Fossil Beds celebrates with free admission April 19, 20

Staff report
Posted

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument along with America’s 401 other national park units will celebrate National Park Week from April 19-27. Fees in all national park areas will be waived on April 19 and 20.

The theme for this year’s National Park Week invites visitors to “Go Wild” for history, nature, culture, wildlife, and fun in America’s national parks. Additional information, including a list of National Park Week events nationwide can be found online at www.nationalparkweek.org. At Florissant Fossil Beds visitors are invited to “Go Wild for Trees and Animals” — both ancient and modern.

Consider starting a visit in the Monument’s new, state-of-the-art visitor center where everyone can view the park film “Shadows of the Past,” explore hands-on exhibits, and visit the recently remodeled bookstore. Children can earn their Junior Ranger Badge or Patch through the free, Junior Ranger program. If hiking is more fun, enjoy one of the many secluded trails at the park. There are 14 miles of trails that wind through the peaceful, montane forests of the Florissant valley. The Monument also has two picnic areas where one can enjoy an outdoor lunch. Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Besides the fee-free weekend on April 19-20, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument will offer visitors the opportunity to participate in several ranger-led programs:

Sunday, April 20 — “Go Wild About Trees: Ancient and Modern”

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Join Ranger Whitney at the arts and crafts table where you will make tree cookie nametags. Meet in the Visitor Center.

10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. — Join Ranger Shawn to learn about “Culturally Modified Trees” which are living artifacts that tell us about the Ute people and other native peoples that once lived within the area that is now Florissant Fossil Beds. Meet at the Visitor Center. 1.5 mile roundtrip.

1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Join Ranger Denise for a walk in the petrified forest and learn about the volcano that turned giant redwood trees into stone. Meet at the Visitor Center. 1.5 mile roundtrip.

April 26 — “Go Wild About Animals: Ancient and Modern”

11 a.m. — Join Geologist Steve Veatch to learn about the only ice age mammal found at Florissant Fossil Beds – Milo the Mammoth. Meet at the Visitor Center. 45 minutes.

Noon — Join Volunteer Interpreter Allan Studer for a talk about living in or hiking in black bear and mountain lion habitat. Meet at the Yurt (tent) across from the Visitor Center. 45 minute. Program will be followed with an optional 1.5 mile hike on the Sawmill Trail.

1 to 3 p.m. — Join a park volunteer in the fossil demonstration lab. See some of the smallest fossil animals found at Florissant – insects! Meet at the Yurt (tent) across from the Visitor Center

To learn more about fee-free days in national parks around the country in 2014, go to http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.

For additional information visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/flfo or call at (719) 748 – 3253, Ext. 202.