In honor of the National Park Service’s centennial celebration, I decided to research the national parks, my favorite activity besides visiting them. While reading about nature’s incredible creations, I discovered some startling similarities between the parks and areas of the OCU campus. Prepare to be amazed.
1. Admin Tower: Yellowstone
Yellowstone is the oldest of all the national parks: the very beginning of a beautiful and life-changing institution.
2. Hall of Queens – Carlsbad Caverns
The primary attraction of Carlsbad Caverns is the “show cave.” The park includes 17 species of bats. Basically, in both the cave and the hall, there are a lot of scary things hanging and staring at you.
3. The caf: Gateway Arch
Technically, the Gateway Arch is not a national park, just as Sodexo is technically not part of OCU. The arch is always jammed full of people. It’s cool to have around, and some people are really into it, but it’s not natural. Compared to true nature, it honestly comes up short.
4. Edith Kinney Gaylord Center in the Ann Lacy School of Dance and Entertainment: Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park:
Aside from the long-ass names, the dance center and this park share a common theme of powerful women (with a shoutout to the men). This park is considered a partnership park, meaning it’s associated but not controlled by the National Park Service. That’s basically how the dance school works. Also, this park is home to the nation’s oldest park ranger.
5. Visitor center: Great Sand Dunes
The Great Sand Dunes are fun and a good introduction to the parks. Some people get jobs there, but everyone else really only needs to go once.
6. Chemistry lab: Hot Springs
Hot Springs, the smallest national park, is full of reactions. Most of the time, the springs are helpful, but they can also be extremely dangerous. Recently, parts of this park were renovated for optimal comfort and productivity.
7. Walker Center: Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon receives visits from all kinds of people, for all kinds of reasons. Some people go because they feel they have to. Others go to explore the canyon for a bit, and some spend all their time there, rafting the waters and becoming river rats.
8. Black Box: Crater Lake
Cater Lake, the deepest lake in the U.S., is described as “a bowl-shape depression” – pretty fitting for the type of show that usually takes place in the black box theater.
9. Dulaney-Browne Library: Death Valley
Death Valley has several levels. The type of rock varies, depending on the location. Some are older than others, and you’ll probably never see them all. You can look at them all day, but you can’t keep any of them. There’s really no need to go to Death Valley in the summer, and hunting and weapon use in the park is illegal. Also, Anthony the librarian can often be found in both the park and the library (Ask him about Death Valley sometime – he’s very passionate).
10. Kerr-McGee Centennial Plaza: Arches
Arches is an iconic national park. There are great photography opportunities, but most of the hardcore exploring takes place in the areas around and outside of the park. There are tons of beautiful rock formations that have been discovered over the years, but only a few are truly memorable and recognizable by the general public (just like there are tons of beauty queens at OCU, but only three get statues on the plaza).
11. Bass School of Music: Big Bend
Big Bend is bigger than Rhode Island. Over the years, the area has become home to several different nationalities of people, bringing many different types of people, languages, and music. There are also about 450 different species of birds. Not all of them are songbirds (in Bass, some are musicians), but together, they create a heavenly cacophony of sounds.
12. Community garden: Denali
The community garden is the most wild spot on campus. There is no real trail through the garden, so adventurers blaze their own. It’s on the outskirts of campus and comparatively hard to access. But it’s absolutely worth the trip.
If you come up with another OCU/national park comparison, please comment below! If you want to find out which national park you are, visit http://www.nationalparktrips.com/park-finder/. Feel free to comment with your results. If you feel passionately about the national parks service or need a travel buddy, please contact me because I have a lot of feelings about this blessed organization.