Tag Archives: #explorerpins

America’s Greatest Idea: The National Parks System

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”― John Muir

The United States would be a lot less beautiful without the National Parks and all they have to offer. “On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the “Organic Act” creating the National Park Service”; this meant that the inspirational beauty of Crater Lake’s deep blue waters, the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, and pillars of Bryce Canyon could not be destroyed. Giant sequoias—some of the oldest, most magnificent trees in the world—are protected because of the NPS. These unique, educational, and, frankly, breathtaking places have been preserved and are one of the greatest things about this country.

The National Parks Service (NPS) came about to preserve the untouched, natural beauty of this country. This means that these wonders cannot be built over and turned into infrastructure. Some things, such as nature, are sacred. The National Park Service is a government institution that ensures dams cannot be built, hundreds-year-old trees cannot be logged, and endangered species of animals cannot be hunted. 

The National Park idea came about when, in 1901, Theodore Roosevelt became President and created the United States Forest Service. Did you know that Roosevelt protected “approximately 230 million acres of public land” while he served as President of the United States? It is because of this that he is known as the “conservationist president.”

“The mountains are calling and I must go.”

― John Muir

  • John Muir was also a famous figure who played a key role in securing that certain areas of bucolic tranquility, intense wilderness, remote desert, immense beauty, and wonder were protected and not destroyed. Known as “Father of the National Parks,” John Muir (1838-1914) was a mountaineer who is known for his early advocacy for the conservation and preservation of the American wilderness. 
  • Stephen Mather (1867-1930) was another important person who helped to establish the National Parks Service. An American Industrialist who was drawn to the parks, he became the first director of the NPS.

“A visit inspires love of country; begets contentment; engenders pride of possession; contains the antidote for national restlessness…. He is a better citizen with a keener appreciation of the privilege of living here who has toured the national parks.” –Stephen Mather

Travel with Spartan and the Green Egg

  • Bryce Canyon National Park is a “Southern Utah Reserve hosting the largest collection of erosion-formed, odd-shaped pillars in the world. These giant pillars are known as ‘hoodoos’ and the Bryce Canyon hosts a series of crimson-colored hoodoos that are common spots for cross-country skiing, hiking, and snowshoeing. Bryce Amphitheater is a collection of giant hoodoos that provide ideal spots for sunrise and sunset viewing. Rims at Bryce are between 8000 feet (2400 m) and 9000 feet (2700 m) high.”
  • Crater Lake National Park: Located in Southern Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, “Crater Lake” was formed in a dormant volcano. It is the deepest lake in the United States (over 1,900 feet) and is known for its clear, sky-blue water. “The lake is fed entirely by rain and snow. Scientists consider Crater Lake to be the cleanest and clearest large body of water in the world.” “Volcanic formations still stand around the lake, and the park is pampered with an additional small island, numerous trails, hills, and forests for visitors to explore.”
  • Acadia National Park is “a recreational area along the Atlantic coast located specifically at Mount Desert Island of Maine. It covers a vast area of 47,000 acres, and its landscape is characterized by rocky beaches, woodland, and granite peaks. The park is a host to wildlife, including seabirds, bears, moose, and whales (among others). It is also characterized by harbors, shops, and restaurants where each year nature lovers vacation.”
  • Zion National Park “is located within Springdale, Utah, in the southwestern part of America. Zion National Park is filled with many mountains and rivers, but the most well-known is Zion Canyon. The Zion National Park is also filled with many different species of plants and animals. It is very easy to identify the Zion National Park because of the tan and red colors in the sandstone.”
  • Grand Prismatic Hot Springs, Yellow Stone: “The Grand Prismatic Spring, found in Yellowstone National Park, is the largest hot spring in the U.S. and the third-largest on the planet. It is called ‘prismatic’ because the vivid colors surrounding the springs correlate with the rainbow dispersion of white light through an optical prism. The coloration comes from microbial mats located along the edge of the hot springs.”
  • The Great Smoky Mountains are “part of a national park that runs through different parts of Tennessee and North Carolina. The national park actually has parts that run through the Appalachian Mountains. Many hikers that are going through the Appalachian Trail end up visiting the Great Smoky Mountains. The highest part of the mountains is known as ‘Clingmans Dome.’ Many hikers like to explore in that area and reach the top, which is known as the ‘Chimney Top.’”

To learn more about Spartan and the Green Egg and the hundreds of explorer destinations detailed on the website, follow this link.

For more information on the specific sights/National Parks mentioned in this blog, check out the links below (and don’t forget to collect your explorer pins):

To discover more about the National Parks Service (NPS), how it came about, the important people involved, and how you, too, can visit, explore, and educate yourself on conservation, visit the links below (referenced in the blog):


It’s fun and interesting to think about extreme places, especially destinations around the world with extreme weather! This winter, let’s learn about some of the globe’s coldest, snowiest places as we keep warm indoors. Spartan and the Green Egg has exciting explorer pins devoted to some of the world’s most fascinating and remote places; let’s travel vicariously with SGE to some of these snowy spots. 

  • Bouvet Island: “A dependency of Norway, this uninhabitable sub-Antarctic island is in the South Atlantic Ocean around 1,100 miles north of Antarctica. The island is only 19 square miles and has an inactive volcano in the center. A glacier covers 93% of the land. While it has limited vegetation, the island is home to several species of breeding penguins and seals.” This is the most remote place on earth! Can you imagine such an empty, freezing-cold place?! 
  • The South Pole is “one of just two points on the Earth where the axis of rotation interacts with the surface of the planet. It is the southern-most point of the entire planet, and is directly opposite of the North Pole. The South Pole is located on a plateau of ice in Antarctica that is over nine thousand feet thick.” Located in Antarctica, the South Pole experiences “up to 24 hours of sunlight in the summer and 24 hours of darkness in the winter.” No one lives here indefinitely—only about fifty people work at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station during the winter.
  • Antarctica’s Mt. Erebus “is located on Ross Island, which is a part of Antarctica. Mount Erebus has the honor of being the second highest volcano in Antarctica. The volcano has been active since 1972. It is home to many unique sites, such as a lake made out of lava. The volcano itself is very tall, standing over twelve thousand feet high.” Mount Erebus is thought to be the southernmost active volcano in the world and is constantly emitting gas and steam. 
  • The Southern Ocean goes by many names. It is more commonly called the Antarctic Ocean. Other names for it include the Austral Ocean and South Polar Ocean. It is home to the Emperor Penguin species, which is the largest species of penguin on Earth. The Southern Ocean also surrounds the continent of Antarctica, which contains 90 percent of the ice on the planet. At its deepest point, located in the South Sandwich Trench, the Southern Ocean reaches a depth of 23,737 feet.” Talk about an extreme place! The Southern Ocean is also known for its albatrosses, fur seals and blue whales.
  • “The North Pole earned its name by being the northernmost point on the planet where the axis meets the surface. Because of this, anyone at the North Pole will always face south in all directions. The North Pole is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. However, the location is always moving because of the shifting ice in the water. The North Pole wasn’t discovered until 1945.” Did you know that, because the ice is always shifting and moving at the North Pole, there is no possible way for a community to be built.
  • Alert, Nunavut: “Alert is part of the region of Nanavut, which is located within the northern section of Canada. Because of close proximity to the North Pole, the weather is always very cold. The freezing temperatures actually make it so almost nobody can live in the area. Scientists and the military have been conducting research in the area since as far back as the 1800’s.” Some people do, however, work and live at the military base on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut. 

To learn more about the destinations discussed in the blog (along with other exciting places for travel and exploration), check out the links below and visit the website. And don’t forget to collect your explorer pins! 

For more information on the sites mentioned in the blog, check out the links below:

Tropical Birds Around The World

When we think of colorful, exotic birds a parrot (usually perched on a pirate’s shoulder) inevitably comes to mind. There are nearly 400 species of parrot. While they come in all sizes they usually have a long tail, are very intelligent, and some learn to speak (or at least mimic sounds they hear). Parrots are usually very loud, raucous creatures and make for good companions, although one should really not own a parrot as a pet. For one thing, they often outlive their owners! Parrots can live up to 80 years. 

“Tame birds sing of freedom. Wild birds fly.”

– John Lennon

Magnificent Macaws

  • Macaws are extraordinary and extreme in their amazing attributes. They can fly very fast (up to forty miles an hour) and have an impressive wingspan (more than four feet in width). They also have extraordinarily powerful curved beaks used for cracking hard nuts and seeds. 
  • There are the traditional macaws with mainly red plumage surrounding their head, neck, and back that flows into a rainbow of colors across their wings; these are known as the “Scarlet Macaws” while the “Red-front Macaw” is mostly green in color with a splash of red on its head. The “Hyacinth Macaw” is almost entirely blue and is longer than any other species of parrot. Then there’s the “Red and Gold Macaw,” which is extremely distinctive. Their unique shape—including long tail—is for flying quickly through the jungle. Of course, parrots are incredibly noisy birds; this is so they can screech and squaw throughout the tropics and other birds will hear their call.

Other Fine Feathered Friends

Some other popular exotic birds include cockatoos and toucans.

  • Cockatoos belong to the parrot species, Cacatuidae. These birds are distinctive due to the flamboyant plumage atop their heads (the most recognizable because of this attribute being the sulfur-crested cockatoo, with its black beak, entirely white body—except for cheeks that appear to be glamourized with yellow rouge—and bright matching crown of spiky plumes).
  • Toucans are tropical birds known for their impressively large rainbow bills and are a member of the Ramphastidae family. They can be found mostly in Central and South America.

Polly Wants a Cracker: Where to Find Tropical Birds

  • Amazon River Cruises: “What does 55 gallons of water per second look like? The Amazon River, that’s what! The Amazon is THE largest body of freshwater rivers in the world. The
    Amazon snakes through many countries, but the largest portion is in Peru, which is in South America. When exploring the Amazon River you’re likely to see brightly colored birds, such as parrots and macaws, as well as towering trees, exotic flowers, and some of the most unusual wildlife to be found on the planet.”
  • Lake Retba in Senegal: “is among the splendid lakes of the world that have water that is pink!” Located near the country’s capital, Dakar, the lake is known for its abundance of salt. With a gray head and yellow and green body, the Senegal parrot is known for being smaller than most, a little less vocal (although they can be taught to mimic) as well as incredibly affectionate and playful.
  • Scoresby Sound, Greenland, is the world’s largest fjord and is surrounded by incredible craggy cliffs. Some of the wildlife that can be found there includes the Atlantic Puffin. Although it looks similar to a penguin, they are completely different. Puffins are seabirds that can fly over 50 miles per hour and are characterized by their black and white bodies juxtaposed with a colorful beak. Because of this, they have been called “sea parrots.”

For more information on the exotic birds mentioned in this blog, check out the websites below:

For more information on the sites mentioned in the blog and to collect corresponding explorer pins, check out the following Spartan and the Green Egg links:

All Cool For School

“Fall is here, hear the yell/ Back to school, ring the bell/ Brand new shoes, walking blues/ Climb the fence, books and pens/ I can tell that we are gonna be friends.” –Jack White


Back to School Fun

There’s nothing more exciting than the promise of knowledge and new adventures. A whole new world opens up for children in the fall. Crisp red apples, sharpened pencils, reams of parchment paper, and blackboards with fresh chalk all make for a lovely, quaint schoolhouse tableau. Even in times of uncertainty, it’s ideal to make the best of any situation, and a safe, joyous learning environment is truly magical. Making new friends, discovering new interests, and reading lots of cool books are all stepping-stones for children; these are the things that make school years (especially grade school) enjoyable and eye-opening. A new pair of shoes and a colorful knapsack makes school in the fall all the more fun.

Express Yourself  

“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.” –Lily Tomlin

There’s nothing more fun than laying out clothes and effects the night before school! Explorer pins, stickers, embroidered patches, lanyards, and medallions are all wonderful accessories for school children to embellish their belongings. Whether it’s a backpack, lunch pail, thermos, three-ring binder, or even a mandated mask, all children enjoy decorating their personal effects. This way, you can go learn in style! Spartan and the Green Egg offers all sorts of original educational embellishments that fit the bill. 

  • Outer Space Patches: “Blast off with Spartan and the gang as they, and Egg, escape Earth’s gravity to explore the Solar System. Learn about the solar system and Earth’s place in it as you reach for the stars! The Explorer Outer Space Patch Collection is the perfect addition to the full line of Spartan and the Green Egg Explorer Collection pins and patches.  This collection includes fourteen patches: International Space Station, Rings of Saturn, Asteroid Belt, Mars, Uranus, Jupiter, Neptune, Venus, Mercury, Earth, Sun, Pluto, Solar System, and the Moon.”
  • Oceans Pin Collection: “Dive right into Earth’s greatest oceans with this exclusive Ocean Pin Collection. Each collectible pin is epoxy coated and polished to be shiny and soft to the touch. Explore the oceans of the world today!”
  • SGE Explorer Stickers Set #1: “Plan future adventures all around the globe with the Explorer Stickers Starter Kit. These 120 vibrant world stickers are nestled in a colorful explorer tin. They are fun and educational. Perfect for all young explorers. Collect the Explorer Stickers starter Kit to see how many destinations you have yet to discover!”
  • SGE Explorer Lanyards:Proudly collect and display all of the Spartan and the Green Egg Explorer pins on this lanyard that is available in several different colors.”
  • SGE Medallions: Deck out yourself and your personal effects with a flying carpet, rocket ship, submarine, and butterfly medallion! 



For more information on all the educational gifts that Spartan and the Green Egg has to offer, visit the website (along with the links below):

  • https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/spartan-and-the-green-egg-explorer-embroidered-outer-space-patches-collection-set-of-14-patches-sew-on-or-iron-on/
  • https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/oceans-pin-collection/
  • https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/sge-explorer-stickers-set-1/
  • https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/sge-explorer-lanyards/
  • https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product-category/sge-medallions/

Places And Cathedrals Of Russia



Russia is known for its vast size, extreme cold, great novelists, and amazing architecture that will truly knock your socks off. 

  • The Peter and Paul Fortress is the original citadel (a core fortified area of a city) of St. Petersburg. Founded by Peter the Great in 1703, it is known for its unique design by Swiss architect Domenico Trezzini in the Petrine Baroque style. It is also known as the birthplace of St. Petersburg and shares a picturesque view of the Neva River. Once used as a prison, it is now part of the St. Petersburg Museum of History, where visitors can enjoy festivals and concerts. 

“At the center of all that is Russia – of its culture, its psychology, and, perhaps, its destiny – stands the Kremlin, a walled fortress a thousand years old and four hundred miles from the sea. Physically speaking, its walls are no longer high enough to fend off attack, and yet, they still cast a shadow across the entire country.”

― Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow


  • The Moscow Kremlin is a fortified complex and the heart of Moscow. Built between the 14th and 17th centuries, it is one of the most impressive examples of architecture anywhere in the whole world. Complete with twenty towers (nineteen of which have spires). It is a symbol of Russian power and pride. The word “Kremlin” (meaning “fortress inside a city”) is forever linked to the most pivotal political moments in Russia since the 13th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.



  • St. Basil’s Cathedral “is officially called Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat. It is located in Moscow’s famous Red Square. The cathedral has a unique shape, almost like a bonfire rising into the sky. That makes it one of Russia’s most unique buildings. Part of the building is now a museum, but special services are still held there occasionally.”



  • St. Isaac’s Cathedral, built in honor of Saint Isaac of Dalmatia, is located in St. Petersburg and is known for filling the skyline with its magnificent golden dome. The cathedral is so vast that it can accommodate up to 14,000 people! Although it is now only rarely used as a place of worship, it is mainly a museum and boasts a fantastic monument to Nicholas I.


For more information on the sites discussed in this blog, visit the links below. To collect your explorer pins, and to read about adventure and exploration, visit Spartan and the Green Egg at the website.

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog #littleexplorers #travel #adventure #russia #kremlin #stpetersburg #moscow #explorerpins

Beneath The Sea: Ancient Ruins



When we think of underwater worlds, we think of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, sunken ships filled with pirate booty, lost civilizations (maybe even Atlantis), of awesome sea creatures that have never before been discovered, treasure chests overflowing with gold coins and Poseidon (the Greek god of the sea) with his trident.

(UNESCO: Underwater Cultural Heritage)

UNESCO’s Underwater Cultural Heritage Convention began 20 years ago, and its aim was (and is) to protect ancient historical sites that are submerged beneath the oceans. One of the main goals of this mission is to keep these amazing locations safe, to protect them from “treasure-hunting and pillaging.” Without the preservation of certain underwater monuments, we wouldn’t know about wars that have been fought, civilizations that have been conquered and lost, and important architecture that’s been washed away beneath the waves.

Spartan and the Green Egg’s Underwater Sites

Discover some of the world’s most fascinating underwater (and underground) places with Spartan and the Green Egg! Learn more about the world around you, get inspired to travel, and collect your explorer pins to prepare for adventure!

  • Underwater Museum in Cancun, Mexico: “The Underwater Museum is devoted to showing the importance of conservation. Tourists have to visit numerous diving points in order to see all the sculptures that have been placed under water. The museum was made to help control where visitors go diving. This is very important because the natural reefs in the area were getting damaged by a surge of tourists and explorers.”

  • Dragon’s Triangle: “The Dragon’s Triangle has many nicknames, including the Devil’s Sea as well as the Pacific Bermuda Triangle. It is located in a part of the Pacific Ocean, right near the Miyake Island in Tokyo. Dragon’s Triangle has very mysterious origins. There have been many instances of ships going missing. Between 1952 and 1954, Japan lost five different military vessels and over seven hundred crewmen. In response, they sent a research vessel to find out what happened, but that too went missing.”

  • Skocjan Caves: “The Škocjan Caves are a network of underground caves and canyons that can be found in Slovenia. The Reka River runs through many of the underground caves, creating the largest underground wetlands in all of Europe. What makes the Škocjan Caves so impressive is that it was naturally created. Many in Europe consider it to be the European equivalent of the Grand Canyon in America.”

  • Jacob’s Well, West Bank: “Jacob’s Well, also called Jacob’s Fountain and the Well of Sychar, has been associated with religious practices for around two millennia. Hewn from stone, the well is 135 feet deep and located in the city of Nablus in Israel. To access it, one must descend the stairs under the church at the Bir Ya’qub Monastery. Presently under Israeli occupation, the site is a source of contention between Jews and Christians.”

  • Klein, Curacao: “Klein (or Little) Curacao is home to Curacao’s longest beach, which is popular for its beautiful white sand and clear water. It is also a diving hot spot famous for its underwater caves and coral reef systems. The island itself is uninhabited but does have a few structures, including an old lighthouse.” Located in the Dutch Caribbean, this beautiful (and untouched) island is also home to several wrecked ships, including the rusted remains of an old oil tanker. Little Curacao is also known as a breeding ground for green sea turtles that come back every year and lay their eggs.

  • Deep-Sea Vents, Atlantic Ocean: “The Deep-Sea Vents are often referred to as hydrothermal vents. They are giant underwater structures shaped like chimneys. The vents release clouds of scalding water, which turn a black color because of all the minerals mixed in with it. The water can reach temperatures of 700 degrees. Despite the hot temperatures, there are still many underwater species that make their homes around the vents.”

To learn more about what UNESCO is doing to preserve our underwater cultural heritage, visit the link below for more information:


To learn more about the sites mentioned in this blog, visit Spartan and the Green Egg’s website along with the links below:







#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog