Explore Wind Cave National Park With Your Kids This Winter

Sunrise in winter at Wind Cave Nationa Park. NPS photo by Jim Pisarowicz.

Winter is no reason to ignore the national parks, and at Wind Cave National Park this winter and into the spring months they're offering special programs to help you and your kids enjoy the backcountry.

For children ages 3 to 10, park education staff will present the Adventures in Nature program. These programs begin at the visitor center at 10 a.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month and last upwards of 2 1/2 hours. The first program will be on January 10 and the last on April 10. All programs are free.

The topic for the first program is “What does it mean to be wild?” Students will examine the wild animals around us, from the spider hiding in the corner of your house to the deer in the backyard. Participants will be looking at wild animals and their habitats and what everything, wild or not, needs to survive.

Every program will have a different theme and is designed with educational objectives appropriate for the age level of the student. This year’s topics revolve around rocks and soil, trees, birds, insects, and adaptation. Upcoming program information will be posted regularly at http://www.nps.gov/wica/forkids under the Adventures in Nature link.

“These programs will always include activities, songs, crafts, and a hike that will explore the concept of the day,” said park superintendent Vidal Davila. “Potential audiences include homeschooled, preschool, and early elementary children. These programs are a wonderful way to explore the natural world around us.”

The Wind Cave Prairie Walkers, a hiking group for anyone interested in discovering seldom seen areas of the park, will continue meeting this winter at the park visitor center at 1 p.m. on the last Monday of the month. Participants will then drive to the walk’s location.

Plan to be out for three to four hours and walk a couple of miles during this moderately strenuous activity. Participants should wear good walking shoes, dress for the weather, and bring water and snacks. The program will be canceled in the event of inclement weather.