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Junior Ranger Camps, Free Park Admission and Family-Friendly Events

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Junior Ranger Camps, Free Park Admission and Family-Friendly Events Encourage Kids to Stay Active and Get Outdoors

ATLANTA, June 14, 2010 – Summer vacation – the perfect time for spending quality family time in the Georgia outdoors. No need to invest in pricey day camps this year. Simply pack a lunch, grab a towel or trail shoes and head to Georgia’s State Parks for affordable recreation that’s not only fun, but also encourages kids to stay active and get outdoors this summer. From free park admission and recreational opportunities to family-friendly events and Junior Ranger Day Camps, there is something for every interest and age level that is easy on the wallet.

· Free Park Admission & Recreational Offerings (all ages)
Planning a daytrip to the beach doesn’t have to include an overnight stay at an oceanfront hotel. Simply head to one of Georgia’s State Parks free lakeside swimming beaches. A library card is all you need to check out a ParkPass or Historic Site Pass at Georgia’s public libraries. The passes are good for free parking or admission at any of the 63 state parks and historic sites statewide. For a listing of Georgia’s public libraries, go to Or, plan a family outing in the woods or play date at the playground mid week. Wednesdays are free days in Georgia’s state parks, allowing visitors to skip paying the parking fee. You won’t find a better excuse for a mid-week getaway for families with young children, retirees and people with flexible schedules. With a diverse geographic topography, Georgia’s state parks and historic sites offer adventures in northern mountains, midland swamplands, piedmont plains and along the beautiful Georgia coast.

· Junior Ranger Day Camps (ideal for young explorers ages 6-12)
Kids ages 6 to 12 are invited to explore Georgia’s wildlife, nature and fascinating history first-hand as they earn their way through three badge levels. Nature hikes, arts and crafts, water games, fishing and outdoor cooking are just a few of the daily camp workshops offered at Georgia’s state parks. With more than a dozen Junior Ranger Day Camps offered through July 31, kids can meet new friends as they build self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment. And, parents can have the satisfaction of knowing their children are entertained and learning an appreciation for the great outdoors. Families can also pick up a free Junior Ranger Activity Book at any state park or historic site and work through the activity requirements at their own pace. Or, receive the latest park news and learn more about Georgia nature and history by subscribing to The Georgia Junior Ranger, a free e-newsletter.

Junior Ranger Camps & Family-Friendly Events

Below is a sampling of Junior Ranger Camps and family-friendly programs offered at Georgia’s state parks and historic sites beginning the week of June 28, 2010. More information on the Georgia State Parks Junior Ranger Program and a complete listing of day camps through July 30, 2010 is available at A full calendar of events is found online at

Junior Ranger Camp at Fort McAllister
Monday, June 28 through Friday, July 2, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Fort McAllister Historic Park – Richmond Hill
Activities will include nature walks, arts and crafts, games, wildlife lessons, canoeing, nature scavenger hunts, and much more. $70 per child, plus $5 parking. (912) 727-2339.

Frog Slog
Tuesdays, July 6, 13, 20 and 27, 6 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge
Investigate wetlands and streams in search of frogs and salamanders. Be prepared to get wet, muddy, and bring a flashlight and headlamp, nets, seines and buckets. Meet in the Alexander Lake parking area. Register in advance. $7 plus $5 parking. 770-389-7801.

Smithgall Eco-Kids Camp
Tuesday, July 6 through Friday, July 9, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Smithgall Woods Conservation Park – Helen
Children ages 6-12 can learn about caring for the earth while having fun! Eco-friendly crafts with recycled paper, wrestling with endangered species, and Leave No Trace activities will give kids plenty of time in the woods to inspire them as young earth stewards. Register by June 29. $60 includes snacks. $5 parking. 706-878-3087.

Sweetwater Creek Junior Ranger Day Camp (Deer Badge)
Wednesday, July 7 through Thursday, July 8, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sweetwater Creek State Park – Lithia Springs
This two-day day camp is for ages 6-12 who have not previously been in a Junior Ranger program. The program focuses on attaining the Level I Deer Badge. There will be nature hikes, live animal programs, and nature oriented arts and craft projects. Space is limited. $30. 770-732-5871.

Junior Ranger Day Camp at Florence Marina
Monday, July 12 through Thursday, July 15, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Florence Marina State Park - Omaha
Children ages 6 to 12 will experience nature first-hand with live animal programs, nature hikes, and nature oriented arts and crafts. $20 plus $5 parking. (229) 838-4706.

Heritage Farm Camp
Monday, July 12 through Thursday, July 15, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
General Coffee State Park - Nicholls
This camp focuses on learning what life was like for children on a south Georgia farm in the late 1800s. Participants will spend their days in the same activities that kids their age did. Planned activities include animal care, candle making, soap making, gardening and open hearth cooking. Open to ages 9-14. $30 plus $5 parking. 912-384-1581.

Junior Ranger Day Camp at Reed Bingham
Monday, July 12 through Friday, July 16
Reed Bingham State Park – Adel
Children 6-12 can will go on a daily adventure and get first-hand experience with nature, take a look at history, and enjoy various recreational games. Register in advance. $35 plus $5 parking. 229-896-3551.

Junior Ranger Day Camp: Wonderful Waterfalls
Monday, July 12 through Friday, July 16, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Cloudland Canyon State Park – Rising Fawn
Junior Rangers will participate in outdoor adventure and hands-on science learning in nature's classroom. For ages 8-12. Bring a bag lunch, snack, and water for each day. Prepare to get wet as we learn about water and its amazing properties. Register by July 8. Space limited to 20. $30 for the week. 706-657-4050.

Junior Ranger Day Camp at Skidaway
Monday, July 12 through Thursday, July 15
Skidaway Island State Park – Savannah
Ages 7-10 can join the staff from Skidaway Island State Park and Wormsloe State Historic Site for a week full of crafts, hikes, games, an overnight stay and more as we learn and have fun. Registration is limited. 912-598-2300.

Junior Ranger Day Camp at Crooked River
Tuesday, July 13 through Friday, July 16
Crooked River State Park – St Marys
Children ages 6-12 will participate in activities that focus on the outdoors, and work toward earning a Junior Ranger badge. Activities will include outdoor skills; trail walks, a marshmallow roast, and more. Space is limited and sign-up is required. $25 per child $5 parking. 912-882-8531.

Day of Discovery for Kids
Saturday, July 17, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site – Cartersville
Kids can learn what a professional archaeologist does, hear about ancient history, see real artifacts, take part in excavations and learn about what they find. $3.50-$5.00 770-387-3447.

Youth Fishing Days at Buck Shoals
Saturday, July 17, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Smithgall Woods Conservation Park – Helen
Children and their special "big person" can fish in a lake stocked with catfish, bass, and bream. Fish caught can be kept. Bring your own bait and rods. Some rods are available for loan. Call for directions to Buck Shoals. $5 parking. 706-878-3087.

Snakes Alive
Saturday, July 17, 8 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Tugaloo State Park – Lavonia
This reptile program includes live snakes to view up close and personal. Meet at the amphitheater to learn about venomous and non-venomous snakes found in north Georgia. $5 parking. 706-356-4362.

Bat Blitz
Sunday, July 25, 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Fort Mountain State Park – Chatsworth
Kids of all ages can learn about these aerobatic mammals that eat mosquitoes and other insects. Watch biologists as they net bats and teach about their fascinating wings and ears. Browse bat displays and make bat crafts. $5 parking. 770-918-6792.

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