Apr 18, 2010 7:50 PM by Matt Stafford

Free weekend at national parks means cheap fun

There have been lots of feet on the trail this weekend at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Many people are looking for an adventure where the sidewalk ends

"We decided to come out and see what was here, says Beverly Aguilar, whose family was enjoying the beautiful Sunday. "We're just kind of enjoying being out in the warm air."

Petrified tree stumps on display at the park are 34 million years old. That's just a little bit older than on-looking 10 year old Liam Delany, who's learning a lot. He just earned his badge as a Junior Park Ranger.

"I just like to collect them (badges)," Liam says.

Liam's father, Chris Delany, is enjoying the day as well, for more reasons than just the badge.

"As much as anything, it's a chance for Liam and I to spend the day together and get out for the weekend and do something as a family," Chris says.

The two Delany's came from Boulder for a free visit to this national monument. Picking a park they had never seen before over Rocky Mountain National Park, which is pretty close.

"Once they get here they go, "Wow, this is really incredible," explains Ranger Shawn Frizzell with the National Park Service.

The trip is also an activity both dad and son can enjoy and learn something from.

"With this one it's an amazing way to learn a little bit of history," Chris says.

The Delany's picked up some of that history from Ranger Shawn. Helping visitors connect with the park is one of her favorite parts of the job, but this week, with free entrance to national parks, she's getting more of a chance to interact.

"They want to check them out more," says Ranger Shawn. "I think it really has helped."

Ranger Shawn believes nearly twice as many people came to the park than normally would have. However, even if it wasn't a free weekend, the cost of $3 dollars for adults and free for kids under fifteen seems to be a pretty cheap price for entertainment.

"Really worth doing, and yeah, it's something that won't break the bank," says Ranger Shawn.

These days, you can't beat that.



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