08/12/08

National Park Service Programs

Every year, the National Park Service (NPS) offers seasonal programs to assist visitors in exploring all the wonders of the national seashore, and to pick up a new found education and appreciation of Hatteras Island beaches along the way.
The activities are typically 1-2 hour sessions, and are available at a number of NPS centers, and local attractions, including the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Oregon Inlet fishing center, and the Hatteras Village Weather Station.
All of these programs are seasonal, typically running from the end of May until Labor Day weekend, and vary on location, dates and times, so it’s best to check out the NPS online calendar at http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/events.htm or call (252) 473-2111 to find out about the programs available during your vacation.

Here’s a sample of just some of the fun expeditions the NPS has to offer:

Cast Netting (1 hour)
Casting a net from shore is one of the oldest methods of catching fish still being practiced around the world today. Try your hand at it with the help of a coach or just come to observe the action. You are welcome to bring your own cast net. Wear wading shoes. Sunscreen is recommended. Sign up at the Hatteras Island Visitor Center beginning the Saturday prior to the program. Program is limited to 25 participants.

Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet Tour (1 hour)
The U.S. Lifesaving Service had a long history on the Outer Banks and was predecessor of today’s U.S. Coast Guard. Join us to tour a modern Coast Guard Station. Program is limited to 20 participants. You must pre-register in person at the Hatteras Island Visitor Center beginning the Saturday prior to the program.

Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet Tour (1 hour)
The U.S. Lifesaving Service had a long history on the Outer Banks and was predecessor of today’s U.S. Coast Guard. Join us to tour a modern Coast Guard Station. Program is limited to 20 participants. You must pre-register in person at the Bodie Island Visitor Center beginning the Saturday prior to the program. Program starts May 28.

Crabbing with a Ranger (1 ½ hours)
Learn all about blue crabs, and try your hand at catching them. Pre-register at the appropriate visitor center for that program area, beginning the Saturday prior to the program. Limited to 25 participants. Bring bait (fish or chicken parts), sunscreen, bug repellent, and wading shoes.

Especially for Kids (30 – 45 minutes)
Hands-on activities allow kids to have fun while learning about the seashore. Check at each area visitor center to learn the program of the day.

Evening Campfire (1 hour)
Spend an evening under the stars hearing stories of the Outer Banks. Topics may include shipwrecks, pirates, sea life, and legends. Bring a beach chair, a warm blanket, a flashlight, and insect repellent.

Lighthouse Marshes (1 hour)
Experience the sights and sounds of the island’s fresh water marshes. Birds, dragonflies and butterflies are among those that hunt and gather in this rich habitat. Binoculars are provided but bring your own if you have them. Sunscreen and insect repellent is recommended.

Maritime Forest Walk (1 hour)
Explore one of the oldest sections of the islands as we venture into maritime forest habitat. Discover why the maritime forest is important to the plants, animals, and people of the islands.

Morning Bird Walk (1 ½-2 hours)
The Outer Banks is well known for its abundant bird life. Come explore their beach and salt marsh haunts. Beginner and experienced birders welcomed. Binoculars are available if you don’t bring your own. Sunscreen is recommended.

Night Lights (1 hour)
Leave those artificial lights behind and experience the natural lights on the beach after dark. Join a ranger for a short walk to search the tide line for glowing marine plankton and the sky for planets and stars. Find out how the night lights of the Outer Banks are valuable to both people and wildlife. Shoes are recommended.

Ocean Safety Demonstration (1 hour)
Ocean swimming can be hazardous. Come to one of the three National Park Service life-guarded beaches where guards will demonstrate water rescue techniques. You will learn how to protect yourself against rip currents, pounding waves and more.

Old Days at the Hatteras Weather Station (45 minutes)
Join a ranger for a tour of the restored Hatteras Weather Bureau Station and hear about the operation of this historic station during both tranquil and stormy times.

Outer Banks History (30 minutes)
Come learn about life along the Outer Banks. Possible topics include shipwrecks, early settlers, German U-Boat activity along the coast during World War II, and hurricanes. Check at each area visitor center to learn the program of the day.

Seashore Arts (1 hour)
Get in touch with your artistic side and create a lasting memory of the Seashore. Bring a T-shirt, pillow case or scarf to create a seashore-inspired masterpiece. Program is limited to 20 participants. Sign up at the Hatteras Island Visitor Center beginning the Saturday prior to the program.

Soundside Snorkel (1 ½ hours)
It’s not the Caribbean, but the shallow waters of Pamlico Sound are home to an array of small fish, shrimp and crabs. Program limited to 20 people. You must pre-register in person at the Hatteras Island Visitor Center beginning the Saturday prior to the program.

Take Me Fishing (2 hours)
Join members of the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club to learn the art of surf casting and fishing. We have poles, but you MUST bring the bait. This program is limited to 60 participants. You must pre-register in person at the Hatteras Island Visitor Center beginning the Saturday prior to the program.

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