In case you missed my 2 part post on National Parks Kids Programs (which I highly recommend you check out HERE and HERE), I work for a bookstore in a national park. (At least until June 30th. Interesting post coming up on that!) The few short months that I have been working there, I have learned quite a bit about the park service, programs it offers, and also found some really neat products in our store! Since these 3 things I’m about to share didn’t really fit into my first two posts, I decided to dedicate one post just for them!
First, there is Buddy Bison. Buddy is a cute little plush bean-filled toy. You can purchase him in national park gift shops or online HERE. What’s so cool about Buddy Bison? A few things, in my opinion. First of all, he is a great toy for kids, especially for traveling since he’s relatively small. That brings me to my next point: Kids can take Buddy with them to wildlife refuges and preserves and local, state, and national parks. Get a picture of them with Buddy while you’re there and you can either email (Buddy@buddybison.org) the picture or post it on Buddy’s Facebook page and your picture will be added to the map that shows where Buddy’s been across the U.S.! What kid wouldn’t love being famous? ;) Finally, proceeds from purchasing a Buddy Bison go to the Kids to Parks National Scholarship fund and help send underserved children to parks!
Next up is the Passport to Your National Parks. These books are a GREAT souvenir keeper if you travel a lot and are really into the national park scene. The states are arranged by regions of the country. Each region has multiple pages where you can place either good ole rubber stamp and ink stamps or sticker “stamps”. Depending on how big/popular the park is, you may find anywhere between 1-5 (and maybe more) rubber stamps to choose from to stamp your book with. The books themselves are inexpensive and the stamps (other than the sticker ones) are free! These make really inexpensive souvenirs and there is a special stamp for each park that relates to it in some way. (I.e. one of ours has an old time bathtub on it because we are known for our bathhouses that use the thermal water from the hot springs.) Plus they don’t take up much space. ;)
Last but not least is the Passport to Your National Parks app. It is available for iPhones and Androids. It is kind of like a virtual, technological version of the passport books, but you can also browse parks by state, find their entrance fees, trails, etc. This app can come in handy while you're on vacation since most people have smart phones nowadays and probably aren't near a computer! Plus it’s free!