deer enjoying some dinner alone, just off the road beyond the covered bridge. Their presence in the park should delight your children. Have your cameras ready as photo-ops should be plentiful, thanks in part to the many trees around the park which cast lovely shadows on a sunny day. I should also mention that a summer weekend late afternoon or early evening, when we arrived, seems like a great time to enjoy the park. The crowds were sparse, parking spots were readily available, and the weather quite pleasant.

Online resources:
Valley Forge Park – NPS Site
Valley Forge, PA – Vistors Bureau
National Park Service
Valley Forge Park – On-Site Kids Activities
History of Valley Forge
Valley Forge Park – Online Kids Activities

Out With The Kids

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