Views Visitor Center

The United States' national park system is a magnificent quiltwork of people and places stitched seamlessly in the fabric of the American experience. Come, explore this mosaic where the natural world and our cultural heritage are deeply intertwined. Investigate natural wonders and the powerful forces that sculpt them. Discover how the natural landscape has shaped - and been shaped by - the American people. Recognize the uniqueness and diversity of our many cultures and celebrate the threads that join us all as Americans.

Connect with the stories of your national parks, and "Experience your America."

Welcome to the visitor center of Views of the National Parks (Views). Below is a listing of the different choices available. Enjoy! To further enhance your experience, visit the multimedia version of Views.


Virtual Experiences

Here is your opportunity to explore some of America’s national parks in detail. Park interpreters, educators, and resource managers have developed stories about the features, history, and resources of their parks. Move the cursor over one of the virtual experiences below to read a brief description, the click to enter the experience.

You can also explore the United States using a map, which links to all of the virtual experiences and case studies covered within Views. Each case study briefly looks into a particular resource associated with the park.


Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

Florissant Fossils Beds is world-renowned for the delicately preserved insect and plant fossils found in paper shales. What factors during the Eocene allowed for their preservation, and the preservation of giant Sequoia stumps?

Explore this virtual experience to learn the answer to this question, as well as gain an understanding of the history of the site.


Fort Bowie National Historic Site

Water, the most precious of resources in the arid West, is why there is such a long and storied history here. Apache Spring exists due to a geologic fault. The Chiricahua Apaches called this area home, the Butterfield Overland Trail had a stop here because of the water, and the U.S. Military used the spring, which culminated in a battle between Cochise and California Volunteers. The result of the battle was the construction of Fort Bowie near the spring.


Grand Canyon Wildlife Research Expeditions

Researching wildlife in the Grand Canyon can be a real challenge. Follow a team of researchers and volunteers down the Colorado River as they investigate the animals and plants that call Grand Canyon home and how humans are impacting the canyon.

Learn what wildlife is being researched, examine the methods being used, and even hear songs written by a professional musician.


Geology and History of the National Mall

The National Mall is located in the heart of Washington, D.C. and honors many different people and events from America’s past.

One aspect you may not readily realize is that the National Mall is also a great place to study geology. Many different types of rock are used in the construction of the various monuments and memorials. Also explore the Washington Monument, which holds a collection of stones from all across America.


Petersburg National Battlefield

The Siege of Petersburg was a pivotal point of the American Civil War. During this 9-1/2 month long siege, General Grant was able to ensnare General Lee, eventually forcing his surrender after a failed retreat and ending the conflict.

Explore history through the eyes of the soldiers, doctors, and engineers who were there. Also learn how park staff today manage these historical resources.


Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

P u’uhonua o Honaunau was established as a National Historical Park in 1961. The park includes the place of refuge (the pu'uhonua), Hale o Keawe temple, ancient temple platforms, royal fishponds, holua sledding tracks, and some coastal village sites.

Through this virtual tour you can learn about the natural resources used by the Hawaiian people and the cultural resources that tell their story.


Timpanogos Cave National Monument

In the simplest of terms a cave may be defined as any natural cavity large enough to allow human entry. However, as you will soon see Hansen, Middle, and Timpanogos Caves are much more than your average holes in the ground.

Explore the trail up to the caves to learn about the geology of the area, then head inside the caves to learn more about them and the exciting underground formations.


Tonto National Monument

Learn about the Sonoran Desert ecosystem, the rare and extremely important riparian community within the ecosystem, and the native people known as the Salado who once called this area home.

Explore three different trails, each presenting different themes of wildlife, plants, and natural resource management.


Knowledge Centers

Earth is a very dynamic place to live. Volcanoes are constantly creating new land, glaciers are actively scouring the landscape, and people continually strive to understand why and how these changes occur. Read the following summary descriptions. Interested? Select the title to open it.


Coastal Geology

There are 97 coastal parks stretching over more than 7,300 miles of shoreline that contain a wide diversity of geological, biological and cultural resources.

Learn about the coastal processes and features found within these parks.



Glaciers hold over 75% of the freshwater on Earth. Learn about these massive frozen bodies of ice that sculpt Earth’s landscapes.


Hydrologic Cycle

Learn about the hydrologic cycle, Earth's way of moving water all across the globe. Explore examples of each part of the cycle.


Invasive Species

Plants and animals that are not native to an area may harm areas they invade.

Learn what makes a species invasive, how national parks are dealing with them, and what you can do to help to prevent the spread of invasive species.


Milankovitch Cycles

The Earth is tilted and wobbles as it circles the Sun. Learn how changes in the Earth's revolution, rotation, and tilt can affect the climate and seasons.


Scientific Method

Science is the process of gaining a better understanding of the world we live in. Learn how to use the scientific method to examine the world in an unbiased light.

This knowledge center steps users through each part of the Scientific Method, and provides activities developed by Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.



Earth is an ever-changing system, with volcanoes being one of the most visible parts of that constant change.

Learn about what volcanoes are, where they come from, and their importance in shaping the surface of Earth.



America’s wilderness awaits your discovery! Over 105 million acres of wilderness is protected for you and future generations.

Learn what wilderness is, how you benefit from wilderness and explore your role in the preservation of this unique American resource.





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