February 3, 2020
By: Christian Campbell, Digital Media Coordinator at Delaware State Parks
Looking for ways to add adventure to your hikes? Try participating in the Delaware State Parks Passport Program! Join us in our mission to connect families and friends to the resources Delaware State Parks has to offer. Learn all you need to know about our 2020 Passport Program below.
At the start of each new calendar year, a list of 19 unique photo locations is selected for you to adventure out to, snap a picture of yourself, and then upload your images. Once you complete all 19 photo locations, you win awesome Delaware State Parks gear and an annual pass for the next calendar year! There is a limit of 2 annual passes per household and participants must be in every submitted photo but family and friends are encouraged to join in on the fun! The discoveries are endless when taking part in our Passport Program.
To “stamp” your passport, you will upload your images directly to our Passport Program webpage. Here you will fill out the form that includes: the park you visited, your name, email address, and your image. To stamp your passport, click here.
Our Passport Program is the length of the calendar year so you can start whenever you like! Just make sure you complete it by December 31st. Start today, win prizes, and make memories to last a lifetime.
This year there are 19 photo locations that will have you exploring our parks statewide, including several new locations for 2020. You can find a list of all the locations on our website, or keep reading to learn about each one!
The Blue Ball Barn has been home to the Delaware Folk Art Collection for more than a decade. The collection contains over 120 works from 50 artists and reflects the local cultures of Delaware. Visitors are invited to tour the barn and explore our cultural history. The Blue Ball Barn was the first public building in Delaware to become LEED-certified, meaning it meets stringent environmentally-friendly building design standards.
The Marshall Bridge (formerly McIntyre Bridge) is an 1883 bowstring truss bridge from Iowa. Constructed by the King Iron Bridge and Manufacturing Company, it spanned the Skunk River for over 100 years. A road closure and extensive storm damage marked the end of its life in Iowa. Disassembled, refurbished, and reconstructed by the nonprofit group Workin’ Bridges as part of historic bridge preservation efforts, it was repurposed by Delaware State Parks in 2018 as part of the Auburn Valley State Park trail system. The bridge was dedicated to the Marshall Family Bridge on November 9, 2018.
Bellevue State Park offers many opportunities for recreation including hiking trails, tennis courts, and cycling paths. This bridge crosses over a catch-and-release fishing pond that is stocked with bass, catfish, and sunfish.
This is a great place to watch for hawks and other raptors during their spring and fall migrations. From March through early May, look for northbound migrants. Mid-morning and late afternoon offer the best chances to see hawks.
The Brandywine Zoo features unique animals from around the world who all have a conservation story to tell. From native species you can see right here in Delaware to species from the other side of the planet, a visit here will leave you with an experience like no other. During your visit, don’t forget to take the opportunity to meet our goats in the Zoo’s Barnyard.
The lookout at Herring Point offers a picturesque view of the Atlantic Ocean coastline. You can take a path down to the beach or sit on the benches at Herring Point and look out over the water. This is a great place to watch the sunrise or look for dolphins in the water.
Be swept back in time when night-time beach patrols and perilous high seas rescues were the only way to save shipwreck victims along the coasts of the United States. The original Indian River Life-Saving Station was built in 1876 for use by the United States Life-Saving Service, a government organization created to respond to the alarming number of shipwrecks along the coastlines of the United States and the precursor to today’s U.S. Coast Guard. The building was first located 400 feet closer to the shore, but a sand dune began to form around it almost as soon as it was finished. It was moved to its present location in 1877 and has been meticulously restored to its 1905 appearance, complete with a diamond-shaped trim. The Indian River Life-Saving Station is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Before this area became a park, the forces of nature constantly changed the narrow strip of barrier dunes between the Atlantic Ocean and Little Assawoman Bay. This area remained largely undisturbed as the towns of Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island grew around it. With an unobstructed view, this is one of the best places in Delaware to watch sunsets and see birds dipping and diving into the Bay.
Built-in the 1760s, the John Bell House is the oldest documented timber-frame structure on The Green and is considered today to be an exceptionally rare example of an 18th-century workshop. Since the heady days of the American Revolution, the John Bell House has stood witness to a number of important moments in Delaware and national history, including the movement of the state capital to Dover under threat of British invasion, Delaware becoming the “First State” as its delegates ratified the U.S. Today the structure proudly serves as the interpretive center for First State Heritage Park: the focal point for three centuries of storytelling and the exploration of Delaware’s capital city. The John Bell House is open Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Fort Delaware was full of cannons like this one, which was important for national defense. This gun could fire a 65-pound ball up to 2.25 miles! From up here, you can also see all of Pea Patch Island, the Delaware River, and the shores of Delaware and New Jersey. During the Civil War, the island would not have looked as bare as it does today; it would have been packed with buildings and people. Fort Delaware is open seasonally and only accessible by boat. Check the Delaware State Parks website for more information on hours and ferry departure times.
The Theatre at Fort DuPont was constructed in 1933 by the U.S. Army’s 1st Engineer Regiment and Works Progress Administration. Created to provide entertainment for soldiers, their families, employees, and civilians, the theatre sold tickets for 10 to 20 cents apiece. Seating about 400 people, patrons could enjoy popular movies of the time including Shirley Temple features.
Fort Miles was a former World War II military base that functioned as a key piece of our nation’s coastal defense from the 1940s through the 1970s. The fire control towers were an important part of the defense where observers were able to triangulate the location, speed, and direction of enemy warships off the coast. The towers were not equipped with weapons, but the observers in the tower took azimuth readings were used to aim the guns located in the batteries below.
The fishing pier at Holts Landing State Park offers recreational fishermen a place to fish, crab, or clam with a general fishing license. Fish that are commonly caught here may include Atlantic Croaker, Black Sea Bass, Summer Flounder, Tautog, Bluefish, and Striped Bass. From the end of the pier, you can see the Indian River Inlet Bridge to the right.
The centerpiece of Killens Pond State Park is the 66-acre millpond that was established in the late 1700s. Before the pond was created, the Murderkill River and surrounding hardwood forests were the sites of Native American homes and hunting camps. Today, the pond is home to several fish species including Largemouth Bass, Crappie, Bluegill, and Pickerel. A boat launch is available and canoes, kayaks, and pedal boats can be rented during the summer.
The Whale Wallow trail is a 0.1-mile loop boardwalk located behind the nature center in the Lums Pond Nature Preserve. This trail takes you through the forest and gives you an up-close look at a special wetland known as a Delmarva Bay. The Delmarva Bay is seasonally flooded and is not full of water year-round. Therefore it is a special habitat for amphibians and insects. Stop by in the spring to hear the calls of the wood frogs and spring peepers!
During the spring, when the shad run was on, fishermen from Port Penn would want to spend as much time on the river as possible. Floating cabins like these could be towed out with a boat and anchored at a specific spot so that fishermen would not miss a moment of the action. These cabins usually had a kind of tank or outlet to keep caught fish alive until the cabin was hauled back into shore. This cabin contains a bed, a small cupboard, a stove for warmth, and a small table.
The Bethesda Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1879 to replace an older chapel. This rural country church is an excellent example of the Greek Revival style of architecture. Although it was a center of activity for more than a century, regular church services came to an end during the 1970s. The building remained vacant and was in poor condition when the Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation purchased it in 2000. Retaining as much of the surviving materials as possible, the church was completely restored in 2008.
Built circa 1820 by Joseph Chambers, this house is built from locally quarried rock, just like the ones seen near the creek. After 1841, the house changed hands many times until distant relatives of the original owners bought it. In 1959, the house and land were sold to E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Company which planned to build a dam on White Clay Creek. When public protests stopped construction of the dam, the property was donated to the State of Delaware. Today the Chambers House is the nature center for White Clay Creek State Park.
Built between 1899 and 1902, Rockford Tower has held a dual purpose for the Wilmington community for over a century. Constructed of natural fieldstone in the Italian Renaissance Revival style, Rockford Tower is an observation platform and water tower, providing water to the surrounding communities. Rockford Tower was open to the public until World War II when it was closed for security reasons. Since the end of the war, the tower has been open and closed at various times but still remains as a landmark and a defining feature of Rockford Park. Rockford Tower is open on Sunday afternoons during the summer, Monday evenings during concerts, and for special programs.