National Parks Waive Entrance Fees September 24

Saturday, September 24, 2011

(Washington, D.C.) – This September 24, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, invite Americans to go for a walk, kick a ball, plant a tree, or simply relax in a national park in observance of National Public Lands Day. As part of the 18th annual celebration, the National Park Service will waive all entrance fees and host special events for visitors and volunteers.

“Ranging from the community playground to the world’s first national park, about one third of our country’s land is public space – set aside for all of us to enjoy,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Whether you prefer to lend a hand on a volunteer project or just take it easy, Let’s Move Outside on National Public Lands Day and experience these wonderful places.”

For the largest National Public Lands Day event taking place this year, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation have partnered with Nickelodeon to host the 8th annual Worldwide Day of Play. The flagship Worldwide Day of Play event will take place in Washington, D.C. on the Ellipse in President’s Park, next to the White House. This year’s Worldwide Day of Play will be the biggest yet, with an entire day of physical activities and games for kids and their families to encourage active and healthy lifestyles.

The National Park Service has developed a special Junior Ranger program for the day that will give kids a pedometer and encourage them to walk the length of trails in national parks across the country.  National park rangers will also help kids try out a climbing wall and test their speed in a tent-raising race.

Also on September 24, Nickelodeon’s networks and website will go dark from 12 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (ET/PT) in an effort to inspire kids and families to get up and get active. Visit http://www.worldwidedayofplay.com for more information.

In addition to the Worldwide Day of Play activities taking place in Washington, D.C., National Public Lands Day will be celebrated in national parks coast-to-coast.  Here are some great ways to enjoy the day – and the fee free admittance – to all of America’s 395 national parks.

CALIFORNIA
John Muir National Historic Site - Grand opening of the renovated visitor center

COLORADO
Florissant Fossil Beds National MonumentNo Child Left Inside Day “unplug” and join in fun games and music

HAWAII
Hawaii Volcanoes National ParkLei, Hula, and ‘Ukulele Lessons

LOUSIANA
Jean Lafitte National Historical ParkFolklife Demonstrations of Cajun music, dancing, and quilting

MICHIGAN
Pictured Rocks National LakeshoreAu Sable Day 2011 celebrates the park’s 1874 light station with tours and games

MINNESOTA
Mississippi National River & Recreation AreaPaddleboat RAVE!

MISSISSIPPI
Natchez Trace ParkwayPioneer Day

VERMONT
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park Forest Festival Weekend with horse-drawn wagon rides and wood crafts for kids

VIRGINIA
Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park and Richmond National Battlefield Park are just two of the Civil War parks featuring living history encampments

National Public Lands Day is the country’s biggest single-day effort to spruce up parks and other open space. Volunteer work projects are planned for every state. There are 70 national parks among the hundreds of sites hosting events. Sign up and join 170,000 people who are going to come out and help care for the land that day. A complete list can be found at http://www.publiclandsday.org. Every volunteer will receive a voucher for free entrance to a national park on a future day of their choosing.

FLORIDA
Help remove marine debris at Biscayne National Park

GEORGIA
Restoration work on historic homes at Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site

GUAM
Plant native seeds at War in the Pacific National Historical Park

IOWA
Reconstruct an 81-acre tallgrass prairie at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

PENNSYLVANIA
Plant flowers at the Liberty Bell Center

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 395 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
You are the owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites -- all protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks.  Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks.  We work hand in hand with the National Park Service to connect you and all Americans to the parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow.  Join us at www.nationalparks.org.

Marjorie Hall
Director, Communications
National Park Foundation
1201 Eye Street, NW Suite 550B
Washington, DC 20005
Direct:  202-354-6480
mhall@nationalparks.org