Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Rock the Park

Rock the Park

Spring 2016 Television
Ages: 13 - 16 yrs.
Rating: TV G

You know how watching a really good cooking show makes your mouth water for delicious food? Rock the Park is the travelogue equivalent and it will have you and your family itching to hit the open road. As explained in the stylish show open, this half-hour documentary-style program features longtime friends Jack Steward and Colton Smith, who aspire to visit every national park in the United States.

There are 407, to be exact, and outdoor enthusiasts Steward and Smith are no strangers when it comes to traveling off the beaten path. In the episode set in Montana's Glacier National Park, they're joined by America's celebrity zookeeper Jack Hanna and together they comb the Rocky Mountains for sites of grizzly bears, and later, they ride rough rapids on the Flathead River. In another episode, the hosts explore Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia, a park they call "one of the best-kept secrets on the East Coast." Indeed, with its armadillos and feral horses on land and its dolphins, manatees, and manta rays just offshore, viewers are sure to be tempted to put this destination on their vacation wish list. And at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the country's most popular national parks, they tackle a challenging hiking trail and examine the wildlife along the way, ranging from the largest black bears to the smallest reptiles.

There's much to commend this program. Let's begin with a shout out to the photographers. True, the subject matter is striking, but their skill in shot composition and dedication to sticking with the hosts in even the roughest terrain makes Rock the Park a visual feast. Next, give it up for hosts Steward and Smith whose knowledge is evident and passion palpable. With so much to see and such affable hosts, a program like this one could easily have slipped into Vacation Video Blog territory. But to the hosts' and producers' great credit, they include insightful interviews and informative facts about the land and the wildlife that inhabits it. The practical travel tips and educational information is what gives this program a broader mission and a deeper content footprint, and it's the kind of program you'll want your entire family to watch and enjoy together.

The National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary in August 2016 and according to their website, they want the public to "embrace the opportunities to explore, learn, be inspired . . . [and] understand how the National Park Service's community-based recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs positively impact their own communities." Rock the Park may be just the nudge your family needs to join in the celebration and rock a national park of your own on your next family getaway.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

Look for this product at:
Litton Entertainment

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