The National Park Foundation is offering FREE passes to every 4th grader in the USA and their families. The “Every Kid in a Park” initiative provides free access to national parks, historic sites, national monuments and more, for the 2015-2016 school year.
So any 4th grader in any of the 50 states can bring a carload of family members free (parking fees are not includes in the free pass) to hike, bike, camp out, fish, canoe, swim, or tour a museum.
The Every Kid in a Park pass is good for free admission into national parks through August 31, 2016
In order to receive a pass, children have to participate in a “diary” and education activities online, which teach about the importance of protecting and respecting the environment, and receive a printable pass upon completion.
The Every Kid in a Park initiative was launched by the Obama Administration as part of its commitment to protect our nation’s unique outdoor spaces and ensure that every American has the opportunity to visit and enjoy them.
According to the National Park Foundation, more than 80 percent of American families today live in urban areas, and many lack easy access to safe outdoor spaces. At the same time, kids are spending more hours than ever in front of TV and mobile device screens instead of outside.
The Every Kid in a Park initiative encourages valuable opportunities to explore, learn, and play in the spectacular places that belong to us all and aims to inspire stewardship of these places for future generations.
The goal of the Every Kid in a Park initiative is to inspire fourth graders nationwide to visit our federal lands and waters, whether it is a backyard city park or a national forest, a seashore, or a marine sanctuary. By targeting fourth graders year after year, the program works to ensure every child in the U.S. has the opportunity to visit and enjoy their federal lands and waters by the time he or she is 11 years old.
Why fourth graders? Research shows that children ages 9-11 are at a unique developmental stage in their learning where they begin to understand how the world around them works in more concrete ways. At this stage, they are receptive to new ideas and most likely to hold positive attitudes towards nature and the environment.
Every Kid in a Park is an Administration-wide effort supported by the U.S. Department of the Interior (which includes the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Forest Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
You need to print your pass and bring it with you when you visit. Electronic copies aren’t accepted. Each pass has a unique code. That means you can’t copy it and give it to friends, so encourage your friends to get their own pass if they’re in the fourth grade. At certain participating sites, fourth graders can exchange the paper pass for a durable plastic Interagency Annual 4th Grade Pass
Fore more information, visit the National Park’s Every Kid in a Park web page.
Some of my own favorite memories are hiking, canoeing and camping with my own children, including in Yosemite National Park, pictured above.
photos courtesy National Park Service