I'm Gonna Fly

Winter Weather Parks

Here in the Northeast many of the National Park Service locations close down for the Winter season starting on Nov 1. I didn’t realize this was the case until I recently started to follow some of my favorite parks on Facebook (p.s. I love that the parks are moving in the direction of social media). Both the Saugus Iron Works and Saint-Gaudens parks are now closed for the season which is a shame because I bet their properties would be absolutely gorgeous under a coating of snow.

I started researching some other parks that I could take my family to visit over the next few months. The larger parks seem to be staffed year round and there are a few that just work on limited hours. Here are 3 that are within driving distance from us and would make perfect day trips during the Winter.

  1. Salem Maritime National Historic Site - Located in Salem, MA. Open regular hours except for the tours of the ship, Friendship of Salem.
  2. Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site - Located in Brookline, MA. Open Friday & Saturday only for Winter Season
  3. New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park - Located in New Bedford, MA. Open regular hours but there are more limited hours for the museums associated with the park.

As usual, I will post recaps of our visits to these parks right here on the blog - stay tuned!

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Washita Battlefield National Historic Site it located a couple hours west of Oklahoma City so we got up early one morning and took the drive to visit the second of the two parks here in the state.

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This park’s main draw is really the park film they show in the visitor center that tells the story of the Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle. This half hour video really depicts a dark time in American History - something they didn’t really teach us back in junior high.

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This park is located on a battlefield where back in 1868, Lieutenant Colonel George Custer led a surprise attack on a peaceful Indian Tribe killing Chief Black Kettle and a majority of his tribe. This was a huge turning point in history which led to the Native American tribes to be forced on to reservations here in Oklahoma.

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While the scenery here is stunning and the park very well put together, it is a very solemn place once you know the history.

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I do wish we had come a bit more prepared the day we went, as the weather was cooler then it has been out here. I would have liked to hiked the trail head but we didn’t bring the right shoes, extra water, etc. I am used to a lot of the parks back in the northeast where there aren’t a lot of walkable/hikable areas so I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked.

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I bought Logan his own National Park Passport and started to fill it up with stamps from our visits to Washita and Chickasaw. I can not wait to continue this tradition with him as he grows!

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I am super excited to share with you our visit to Logan’s very first National Park. We probably would have never made it to Oklahoma to see this state’s two parks but now that we are here and have had lots of time to explore we made sure to visit.

The first park was the Chickasaw National Recreation Area located in southern Oklahoma in the Arbuckle Mountains.

Given that it was nearly 100 degrees outside on this particular day we opted out of any hikes or walking trails and instead, popped from site to site in the comfort of our air conditioned car.

It was a very quiet day at the park and we barely saw any other visitors - even the visitor center was empty and I was disappointed that there was no welcome informational video about the park.

Around each bend on the loop road we took, there was a different landscape to see. Around one corner we were on the shores of the Lake of the Arbuckles and around the next we were looking at scenes from the desert.

The one spot we stopped at for a few minutes to dip our feet into the water was at Little Niagara. We figured since we visited Niagara Falls this summer that it was fitting we stop here as well.

Perhaps one day we will come back to this park when Logan is older and spend more time enjoying the hikes, views, and sights of this park. So even though this wasn’t the most thrilling park we have been to, it was still a joy to introduce my son to National Park System right here in his home state of Oklahoma.

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