The countdown is on – most kids around Long Island have less than ten days until the last day of school (and if you have a child in pre-school, chances are pretty good that they are done already). Families across Long Island are looking forward to a summer filled with swimming, camp, vacations and fun. Many of summers’ favorite activities take place on our public lands, the local parks and big green spaces that kids enjoy when the weather is warm and school is out.
Public lands are available for all people to enjoy – in every community across the country. They include national parks like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone as well as state and county parks like Cantiague Park (Hicksville), Eisenhower Park (East Meadow) and Caleb Smith State Park (Smithtown). Summer vacation is the perfect opportunity for school weary kids to spend time at their favorite neighborhood park – whether it’s participating in sports, hiking with friends, or enjoying a family barbeque.
Most people don’t realize how often they use public lands. There are so many great reasons to use them – they are everywhere, often free (or low cost) and offer many different outdoor activities for people of all ages and abilities.
Some ways to use our local public lands this summer
* First Day of Summer- National Parks celebrate the official start of summer on June 21st with free entrance to the parks. Pack up the family and go exploring! Don’t forget that in the fall, National Public Lands Day (September 24, 2011) is also a fee-free day at the National Parks.
* Community events at public school grounds- Public schools are built on public land, and many fairs and carnivals, as well as parades, farmers’ markets and concerts will take place all through out the summer. Check our Events Calendar to see where you can see free movies and concerts this summer at your local parks.
* Spend a day at a local playground. Discover new playgrounds near you by checking KaBOOM! and searching by zip code. If you’re going on vacation, use KaBOOM! to find playgrounds along your drive to give the kids (and grownups) a great way to strech and run off some energy. Spending time on our public lands also goes hand in hand with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Outside campaign to fight childhood obesity. Heading out to your favorite park is an easy way to get the exercise you need while also having fun.
To find public lands in our local communities, visit www.publiclandsday.org.