National Parks Adventure

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
National Parks Adventure Movie Poster Image
Beautiful documentary celebrates "America's best idea."
  • NR
  • 2016
  • 43 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Teaches viewers about the history of the national parks system, explaining how President Theodore Roosevelt and naturalist John Muir wanted to preserve spaces across the country. Also reveals how many different parks there are and the many opportunities they offer tourists.

Positive Messages

Makes viewers feel proud of the national park system the spaces they offer for all to enjoy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Shows how President Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir were both naturalists whose love of the outdoors led to the creation of the park system.

Violence & Scariness

No violence, per se, but some of the activities the trio of adventurers do can be a bit perilous (which might make sensitive kids a bit nervous), and there's one fall off a bike.

Sexy Stuff

The film is sponsored by Subaru and Expedia; a Subaru vehicle is prominently featured.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that National Parks Adventure is a 3D/IMAX documentary film that celebrates the centennial of the National Parks Service. The movie will teach viewers about the history of the National Parks, which have been billed as "America's best idea." Following veteran mountaineer Conrad Anker, his step-son Max Lowe, and their friend Rachel Pohl as they climb, hike, raft, and bike their way across the country's many parks (a few scenes involve slightly perilous activity, which could make sensitive younger kids a bit nervous), the movie pays tribute to the federally preserved lands that belong to all of us. The film is sponsored by Expedia and Subaru, and a Subaru Outback is prominently featured (it's the car the three friends take on their road trip). Historical information is conveyed via dramatizations that show naturalist John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt discussing the importance of the nation's outdoor spaces.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Teen, 15 years old Written bygeckograce June 13, 2019

What's the story?

Narrated by Robert Redford, NATIONAL PARKS ADVENTURE is a 3D nature film that celebrates the 100th year of the National Parks Service by chronicling the many adventures of mountain climber Conrad Anker, his stepson Max Lowe, and their friend Rachel Pohl as they criss-cross the nation visiting Yellowstone, Arches, Zion, Bryce, Glacier, Pictured Rocks, and many other parks to climb, raft, hike, bike, and camp. The film also provides dramatizations of the two men considered the godfathers of the National Parks Service: naturalist John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt, who shared a tremendous love of the country's great natural treasures.

Is it any good?

The latest documentary from MacGillivray Freeman Films is a soaring, patriotic tribute to the national parks that so many people enjoy as preserved, treasured spaces. The cinematography of National Parks Adventure beautifully captures not only the majesty of the parks but also Anker's abilities as a daring mountaineer and athlete. It's awe-inspiring to watch the three friends use the parks as an amazing playground -- and even those who don't possess the trio's outdoor-adventure skills may find themselves itching to book a trip to the nearest national park (which is, ultimately, the whole point of the movie).

With a patriotic soundtrack that includes that finest of folk songs, "This Land Is Your Land," the film, despite being only 43 minutes long, is a sweeping, inspirational reminder of the amazing places our country has to offer us. Redford is an ideal choice for the narrator, since he admits he chose to live in Utah because of how many national parks the state has. Audiences will revel in the movie's aerial views and the close-ups -- of the beauty of the landscape and of the joy of the climbing, running, hiking athletes.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about National Parks Adventure's messages. Why is it important to preserve America's national parks? Why do you think they're considered America's "best idea"?

  • What did you learn about the national parks system? Does the film make you want to visit one of the parks?

  • The film is sponsored by specific brands. Did you notice their presence in the film? How can we teach kids when something is an ad?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love nature

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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