Participate in National Park Week this year with a free park pass, a free park guide and variety of interesting events.
That’s right, the National Park Service is very generous during this celebratory week – Sat. April 20 to Sun. April 28.
The NPS and National Park Foundation, the non-profit which supports our parks, offer a nice array of treats. Here’s a list of some of them:
- Free Admission – First of all, on Sat., April 20, admission to ALL park areas, more than 419 parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, is FREE. Here’s a handy way to Find Your Park.
- Discounted Tickets – This is a hidden kicker most people don’t know about. The NPS is also offering free deals or discounted passes for senior citizens, active members of the military, families of fourth-grade students, disabled citizens and the public in general. Grab those deals while you can! (You have to check with NPS.gov or your local national park. They have not said what the actual discounts are during that week).
- Free Colorful Guide – This in-depth 151-page guide created by the National Park Foundation (that supports the NPS) is a fun look at opportunities to explore NPS sites in your area. The guide contains maps showing different attractions in different parts of the country. Sign up to download a copy.
The guide includes a section on “What’s You’ll See” and interestingly, a helpful section called, “What Not To Miss.”
For example, everybody knows Acadia National Park is the place to go to in Maine. But, check out the Saint Croix Island International Historic Site with its hiking trails and six bronze statues of Native Americans and French settlers.
Or, did you know New Bedford, MA, was once considered “The Richest City in the World” when whaling was a big industry in the 19th century? You can learn more about this phenomenon at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park.
The guide (really a travel book) contains a ton of tidbits like these. Photos, maps and descriptions are included. And it’s all free! Click here to sign up and download a copy.
National Park Week events and GoParks newsletter
- Events Calendar – There are a number of events that park rangers have organized during National Park Week. Check out this calendar.
- Junior Ranger Badges – this part is fun for kids. Bring the kids to a national park and they can earn a park-specific Junior Ranger badge. Check with the park before you visit.
- Military and Veterans Recognition Day April 21 – there are special activities planned on this day to discuss how members of our Armed Services played a part in the history of our parks.
- Wild Wednesday – here’s a fun event. Park personnel will be presenting the “wild side” of their parks. There are sure to be some interesting subjects to learn about on that day – from pirates to wilderness areas!
- Get Healthy – hiking, walking or just sitting on a park bench experiencing fresh air and sunshine has major health benefits for participants. Parks are perfect for this. On April 28, many parks will hold a “ParkRX Day” with special health-related activities such as health screening, hikes or yoga.
- Throwback Thursday – do you have some old photos of you and family at a park? Share those memories on April 25 with the rest of the country. This could be an interesting experience sharing stories and images.
- Sign Up for Free “GoParks” Newsletter – if you love our national parks, you will love getting an awesome monthly email from the National Park Foundation. This colorful newsletter is filled with travel tips, news, interesting stories and promotions. This is park stuff you won’t want to miss. You might just discover something wonderful and new you can add to your outdoor to-do list.
For updates, you can also follow the NPS on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr and iTunes.
America is blessed with an amazing national park system. The landscapes are incredibly diverse, ranging from giant mountain ranges, active volcanoes, to below sea-level deserts and awesome environments in between. Then there are all those fascinating historic sites.
National Park Week, April 20-28, is meant to draw attention to this tremendous gift we all can enjoy. Put it on your calendar and celebrate the week with your family and friends.
You might just inspire future generations of hikers and explorers to put down their cellphones, get outdoors and enjoy these precious national parks.