She??s only 13 years old, and Aida Frey has already visited 163 National Parks. On July 4, she and her parents, Shawn and Norma, explored the sites of Keweenaw National Historical Park making the Copper Country stop number 164.
It all began when she was just nine years old visiting her first-ever National Park that sparked an interest in American history that led her to become a National Park Service Junior Ranger.
??You learn something different at every park,?? said Aida. ??It??s not all the same, and it??s really different than just reading it from a book. So, you actually get to visit the place and see what happened there.??
??The most beautiful, special places in the world are saved by the National Park system, and we wanted to teach our daughter and show her everything that??s beautiful in this country,?? added Shawn.
The Freys took a tour of the Calumet Visitor Center learning about the history of copper mining and its impact on our country nearly 100 years ago.
??I think it??s wonderful when we can engage the youth and they can find a hands-on interest at the parks, and hopefully it will spark and inspire something inside of her to continue learning or exploring what she??s interested in,?? said Jenny Eberlein, National Park Service Ranger at Keweenaw National Historical Park.
But planning their cross-country trips isn??t exactly easy. They plan months in advance and have to work around school and jobs to find time to travel.
??We sit with this humungous map that we got in Washington, D.C. of the National Park Service system, and we just figure out the best we can and go on MapQuest and we figure out how many of these beautiful places we can visit,?? said Shawn.
??And we make a lot of calls, too,?? added Norma.
??A lot of phone calls!?? Shawn laughed.
Naturally, Aida said she excels in history class. She even said she hopes to be the National Park Service Superintendent one day and help expand the NPS.
??Illinois only has one park so far, so I??m hoping to bring up more,?? she said.
Overall, Aida said she hopes to inspire young and old alike to get out and see what makes our country so beautiful.