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Collect Cards at National Parks

by Barbara Rogers

Apr 14, 2022

© Kkistl01 | Dreamstime.com

Kids

Kids love collecting cards, and parents hoping to include a little history into their family travels will appreciate the trading cards now available at more than 100 national parks and National Historic Sites.

Children can earn these attractive illustrated cards by engaging in any way with rangers or exhibits and programs in the parks. Rangers keep cards in their pockets, giving them to children who ask questions or have a conversation about the park.

The program began as a small initiative in 2011, when observations of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War got underway. Early cards were in parks in Virginia and Washington, D.C., and the list expanded steadily since.

Today, cards describe people, places and events, from Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida to Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in New Hampshire, noting their connections to the Civil War and, later, the Civil Rights movement. The cards also feature parks in the Midwest, including Lincoln’s homes in Illinois and Indiana. Farther west, the Rosie the Riveter / World War II Home Front National Historic Park in California, Fort Laramie in Wyoming and Fort Vancouver in Washington have cards in this series.

Almost every park in the East holds a Civil War connection. In addition to the battlefield parks and those at landmark sites in the war — Gettysburg, Fort Sumter, Vicksburg, Andersonville, Antietam, Shiloh and Appomattox Court House — sites such as the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Maryland and the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail in Alabama comprise part of the series. Cards from these parks and historic sites add to the continuing story of the Civil War and equal rights.

The cards observe a wider scope of civil rights issues as well. Manzanar National Historic Site in California contains cards recalling the internment of Japanese Americans in camps during World War II. The Women’s Rights National Historical Park tells the story of the first Women’s Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls, New York.

Children may get several different cards at each park visited, and as their collection grows, national park shops sell inexpensive plastic boxes that hold up to 100 cards.

 

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