The National Wildlife Federation is encouraging families and communities to enjoy everything nature has to offer this weekend. “The Great American Backyard Campout” is a great way to experience the outdoors.

Press Release from Jefferson City:

JEFFERSON CITY, MO., JUNE 15, 2011 — Do you want to try camping for the first time or experience a campout that is truly unique? Join the Great American Backyard Campout June 25 in the shadow of the Missouri State Capitol at Jefferson Landing State Historic Site in Jefferson City.

The Great American Backyard Campout is a nationwide initiative by the National Wildlife Federation to encourage families and communities to connect and experience the outdoors. Experienced and would-be campers can join others from across the nation in a campout throughout Missouri state parks, including at Jefferson Landing State Historic Site. In Missouri, the backyard campout is sponsored by Missouri State Parks and the Conservation Federation of Missouri.

“This campout will provide a unique opportunity to experience a night under the stars while surrounded by history: all activities will be between Jefferson Landing State Historic Site and the Lewis and Clark plaza with the Missouri’s State Capitol in the background,” said Bill Bryan, Missouri State Parks director.

Bryan said it is also a great way to introduce kids to a fun campout experience. “Once you participate in your first campout, I’m sure you will make it a family tradition,” he said. The campout is also a good way to help meet the Children in Nature Challenge, a statewide initiative to connect children and families to the joys of being in the great outdoors.

Activities on June 25 will begin at 4 p.m. with registration and setting up tents. Evening activities include a campfire dinner, a trip to the Capitol lawn, a downtown scavenger hunt, and two campout traditions – storytelling and s’mores. On the morning of June 26, a light breakfast will be provided before campers depart.

Because of limited space, registration in advance is required and must be received by June 22. A limited number of tents are available so please indicate whether you need a tent when you register. All food will be provided. To register, call 573-522-2658 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information on other Great American Backyard Campout activities in Missouri state parks, go to