December 28, 2018
By: Alexander Huey, Marketing and Communications Specialist at Delaware State Parks
This year was an exciting one for Delaware State Parks. As we ring in 2019, let’s take a look back at just a few of the highlights of 2018.
February– In February, we lit Fire Control Tower 3 at Delaware Seashore State Park in cobalt blue and announced our economic impact study. Through this study, we found that for each $1 invested in parks, the Delaware economy sees a $40 economic return. “It’s one thing to have this natural heritage and this beautiful state,” said Gov. John Carney at the inaugural lighting, “but it’s another thing to present them, to preserve them, to make them accessible to the public.”
March- This year we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Great Delaware Kite Festival at Cape Henlopen State Park! Complete with an Easter Egg hunt, kite flying competitions, and food vendors, this event has become a staple for guests to Cape Henlopen State Park.
June– In June, we announced an exciting new masterplan for the Brandywine Zoo in Wilmington, DE. Complete with new animal exhibits, the reimagined Brandywine Zoo focuses on key pillars of: animal welfare, overall guest experience, Zoo mission as a conservation institution, building positive momentum, and meeting or exceeding AZA standards. With ground breaking soon, we are excited about the future of the Brandywine Zoo.
July– At the end of July and into early August, we announced our new Delaware State Parks canine program and followed their journey to Delaware. Through this program, we welcomed two new canines, Leo and Vos, to our state park enforcement team. Our canines, now finished with their first round of training, are now working in our parks to continue to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all of our guests.
September- At Trap Pond State Park, we opened a new playground for guests to enjoy.”This new playground is an excellent example of how the Trap Pond Partners, the state, and local legislators can partner to provide exceptional recreational opportunities for park visitors” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. This playground was one of two opened this year within the Delaware State Park system, the other being during the summer months at Delaware Seashore State Park.
October- At Delaware Seashore State Park, Boo-B-Que has quickly gained momentum and has become the largest Kansas City BBQ Society sanctioned BBQ event east of the Mississippi River. 2018 marked the most attended year in the festival’s four year history.
November– This November was filled with excitement in Delaware State Parks. Not only were we able to hatch and release sea turtles at Fenwick Island State Park, but we officially dedicated Auburn Valley State Park and welcomed it as our 17th State Park in Delaware. Complete with the largest operating collection of steam cars and a miniature train circling the historic Marshall mansion, your new Delaware State Park is one that will certainly be a favorite as it continues to grow.
And lets not forget we waived all gate entry fees to our parks on Black Friday as we celebrated the #OptOutside movement for the fourth year in a row!
Numerous Awards- In addition to exciting milestones, Delaware State Parks and operating concessionaires received several awards in 2018. Big Chill Beach Club in Delaware Seashore State Park was named the Best of Delaware best downstate rooftop bar by Delaware Today magazine. Killens Pond State Park Campground also took home the award for best downstate campground. In addition, our southern state parks were named 2018 tourism partner of the year by Southern Delaware Tourism for their countless offerings, events, and support of the southern Delaware economy.
We only scratched the surface of the exciting happenings in 2018 in Delaware State Parks. What was your favorite moment of 2018? Whatever it may be, know that there is just as much to get excited about in 2019. I often suggest looking into a Delaware State Parks annual pass to make the most of what Delaware State Parks has to offer. In as few as 7 visits, an annual pass can pay for itself and unlock unlimited entry into most Delaware State Parks for the 2019 season. Beat the crowds and stop by any park office or order your pass online today.