It’s summertime and for parents, it means that we get to do some fun things with our kids. If you’re on a tight budget, don’t let it deter you from getting out and exploring, though. The National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) is hosting free activities all summer long. 

Here’s just a sampling of the free events the NWRS is sponsoring this summer:

On June 7 and June 8, the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge in Idaho is hosting the 2013 BioBlitz and Festival. Scientists and naturalists will be on site on Friday to lead a 24-hour survey of biological diversity in the refuge. Free activities on Saturday include a guided boat trip, guided nature walks and insect collecting.

Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Florida is hosting a full moon guided canoe trip on July 20 from 7-9 p.m. I have to admit, this event makes me wish I lived in Florida. I think it would be fun and even a little scary to take a canoe trip by moonlight through Loxahatchee.

August events include a Birds for Beginners course at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado; a Watershed Investigators kids-oriented program at the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts; and a bat-watching event at the Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Washington.

There are dozens of events for children and adults planned during June, July and August 2013. The easiest way to find an event near you is to use the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Find Your Refuge tool.

Unfortunately, the refuges in Arizona are all in the hot dry desert, and while it is a great place to visit in the winter, summertime isn’t exactly the best time to go traipsing around the desert, so I won’t get to participate in the NWRS summer fun.

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