This year marks the 100th birthday of the National Park service. To celebrate they are offering a great new program designed to get kids off the couch and into the great outdoors. The Every Kid in a Park Program is designed for fourth graders (including home-schooled and free-choice learners 10 years of age.) The pass gives them (and their families) free access to the National Parks during the 2016-2017 school year.
Why fourth graders? According to the National Park Service, “We chose fourth graders because research shows that kids ages nine to 11 are beginning to learn about the world around them. They’re open to new ideas, and they are likely to connect to nature and our history.”
Kids can sign up for their free pass by going to the Every Kid in a Park website. They just need to answer a few questions about activities and enter their zip code to print the pass. No personal information is needed. The pass will allow free entry into hundreds of National parks through August 1, 2017.
If you visit a site that charges entrance fees per person, the pass admits all children under 16 and up to three adults for free. If your group visits a site that charges vehicle fees, the pass admits all children under 16 and all adults in up to one passenger vehicle.
The pass doesn’t cover things like camping, boat launches, and special tours. Also, some sites are managed by private operators. They may not honor the pass. Check with the site ahead of time to find out.The National Parks not only preserve amazing outdoor spaces, but also monuments, battlefields, and other locations important to our history. This is the first year for the program and next year will see another round of fourth grade students discover the Parks.
What if you’re not a 4th Grader? There is still a pass for you.
NPS Annual Passes (check the website here)
On top of that, there are also free days and some parks do not have any fees.
Mark your calendar for these entrance fee–free dates in 2016:
• January 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
• April 16 through 24: National Park Week
• August 25 through 28: National Park Service Birthday
• September 24: National Public Lands Day
• November 11: Veterans Day
“Because no matter who you are, no matter where you live, our parks, our monuments, our lands, our waters — these places are your birthright as Americans”
President Barack Obama
Now get out there! Explore ancient dwellings! See a waterfall taller than a building! Discover our National Parks!