Here we are, in the middle of winter, and many of our thoughts have turned to summer. Summer camps, summer plans, summer trips and summer weather.
And that makes "National Parks Adventure 3D" well timed. The movie, which opens at Marbles Kids Museum's IMAX theater on Saturday, explores our nation's parks and made me immediately want to book a summer trip to a national park or 20.
But the movie is more than a travel guide. Sure, you'll see scenes of tourists by Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park, the giant redwoods in California and the Everglades in Florida. But you'll also go on a few extreme adventures as you follow world-class mountaineer Conrad Anker, adventure photographer Max Lowe and artist Rachel Pohl as they attempt Devil's Tower National Monument in the Black Hills of Wyoming, bike across the smooth canyons at Moab and climb giant icicles at Pictured Rocks National Seashore in upper Michigan.
There are moments of exhilaration - like when I was pretty sure that mountain biker was going to ride straight off the cliff. And there are moments of quiet beauty - like when a gorgeous "ice ballroom" is discovered at Pictured Rocks.
The movie comes as the National Parks system celebrates its 100th year. It recreates scenes from President Theodore Roosevelt's historic three-night camping trip with naturalist John Muir in 1903 through Yosemite Valley. After the trip, Roosevelt protected Yosemite and also went on to create five more national parks, along with national monuments, bird sanctuaries, wildlife refuges and national forests. President Woodrow Wilson would eventually create the National Park Service in August 1916.
But the stars of this movie are probably the scenery - sweeping vistas and detail shots that feature all that there is to love about our national parks. And, of course, there are a few animals. The prairie dogs, popping out of the ground, and bears, attempting to catch salmon flying upstream, both were hits with the crowd when I saw the movie last weekend.
The 43-minute 3D movie is not rated. Both my kindergartner and fifth grader were mesmerized by the pictures and storyline. There are no scary scenes in this one - just big views of some of the most beautiful places in the United States.
Tickets are $6 for kids under 12 and $7 for adults.