You don’t necessarily have to shut down all your technology to get a great nature experience. Often times, you can even enhance that experience with the right app! (Of course, taking pictures is a great way to use technology to enhance the experience, too.) Here are six really great apps that you can download on your phone or tablet to enjoy with your family. Now get out there and explore a park near you!
While You are Exploring
Here’s your chance to be part of a really cool citizen science project. You take a photo of something you see while you’re out exploring (a plant, insect, bird, etc.) and then upload it to the app. It then gets added to thousands of other sightings, so you can see what other people are seeing in your area and they can see what you’re seeing! (Cost: Free)
How well do you know your leaves? It’s actually pretty tricky, trying to figure out one tree from the next. With Leafsnap, you can help identify the trees in your area. Just take a picture, and the app will help you figure it out. What a great way to turn tree ID into a fun, family activity! (Cost: Free)
Are you fascinated by animal tracks? This is a really cool app that can help you figure out what track you find along the trail. It shows you what the track would look like in the soil and gives you dimensions as well. (Cost: Lite version available for free; full version is $14.99)
You might think apps are just for the daytime, but they’re not! Star Chart helps you figure out the constellations at night, breaking it down so it’s easy to find them in the sky. While there are a few constellation apps to choose from, this one is very simple and easy to use. Plus it’s free! (Cost: Free)
Discover trails, camping and share photos, review trails and photos with other hiking friends. (Cost: Free)
Find Parks to Explore
|National Park Field Guide|
If you’re going to be visiting a national park, this is a must-have app. It lists out all the national parks in the country, and then lists out animals, plants, and more great information about that particular park. You should download this app, and use it as inspiration for what national park you want to visit next! (Cost: Free)
|Oh Ranger ParkFinder!|
This is similar to the National Park Field Guide except it finds all parks in your area, not just national ones. It’s a great tool to get your whole family excited about exploring a park in your area. (Cost: Free)
Gives you access to the best locations for wildlife viewing, bird watching and outdoor recreation opportunities in the National Wildlife Refuge System (Cost: Free)
|Park Guides by National Geographic|
Get recommendations on Park must-dos, get photo tips, and discover park secrets (Cost: First park download is free)
Blog post provided by National Park Trust staff and Ken Keffer and Stacy Tornio, creators of DestinationNature.net.