When my girls were sixth graders a rite of passage of sorts was heading to the Pocono Environmental Education Center, better known as PEEC, a “natural outdoor classroom” in Dingmans Ferry, PA.
As my wife has a greater affinity for the woods – she grew up in New Jersey – she chaperoned our daughters and their classmates to PEEC both times. There in the outdoor classroom, they experienced it all – exhaustion, mosquitoes, rain – and, of course, found it to be “the perfect place for learning, exploring, getting away and connecting.”
That latter description – found at Discover the Forest, a site that permits you to search for state and national parks, forests and other natural areas nationwide – easily applies to virtually every outdoor experience you could ever hope to have with your children. And if you relish the outdoors as much as my wife does, the site could be a very handy resource when planning your next family vacation.
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Key in your zip code and the site’s search engine will not only zero in on the nearby natural areas, but it’ll also let you narrow your search by activity, so if your outdoor experience must include biking, you can start out by de-selecting other pursuits that may not interest you, like hiking.
In truth, I like the outdoors a lot more than I let on. Saturate me with enough mosquito repellent and I’ll get with the program, especially if communing with nature will elicit looks of wonder like those exhibited by the father, daughter, and deer in this clip: