Archives for August 25, 2016

US National Park Centennial: Free Admission, Special Events, and Virtual Reality Tours

The National Park Service turned 100 on August 25, 2016. From Thursday 8/25 to Sunday 8/28/16, there will be special events and free admission to all 412 national parks. Visit to find details about your nearest park.

The fee waiver includes entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.

If you can’t visit the parks in person (if even if you can), check out “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks”. You’ll see select parks in 360-degree virtual reality thanks to a partnership between the NPS and Google. You can use Google Cardboard for the full experience, but it still very cool on a big screen with headphones. Here’s a one-minute preview video:

Finally, NASA is sharing what the US National Parks look like from the Space Station.

Finally, you may have noticed the Google Doodle of the day, which linked to a neat one-minute animated video below:

Free Educational Apps for Children: Duck Duck Moose

ddm0bIf you’re a parent of young children these days, you’re likely looking to make their screen time active and educational instead of passive. Unfortunately, free apps are often of low quality or severely restricted. Meanwhile, there are some excellent paid apps, but the cost starts adding up quickly at $2 to $10 a pop.

So it was welcome news when non-profit Khan Academy announced that they are partnering with developer Duck Duck Moose and making all of their apps completely free to download with all features. They have won 21 Parent’s Choice awards and 18 Editor’s Choice awards from Children’s Technology Review.

Here are links to all of their Android apps and all of their iPhone / iPad apps. More supposedly are in the works.

There are a lot to choose from, so here are the apps organized by awards won. Here are the Common Sense Media reviews of certain apps.