VIRGINIA (WFXR) — Virginia State Parks are encouraging kids to get outdoors and enjoy time with nature this summer.

‘National Kids to Parks Day’ is recognized on Saturday, May 20, and Virginia State Parks will have special programming to celebrate the occasion. Parks around the Commonwealth are encouraging families to discover science, history, nature, and adventure by exploring the outdoors.

“We are glad to partner with the National Parks Trust to connect our Commonwealth’s kids and families with our 41 parks,” said Dr. Melissa Baker, director of Virginia State Parks. “We always want to promote discovery and exploration in the great outdoors.” 

Here is a list of parks across the region hosting special events:

Douthat State Park in Millboro:

  • 11 a.m. — Participants learn what to listen for and make an owl craft to take home.
  • 1 p.m. — The adventure of learning about owls doesn’t stop there, participants can dig into their own owl pellet for $5.
  • 2:30 p.m. — Join a park ranger on a short hike around the area.

Hungry Mother State Park in Marion:

  • 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. — Kids can learn valuable paddling skills while kayaking along Hungry Mother Lake. More directions on registration can be found here.
  • 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. — Families can join Virginia Master Naturalist, Renee Wienecke, in creating a piece of art around Hungry Mother’s salamanders.

Bear Creek Lake State Park in Cumberland:

  • 10 a.m. — Go on a discovery hike led by a ranger or learn basic archery skills. Call the park office at 804-492-4410 to register for archery, which is $5.
  • 1 p.m. — Meet a Bear Creek Ranger and learn what their job is all about.
  • 3 p.m. — For $5 a person, take a canoe tour around Bear Creek Lake.

Smith Mountain Lake State Park in Huddleston:

  • 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Learn about animal tracks on a short hike through the trails.
  • 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. — Test your knowledge of animal tracks while on a hay wagon ride.

Claytor Lake State Park in Claytor:

  • 11 a.m. — Learn survival skills for emergency situations.
  • 1 p.m. — Create a shelter using natural materials in the area.
  • 3 p.m. — Learn how to start a fire with essential tools.
  • 7 p.m. — Meet the reptiles that live in the park.

New River Trail State Park in Max Meadows:

  • 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. — Learn about native animals through interactive games.

Twin Lakes State Park in Green Bay:

  • 10 a.m. — Use nets to explore the lake’s ecosystem.
  • 1 p.m. — Learn how to cast a fishing line (safe and hook-free for children).
  • 3 p.m. — Meet Ranger Myrtle the Turtle and learn about her egg-hatching process.

For more information regarding National Kids to Parks Day in Virginia, visit their website by clicking here.