Experience an interactive educational program with a National Park service ranger! Most Saturdays from April through October, stop by the Explore Park Visitor for free hikes or interpretive sessions. For more information about these programs, or to learn more about each week’s topic, please call (540) 427-1800. No advance registration is required for these activities, but an adult must accompany all children. All programs meet at the Visitor Center. All dates and times are subject to change.
Crafting Afternoons: Every other Saturday starting in May at 2:30 PM
Spend an afternoon with a National Park Ranger making nature crafts and reading books. One hour program; topics will vary. Check website, social media, or call us for the week’s program details. Indoors at the Visitor Center.
Ranger Chats: Every other Saturday starting in May at 2:30 PM
Join a National Park Ranger for an hour long and kid-focused chat about the wonders of the natural world. Topics will vary: check our website, social media, or call for the week’s program details. Located at the visitor center, but may include travel to an outdoor site in good weather. May discussion topic is birding.
A Sorting Ceremony for Animal Lovers
Hike: 1.5 miles Level: Moderate Duration: 1.5-2hours
Have you ever wanted to be sorted into your special house? Do you love animals and want to explore the wonders of their natural habitats? Join a National Park Ranger for a hike that takes you into the magical world of animal life and ends with your very own sorting ceremony. This program is designed for children and their families. Available Dates:
Tiny Things for Tiny Ones Hike
Hike: Up to 1 mile Level: Easy Duration: 1 hour
Take a look at the amazing world of small things we don't always notice. This hike is focused on our youngest participants and their families.
Special Hike: Varies Monthly
Each month a National Park Ranger will offer a new hike on a special topic. Topics may include bugs, birds, or other exciting things. All hikes will be kid-focused and family friendly. Check our website, social media, or call for the week’s program details.
Challenge Hike: Last Saturday of Each Month
Hike: 3 miles Level: Moderate Duration: 2.5 hours
Challenge your family and yourself by coming on a longer and more strenuous hike with a National Park Ranger. Explore the more remote trails of Explore Park. Meant for older kids and adults. Bring water and snacks and wear closed-toed shoes.
Star Gazing Programs
Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks near Explore Park are some of the best places in our region to observe the night sky! Astronomy enthusiast Michael Overacker will join our National Park Service ranger for an interactive star watching experience. All programs will meet at the Pine Mountain overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway spur connecting Milepost 115 with Explore Park. Upcoming programs: