Story Idea: 6 Ways to Enjoy the Back-to-School Season

School may be back in session, but there are plenty of outdoor adventures awaiting in North Dakota. Take the family out for a real-life learning experience or get fit by hiking, biking or jogging the trails. Don't just tell the kids to hit the books, bring education and adventure to life. Find more legendary back-to-school activities at www.NDtourism.com.

1. Take an education vacation
Now that you're back in school, how about taking a vacation to learn about some of the great things produced, harvested and created right here in North Dakota? Try "From the Farm Gate to the Dinner Plate" to see first-hand the products produced on our prairies. Or take a tour of Wooly Girls and learn how a sheep's wool becomes the sweater on your back. These are a just a sampling of the fun and educational vacations offered in North Dakota.

2. Interpretive trails and nature walks
Did you know there are trails in North Dakota that interpret the area's geology, history, wildlife, vegetation, and ecology? At Icelandic State Park, explore the three-fourths-mile self-guided trail that begins at the Gunlogson Homestead site and loops along the south side of the Tongue River. For a longer route, try the 6.75 miles of looped trails at Fort Lincoln State Park that can be enjoyed on foot or bike. Many of these trails also have guides through the fall, so take the family for a walk on the "nature" side while getting them anxious to hit the books.

3. Healthy body, healthy mind 
As young athletes get back into the swing of things, try a few activities to increase the heart rate of the entire family. Start your training with the Applefest 5-K walk/run in Ellendale, then build up your stamina for the Wild Hog Grand Forks Half Marathon. If riding a bike is more your style, choose from many miles of the paved or mountain bike trails near you or test your endurance at the 100-mile Grand Forks Century Ride.

4. Hunting for cache
Geocaching is something that can provide an hour, day or weekend of entertainment. Join the fun of this real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Numerous fun caches can be found at North Dakota state parks or in your own outdoor neighborhood. Round up the kids and let the hunt begin.

5. Antelope to zebras
Did you know the Dakota Zoo is home to more than 600 animals, including 125 species? Or that the Red River Zoo features both exotic and endangered species? And did you know that the Chahinkapa Zoo has animals from six continents? This is just the tip of the iceberg that can be discovered at North Dakota zoos. In addition, many of them have some Edventures (educational adventures) throughout the season.

6. It's all about the kids
Deep down, we're all still kids; and North Dakota is one big playground. Channel your inner child at Gateway to Science in Bismarck or the Children's Museum at Yunker Farm in Fargo. Both feature hands-on exhibits designed to engage, educate and stimulate creativity.