Let’s Go To The Park—For Free!

Both kids and adults love parks—for relaxing, playing, picnicking, exercising or even just reading under a tree. And, while going to a town or city park is certainly a fun springtime activity, visiting one of our country’s many National Parks for a day (or more) of exploring and healthy family bonding time can make lifetime memories. And if you go this month you’re in luck because getting into your favorite National Park for free will be…well, like a walk in the park!

Photographer, Cade Valcarce
Step House on Wetherill Mesa, Mesa Verde National Park | Photographer, Cade Valcarce | Courtesy of National Park Service

The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday this year—and we get the gift—free admission to any national park during National Park Week, April 16-24 !

This is your chance to check out a new park or revisit an old favorite.

With over 400 parks to choose from, narrowing down your choices might be a challenge. If so, check out the “Find Your Park” feature of the National Park Centennial Project—you can search in your state or search by “experience”—just type in what you’d like to do and the site will suggest several parks that match up with your interests.

Do you have a fourth grader in your family? Want to pack more park into your summer—for free? Here’s the scoop: President Obama created Every Kid In A Park so fourth graders and their families could discover wildlife, history and resources of our national parks for free. The program began last fall, but continues through this coming summer. Parents or caregivers of fourth graders can print their unique pass from the website, then simply present it at the park entrance. Passes are good for multiple free admissions at multiple national parks (but not at state and local parks). Visit the Every Kid In A Park website for rules and information on how to obtain your fourth grader’s pass (good for multiple children and adults).

Here are a few ideas for ways to make your national park visit even more special:

  • Visit on April 16th, National Junior Ranger Day, and you child can take part in fun activities, earn a Junior Ranger badge or become a Centennial Junior Ranger!
  • Volunteer to help out at a park on April 22, Earth Day. Learn more about volunteering with the National Park Service here.
  • Take part in National Park Rx Day, April 24th—a program that aims to promote the “prescribing” of parks and green spaces for human health and wellbeing. Learn more about it from this National Park Rx Day toolkit.