By Chris Guld, GeeksOnTour.com
Did you know there are woolly mammoths in Waco, TX? I just discovered that by exploring the new National Park Service app. It’s a free app you can install on iOS or Android. You’ve always been able to explore park information on the NPS website, but now we have detailed information on each park right on our phones. You can even choose to download a park’s information to your device, so it stays available when you are out of cell service – a situation that happens frequently in National Parks!
I downloaded the app to my iPhone, opened it and tapped “Find a Park.” I chose the state of Texas and looked at the map where I could see a national park property right in Waco. We plan to drive thru Waco on our way to Wyoming this summer, so I checked it out. Looks like fun! I’ll mark it as a favorite, then it will be easy to find again.
The National Park Service app lists all the amenities for each park and I don’t see a heading for campgrounds, so this will just be a day stop. I do see “Parking” and when I click thru I see that there is RV parking. The Alert you see in the image informs us about what parts of the park are closed due to COVID. That gives me a comfort feeling that the app has up-to-date information. According to the App description on the NPS website, the park rangers are continually adding information to the app.
Next up, we’ll be going thru Colorado, and I’d like to do some biking. I can use the NPS app to Find a Park, then select the State of Colorado, then I tap on the Filters and choose activity of Biking. It finds 6 results, one of which is Great Sand Dunes (see image). Perfect! It’s on the list. Then, when we’re in Wyoming, we always visit the Grand Teton National Park, and we will refer to the NPS app to find some fun things to do.
You can explore 423 properties included in the app with all the details. That’s all the National Parks, National Monuments, National Seashores, Historic Trails, National Recreation Areas and more.
One feature I would like to see is the ability to filter to just National Parks, so I can plan to visit every one! The app does have a feature to check off all the properties that you have visited. I was able to use the app on my iPhone and check 99 properties. I’m so proud! So I was doubly disappointed when I installed the app on my Android device and my list of visited parks showed 0. Apparently the app only stores data local to the device. You don’t set up an account and your data is not stored in the cloud.
National Park week is/was April 17-25. Get the app and get out there for what’s left of it if you can. You can even attend virtual events like the Jazz Ambassadors at New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park – a YouTube performance. If you didn’t celebrate during National Park week, now you can download the app and research what parks you’ll visit when you do get out there.
Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She and her husband, Jim, produce a free weekly YouTube show called What Does This Button Do? They have been Fulltime RVers, popular seminar presenters at RV Rallies, and regular contributors to RVTravel.com, for many years.
Read more posts from Chris Guld, Geeks on Tour, here.