January 12, 2021
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 2021 Passport Program below.
At the start of each new calendar year, a list of 20 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 20 photo locations, you win awesome Delaware State Parks gear and an annual pass for the next calendar year! All photos must be taken this calendar year at the passport location and be submitted by November 30, 2021. Limited to one annual pass per household. Participant must be in every submitted photo, but family, friends, and pets 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.
All photos must be taken this calendar year (2021) at the passport locations and be submitted by November 30, 2021.
This year there are 20 photo locations that will have you exploring our parks statewide, including several new locations for 2021. You can find a list of all the locations on our website, or keep reading to learn about each one!
Nestled in a garden of native plants, the Storybook Trail combines books with the outdoors. Read a story as you stroll along the path. Ana Wik, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at University of Delaware, and Olivia Kirkpatrick, UD Class of 2018, created a whimsical landscape plan that incorporated native plants with elements appealing to children. With the Wilmington Area Rotary Club securing financial support through Discover Card, volunteers and park staff were able to transform the once underutilized piece of land into a literary adventure. The stories on the trail change to coincide with a park program called Story on the Go, which is a combination of short online videos, the story pages of the trail, and park explorer kits.
The Oversee farm’s S.M Green farmhouse was commissioned for construction by Thomas Kitchen in 1800, and the stone bank barn in sometime in the next 17 years. Unlike the farmhouse and spring house, which are built of local fieldstone, the stone barn was made using stone quarried elsewhere and brought to the farm for its construction. The stone barn is an outstanding Delaware example of a Bank Barn, a form usually seen in Pennsylvania. It has three floors, a first-floor stable, a second-floor granary, and the third floor for threshing. The exterior of the barn remains largely unchanged since 1800, but the interior was adapted for dairy cows in the mid-nineteenth century. The stone barn is a rare Delaware example of a Bank Barn, which is more commonly seen in Pennsylvania. The farm is also significant because it was a part of the American Country House movement and Agricultural Tenancy period of Delaware history (1770-1900).
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.
When you visit Brandywine Creek State Park you don’t want to miss the Hawk Watch Overlook! With it’s sweeping vistas, this is a great place to experience the rolling meadows, rock walls, and to watch for hawks and other raptors during their spring and fall migrations. From March through early May, look for northbound migrants. From September through November, you can see them flying south. Although mid-morning and late afternoon offer good chances to see hawks, migration patterns depend on the species and weather conditions.
Check out the Zoo’s newest Madagascar-themed habitat featuring species from the Great Red Island! View three species of lemurs, radiated tortoises, and guinea fowl and learn more about the conservation efforts working to save some of the Earth’s most unique species.
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.
Take the short trail down to the bay at Savages Ditch. This area overlooks some of the best marsh habitats around. Off to the northwest is the only colony of nesting Laughing gulls in the whole state (nesting season in late spring, early summer)! The marsh creeks are packed with marine life such as diamondback terrapins, Atlantic blue crabs, and horseshoe crabs. The hunting shack on the privately-owned island also gives a glimpse into the rich waterfowl heritage of Sussex county.
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 were 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. *If you are unable to take the ferry to Fort Delaware, you may submit your photo from Delaware City, either in front of the ticket office or along the riverfront with Pea Patch Island in the background.
This incinerator was built prior to 1941 as a support building for the Army. This is where they disposed of anything that could be burned. The observation platform on top of the incinerator offers a great platform to check out the many species of migratory birds in this area, such as Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egrets, and Night Herons. You can also see Fort Delaware, and consider how these two forts worked together to protect the river in the early 1900s.
Fort Miles was built during World War II to defend the Delaware Bay and River. Make your way to the new Great Dune Overlook to experience Battery 519, Cape May, the Atlantic Ocean, and the mouth of the bay all from one spot.
Fox Point was not actually named after the animal—if was named after S. Marston Fox, who spent the last 25 years of his life working to protect the land that the park sits on today. Featuring a playground, picnic pavilions, and a trail along the river, it is a great gathering space for families and groups. Fox Point State Park offers excellent views of the Philadelphia skyline, the Delaware River, and local water traffic.
The new marsh boardwalk on the Sea Hawk Trail was completed in early 2020. The previous trail followed the shoreline of Indian River Bay, but due to erosion, the trail needed to be re-routed across the marsh. This marsh creek is tidal and the water level will rise and fall throughout the day. It is great habitat for small fish such as mummichogs, as well as Eastern mud snails, small diamondback terrapins, and Atlantic blue crabs. The surrounding marsh and mud flats are great habitat for fiddler crabs. Keep your eyes out for these small crabs scurrying around the marsh as you cross the boardwalk.
The Killens Pond State Park Nature Center, built in 2008, is a LEED Silver certified building. Some of the green features of the nature center include a geothermal heating and cooling system, a composting toilet system, and a rainwater retention system. The building has two large, covered decks that overlook the 66-acre mill pond. The pond is human-made and once was only another section of the Murderkill River. Can you imagine how the land has changed over time and the many ways people have used it?
Artist Dan Gotel created these two murals for the nature center in 2015. Capturing a day on the pond, these murals allow you to get up close to wildlife found around the park. If you want to learn more about the wildlife found in the mural, head into the nature center. Check online for updates to open hours.
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.
Get ideas for your own backyard pollinator garden at the Trap Pond’s Birds, Bees, and Butterflies demonstration garden. Located next to the Baldcypress Nature Center at Trap Pond State Park, the garden highlights native plants and the insects and birds that depend on them.
Built around 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 the 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.
The Josephine Fountain is a memorial of J. Ernest Smith’s love for his wife Josephine Tatnall Smith. During their 54 years of marriage, they would often stroll along the banks of the Brandywine. When Josephine passed, Smith donated the marble fountain to be placed in the grove of flowering cherry trees. The Fountain was modeled after a 16th-century fountain created for the Medici family and has a figure of a woman holding a cornucopia at the top.