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Reader Participation Day: What Memorabilia Do You Take Home From A National Park Vacation?


Enter a gift shop in a national park and your senses are overwhelmed with memorabilia for sale that years down the road will, hopefully, remind you of your vacation. What do you look for?

There are hats to collect, T-shirts, and hiking stick medallions. Then, too, there are even scrapbook supplies, puzzles, guidebooks, field journals, coffee cups, and framed photographs by photographers who, most often, are better shooters than we are. Some gift shops offer commemorative wool blankets, jewelry, and beer glasses.

Do any of these items interest you? Do you focus on one aspect of park memorabilia -- hats or the hiking stick medallions, perhaps -- to track your national park visits?


Photographs, stories, and memories.

I love Barky's comment! My family has a few small concessions in the Parks (in New Mexico) and we work hard to carry handmade items by local artists - often Native Americans. Jewelry, pots, weavings... It really does have a positive impact on the local economy! We have some stuff made in China - because there's a demand and many items (spoons, anyone?) are not made anywhere in the US. Buying local is great! It allows us to keep buying from individual artisans.

Patches and brochures. I keep the brochures in a file box. Unfortunately some units (such as Constitution Gardens) appear not to have such publications.

Must haves: the park brochure from the VC, patches, postcards, and passport stamps, CD's of regional music (bluegrass and hammer dulcimer from Great Smoky Mountains, whaling songs from New Bedford, etc.), baseball caps from the "Big" parks (Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Everglades, Mt. Rainier, etc.), and usually one of the KC Publications "Behind the Scenery" books on the park. Also, books by local authors, or at least pertaining to the area, although a couple of years ago I stretched that a bit to buy what turned out to be an excellent book called "The Complete Guide to the National Park Lodges" by....well I can't think of the authors' names at the moment :)

And then the same type of stuff Laran mentions above in that first line (kidding too).

I used to do t-shirts -- one of these days I need to make a National Park T-shirt quilt because I've got enough to cover a king-sized bed, I think.

And I do refrigerator magnets. I've got them from 28 different national parks and monuments (in addition to many other places I've visited).

This last trip to Yellowstone a couple of weeks ago I came home with a mug and a 2011 calendar [g].

Thanks for making me laugh Laran :) See his/her post above.

We collect the park pins but instead of putting them on a hat or vest we take cut off the back part, glue a piece of magnet strip on it and put it on our frige in the motorhome. It's a great reminder of all our trips and usually cheaper than the magnets in the store :) Oh and we take lots of pictures that popup as our screen saver on our laptop.

I usually get magnets and sometimes ornaments. I have collected, but can't seem to find anymore at the National Parks, are the 8" square ceramic tiles to hang on my kitchen wall. I have collected five tiles from Glacier National Park and one each from Zion NP, Acadia NP, Yosemite NP, Bass Harbor, and Montana Huckleberry. Our goal is to visit all the National Parks, (which we have visited most) and decorate the kitchen wall with the tiles, but these are the only ones that I have found.

It's patches for me...and Passport stamps...and if there is a cool old-style poster, that's mine, too. I have the patches on 2 backpacks that I hike with...the only problem is deciding which one to take! Someday, they will probably all get sewn onto a blanket or something...maybe a sleeping bag.

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