Each year on August 25, the National Park Service (NPS) celebrates its birthday and everyone is invited to the party! 2016 marks a milestone anniversary for the NPS—100 years of service. Americans can be proud that the United States was the first country in the world to set aside its most treasured places as national parks so that they could be enjoyed by all. Over 400 national parks preserve more than 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured natural, historical, and cultural places.
Let’s celebrate these majestic natural, historical, and cultural places, and show our appreciation to the individuals who keep them safe today and who will continue to do so into the future. Here are 8 ways to celebrate:
- Send a Birthday Card and Gift. Let the National Park Service know you’re thinking of them by signing the birthday card, and show your support by giving a gift to the National Park Foundation in honor of the National Park Service’s birthday!
- Buy an America the Beautiful Pass. The America the Beautiful Annual Pass costs $80 and allows free entry into all of our national parks and monuments for 12 months from the date of purchase.
- Visit a Park. Founders’ Day is the perfect opportunity to take an active role in preserving these special places and to explore and enjoy them. Hundreds of NPS birthday celebrations take place nationwide, click here to discover the fun happening in your area!
- Explore With the Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder Mobile App. Download the free Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder app, which makes it easy to find the most scenic drives, explore park activities and enjoy the best of national, state and local parks.
- Contribute Your Time, Talents, and Knowledge to the National Parks. There are many ways you can help care for your national parks, from one-time to reoccurring volunteer opportunities for youth, families, groups or individuals. To learn more about volunteering with the National Park Service and to get started, visit Volunteer.gov or Find a Park.
- Collect Junior Ranger Patches. When you arrive at any national park, ask at the visitors center about the Junior Ranger program. Kids complete a set of activities depending on their ages, then take the oath with a park ranger to collect a badge or patch. Iron or pin them on to a floppy hat or vest.
- Get Your Passport Stamped. Through the Passport to Your National Parks program, your kids can get their passport books stamped at national parks across the country. Each stamp records the date of the visit and the name of the national park. You can buy a passport book at many parks.
- Watch a Sunset and Enjoy the Night Sky. When the sun sets in our national parks, don’t think that the fun is over! Summer nights in a national park include the soft glow of the Milky Way rising over your campsite, granite peaks lit by the full moon during an evening hike, and the twinkle of stars and planets from a roadside vista point. Thousands of stars, a few planets, and even “shooting stars” can be seen by the naked eye