Ticket to Ride

How We Help

One of the greatest barriers preventing our youth from experiencing the national parks around them is transportation. The goal of the Ticket to Ride program is to provide efficient transportation support for over 100,000 students to visit our national parks annually. Once in the parks, a world of learning begins as young people discover their natural, cultural and historical heritage, participate in volunteer and service-learning activities, enjoy recreational opportunities and most importantly, begin a lifelong relationship with their national parks.

Join us. Support Ticket To Ride and other National Park Foundation programs


Success Story

Ticket to Ride Photos

Ticket To Ride Grantees

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
The Appomattox 1865 Foundation offers "History Passport," a free program designed to get southern central Virginia students out to explore regional historic sites. As Appomattox Court House NHP is located in a very rural area of southern Virginia, the only way to access the park is via car or bus. The entire Prince Edward County School District 4th and 5th grades signed up for History Passport, but cannot get to the park due to lack of funding for transportation.
Badlands National Park
Over the last few years, Badlands has focused attention toward increasing participation of high school aged students and their teachers. The primary goal is to prepare a local Native American workforce to someday manage the first ever Tribal National Park that is proposed for the South Unit of Badlands. The park's role is to be a place where students of all backgrounds come together to learn about and experience the mission and intent of America's National Parks so they are inspired to make public lands a part of their lives, communities, and careers. This grant will support bringing students to the park to experience meaningful programming.
Biscayne National Park
For 1,500 students from Title I Miami-Dade County Public Schools, who would otherwise miss out due to bus transportation costs, this grant will provide a "Ticket to Ride" to Biscayne National Park to participate in the Explorer day program. Along the shoreline of Biscayne Bay, students will engage in hands-on science activities modeled after research conducted by the park's 'grownup' scientists.
Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area
As a collaboration between two urban parks, under-served and under-engaged neighborhood kids will have the opportunity to explore two historic icons and 'new' island. Students from Charlestown, Roxbury and Mattapan, MA will climb the Bunker Hill Monument, board the USS Constitution in the Charlestown Navy Yard and then ferry out to Spectacle Island. With pre- and post- work led by a ranger who has served both parks, we will engage the larger harbor-side and inner-city neighborhoods and strengthen ties between our parks.
Brown V Board of Education National Historic Site
"Take A Seat in the Front and Get On Board" provides classrooms with curriculum based activities, at their local National Park, that compliment national standards, and brings kids into the park to learn about civil rights while at the same time exercising and enjoying America's Great Outdoors.
Cane River Creole National Historical Park and Heritage Area
This project will give students the opportunity to visit several historical sites within Cane River National Heritage Area. Students will learn the importance of each site by conducting a scavenger hunt and taking pictures. The pictures will be developed and the students will then create photo displays about their adventures.
Buck Island Reef National Monument
This year, the park will aim to include all 5th grade students on the island in on-site programming. The possibility of continuing this program will allow us to keep our promise to raise a generation of stewards and bring a decade's worth of 5th graders to our Parks, expose them to public lands, and instruct them on the mission.
Cabrillo National Monument
"Bring Kids to Cabrillo" is a unique and innovative program to bring more than a thousand elementary students over a nine month period from economically under-served areas of San Diego County to Cabrillo National Monument to participate in a curriculum-based, ranger-led education program called "Native Plants, Native People." Up to twenty-two field trips will be offered to under-served elementary schools.
Chamizal National Memorial
This Ticket to Ride project will be used to bring students from urban, often economically disadvantaged, schools to Chamizal National Memorial, one of the largest open spaces in El Paso, for environmental, cultural, and arts education opportunities.
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park's Ticket to Ride "Towpath Explorer Project" empowers student-driven discovery and learning along 184.5 miles of historic canal towpath. Engaging school-aged students in science, math, history, engineering and technology, the Ticket to Ride Towpath Explorer Project features opportunities to connect with thousands of students across grade levels, content areas and school districts.
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
This project proposal seeks to bring third graders from seven Title I schools to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area to increase the students' environmental awareness, decrease their anxiousness about being in the out-of-doors, and offer a fun day of curriculum-based 'outdoor discovery'.
Cowpens National Battlefield
This funding will provide transportation funding to local students who might otherwise never visit Cowpens National Battlefield. This grant will allow us to introduce a new generation to this Revolutionary War battlefield where their freedom was won.
Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
Current student visitation is languishing because of the downturn in the economy and the high transportation costs to reach the park. "Life in an Extreme Ecosystem" will present students with information on 3 of the animals that live in Craters of the Moon, examining how they are able to survive in this harsh young volcanic terrain and high desert environment. At the park, a ranger will guide students in inquiry based learning making measurements, observations, etc. in a lava flow crack environment, a cinder flat environment, and within a lava tube cave.
Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park
This collaborative project between Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park,Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and Fairborn Intermediate School, aims to get young people outdoors and riding bicycles while introducing them to the rich aviation history in Dayton, Ohio and the importance of historic preservation. Bicycles and park helmets will be provided for Fairborn Intermediate School 4th graders for place-based outdoor learning opportunities at Huffman Prairie Flying Field, where through experimentation in 1904 and 1905 the Wright brothers developed the world's first practical airplane.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
The Pocono Environmental Education Center will facilitate the "Over the River and Thru the Woods" outdoor education programs for 500 or more elementary school students from Delaware Valley, East Stroudsburg, Montague and Pt. Jervis School Districts. It is designed to introduce new students to the resources of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and how they and their families can continue to access this park.
Eisenhower National Historic Site
Students from the School District of the City of York in York, Pennsylvania, will visit the Eisenhower National Historic Site to learn about General and President Eisenhower's life and work through hands-on field study and role-playing. The Ticket to Ride will allow the students to leave the city and experience the Eisenhower farm environment while learning about a great American leader.
Everglades National Park
The students of South Florida depend entirely on the Everglades for their drinking water, yet few have ventured out to explore their nearby national park. The sounds of their urban lives are in sharp contrast with the serenity of the Everglades and the calls of wading birds, the grunting of pig frogs, and the bellowing of alligators. The Everglades Environmental Education Program provides an escape from their urban lives as well as an opportunity to learn curriculum lessons through real-world experiences. The "Escape to the Everglades" project will provide 25 buses for 1,125 students from 50 classes to attend a park-based field trip.
Everglades National Park
The Florida Keys are only an hour's drive from Everglades National Park, yet most local students have never had the opportunity to experience it firsthand due to transportation challenges. The park has well-established education programs, but Florida Keys teachers have been unable to attend the requisite workshops in order to qualify for participation. This program would provide student transportation, teacher workshops, and a dedicated park ranger who will continue to build capacity between national parks and schools of the Florida Keys.
Fort Larned National Historic Site
A world of in-depth learning awaits a new generation of Americans at Fort Larned National Historic Site. Each year hundreds of students across Kansas participate in the Kansas Kids Fitness Day and Fall field trips at Fort Larned National Historic Site.
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine is commemorating the 1814 victory that saved Baltimore from British attack and inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star-Spangled Banner, our National Anthem. As part of the Bicentennial Commemoration of the War of 1812, the 200 for the 200th Education Program will enable more than 6,000 underserved students to learn about Fort McHenry, Baltimore City, the Star-Spangled Banner, maritime heritage, African-American participation in the War, and how this history impacts their lives today. In addition to curriculum-based programming, transportation will be provided for all school groups.
Fort Union National Monument
Fort Union is poised and ready to run with hands on curriculum-based programs that align with national, state, and local educational standards. These materials have been developed by teachers, rangers and volunteers over the last 3 years, and have been designed to connect the rural local communities of Las Vegas, Mora, Watrous, and Wagon Mound, New Mexico with the history of the Santa Fe Trail, the Civil War in New Mexico, and the involvement of the student's family histories in working with, serving at, fighting against, or traveling through Fort Union. This grant will help us re-establish a relationship with these schools and demonstrate the value of hands on, place based field education programs.
Gateway National Recreation Area
Schools and community groups living within a mile or two of Gateway NRA are often unaware of the educational and place-based, hand-on learning that are offered. This project will provide transportation to schools for day programs so that students can take advantage of an in-depth education experience with in the park, not constrained by city school bus requirements related to time and location. This program will also create community outreach focused education and summer day programs which will be crafted by Gateway staff and community members together. A special focus will be on activities which will help the park and surrounding communities recover from Super Storm Sandy.
Glacier National Park
This project will double the funding available to schools to apply for travel grants for education field trips to Glacier National Park. It will provide matching funding to supplement what our park partner, the Glacier National Park Conservancy is able to raise. Increasingly, more and more of the schools who participate in park education programs are no longer able to pay for buses and thus, cannot participate in the education programs.
Grand Teton National Park
Change is an integral part of a healthy, enduring forest. When youth explore the changing environment, they learn that nature, much like life, is cyclic. By connecting Native American young people to Grand Teton National Park, we would not only build lasting relationships, but also facilitate learning about fire's role in the ecosystem, understanding fire's role in the Native American culture and investigating public perceptions of fire. This educational partnership would open the door for an under-served audience to experience the Park in a hands-on, interactive, place-based learning environment.
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon is a place of stunning beauty so far outside the realm of most people's daily lives that a visit to the park has the potential to change the lives of those that travel there. Yet, for many of the school-children that live near the park, lack of funding makes it impossible for them to come to the park. Grand Canyon National Park's Environmental Education program brings students to the park and engages them in this amazing outdoor classroom so that they can truly experience one of the world's natural wonders.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Many of the schools that comprise the 20,000 students that participate each year in education field trips to Great Smoky Mountains National Park are lacking funds to continue their visits. Most of these are rural Appalachian, Title 1 schools. This funding will provide bus transportation to groups from school systems in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina to attend park field trips offered at four educational districts in the Smokies.
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Students will begin learning about the barrier islands in the classroom with Gulf Island's 'wilderness travelling trunks.' This classroom instruction includes Leave No Trace principles, outdoor skills, and imperiled species of plants and animals on the barrier islands. The Field Day portion of this program consists of transportation from the students' school to the barrier islands, via boats or buses. Once on the islands, students will first receive resource education programs. Next, students will fulfill a volunteer service project and assist with a beach clean-up. Afterwards, students will picnic on the island, practicing the Leave No Trace principles they learned in class. Later, on the islands, students will receive another resource education program.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Education Department believes strongly in the role of National Parks as spaces essential to the education and maturation of young Americans. According to recent census statistics for the state of West Virginia, 30% of children under the age of 18 live in poverty. Of those identified, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated over 20% as being classifiable over-weight or obese. It is imperative that the children of West Virginia receive opportunities to improve on their current fitness and educational standings through America's National Parks.
Homestead National Monument of America
Homestead National Monument of America works with numerous school districts across the nation through distance learning, onsite programs and offsite programs. Over the years funding for most school field trips has evaporated, but Homestead continues the partnership with area schools by delivering education programs onsite. With this grant the Monument's will fund 3 area schools to come to Homestead during the 2013-2014 school year for on-site education programs. This will strengthen the already established partnerships with the hope that these schools will once again look to fund field trips to their local National Park Service site.
Jean Lafitte National Historic Park & Preserve
Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve is the 2013 BioBlitz site selected by the National Park Service and National Geographic. 2,000 students from the greater New Orleans area are invited to participate in the event on May 17-18. Students will go on assignment with hundreds of scientists, teachers, and volunteers to survey, count, and discover the organisms that live in Barataria Preserve. The Ticket to Ride grant will provide the funding for up to 45 school buses to transport students from lower-income communities and underserved schools to and from the Barataria Preserve to participate in BioBlitz.
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
In this three-part program, the park will facilitate opportunities for young residents of St. Louis to examine the past by exploring their own neighborhood and the downtown core with maps, historic images, cameras, and journals. This will include a visit to the park and walking tour of the riverfront and downtown core. The students will compare what they discover to the present and then make predictions for the future of St. Louis. Students will document their discoveries with photos, videos, sketches, and journal entries.
Joshua Tree National Park
Students from Riverside, California will work with park staff on trails in the park in hope that they will take what they learn back to their community. Based on what students learn on their trip to the park, they will be working and evaluating trails in local parks and greenways in their own backyard. Students will visit the park to learn about trail development, sustainability and interpretation values. The park staff and youth will examine a trail, provide input about what is 'cool' about the trail from a youth perspective, and suggest ideas that interested them at the site. Then, students will return to their local community park and trails, and work with a partnership group to evaluate the community trails, applying what they learned, and see what would make the trail more appealing to youth.
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
This grant will defray the prohibitive transportation costs involved in bussing students an average of 200 miles round trip for field trips to John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Field trips expose children to learning experiences that are high quality and not possible in a school setting. Also, this education program reaches minority Hispanic and Native American students and provides the opportunity for collaboration between scientists, teachers, and students through the Ashfall Discovery program will create opportunities for students to connect to John Day Fossil Beds National Monument resources and learn key aspects of stewardship and resource protection.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
Four hundred Douglas County students will be given this opportunity to learn about the natural environment as well as a key battle in the American Civil War, which occurred nearly in their back yards. Through the Ticket to the Top project, these students will be able to reinforce the curriculum they have been given in the classroom setting through historical and environmental hikes on Kennesaw Mountain NBP trails.
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park will partner with South Shore School, the Urban Wilderness Project, and Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. The project will facilitate involvement of 60 eighth grade students with Mount Rainer National Park and Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Students will be engaged to create art, based on their experience in the parks. The students will interpret their park experience through a variety of media, painting, photography, written or spoken word poetry, dance, essays, cartoons, or other creative efforts they choose. The art collection will be professionally fabricated into a temporary exhibit at KLSE from September through December 2013.
Lyndon B Johnson National Historical Park
President Lyndon Johnson loved the Texas Hill Country. He had a deep attachment to the land and his family's frontier history which he desired to share with others. As a former school teacher, he also knew the importance of education. In a two-prong approach, Farm and Ranch Days & Frontier Life Days combine these ideas by bringing 4th and 5th graders to the park to learn about the President and their choice of either ranching and agriculture or Texas frontier life.
Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site
"Ticket to Possibility" allows students to experience history outside of the classroom and consider its lessons as applications for today's issues, particularly concerning them. Literally hearing Mrs. Bethune's voice and standing in the space where civil rights icons strategized, students will be able to discover a story full of challenges--challenges that were overshadowed by triumph, with education as the centerpiece. Moreover, exposure to the work of Mrs. Bethune and the organization she founded on December 5, 1935--the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., should encourage new thoughts on multiculturalism, equality, and tangible 'possibilities' for achievement.
Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
"Take me to the River" builds lasting connections between urban youth and the Mississippi River by introducing youth and their families to fun outdoor activities they can do their whole lives. Our urban park has a unique opportunity to engage directly with the nearly three million residents of the Twin Cities. Inner-city youth and families with limited economic resources and new immigrant families are both populations that have traditionally been excluded from outdoor recreation. "Take me to the River" will provide these groups with the inspiration to visit their park- and the knowhow- to experience the river in their everyday lives.
Moores Creek National Battlefield
This program is geared towards educating students from the local school system on how ordinary men and women who lived in and around the same areas they live in today helped shape independence, not only in North Carolina, but in America as well. Students from the surrounding rural communities will be able to travel to Moores Creek National Battlefield to explore first-hand the battlefield where independence was fought for and gained by citizen-soldiers.
Natchez Trace Parkway
This project will bring elementary students from underserved audiences to the Natchez Trace Parkway to learn about the resources that will be available to them for the rest of their lives. Depending on grade level objectives, students will be awed by American Indian mounds, and/or hike woodland trails, and/or experience fun, hands-on educational activities at the Natchez Trace Parkway and its visitor center in Tupelo, MS.
National Mall
The National Park Service has the privilege of being entrusted with America's ever evolving national narrative. With the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the People's March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, we have an opportunity and responsibility to provide a broader historical context of a nation's striving for civil rights for all of its citizens. NPS and partners will host a National Youth Summit in Washington D.C. from August 26-28, 2013 that offers young people with opportunities to actively engage and participate in the commemoration. Through sharing pluralistic and inclusive stories of the continued struggle for civil rights, the NPS will encourage and facilitate sharing of information as well as promote community engagement activities.
National Park of American Samoa
Most of the Samoan students throughout the American Samoa islands have never visited their national park. This program will provide opportunities for each local school to transport students to the national park for a ranger-led field trip.
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
This Ticket to Ride project aims to provide transportation to connect children, who are under managed care at urban clinics in downtown New Orleans, to multiple National Park sites over the course of 2013. Children, aged 8-12 who are undergoing treatment for chronic illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, sickle cell anemia, childhood cancer and certain congenital ailments will receive information about the National Park sites during a clinical visit. Pediatricians will prescribe park activities for parents to consider and register their children. Transportation assistance will be provided to families along with an attending physician to engage in NPS sponsored musical, ecological and cultural events at Armstrong Park, the Barataria Preserve, the Chalmette Battlefield and other locales on Saturdays over a 2-3 month period. Pediatricians will conduct clinical follow ups which reinforce the cultural and nature experience. The goal is to safely transport an underserved urban segment of youth to National Park sites to foster learning, stewardship and fun as part of a longer-term wellness plan in partnership with pediatricians.
Nez Perce National Historical Park
Two of the three programs will reach students from 2 counties and the Nez Perce Indian Reservation with unemployment rates between 18 & 25%. Because of their limited budgets and the distance between the schools and other communities and institutions, these students are often denied the opportunities available to students in wealthier or more urban settings. By going into the schools and inviting them to the park to actively take part in projects that are vital to our mission and not just 'fluff' there is a better chance of the students feeling like partners. The third program will reach youth in a correctional facility. The park has never worked with this population before but we have opportunities to make connections with these students by using our natural and cultural resources and offering them outdoor opportunities.
Nicodemus National Historic Site
Students will travel to Ellis, Kansas by bus to visit the railroad station where the first settlers got off the train from Kentucky and touring part of the 40 miles route that the settlers walked through the Happy Hollow area. Next, students will travel by wagon 2 of the last 4 miles approaching Nicodemus and then walk the last 2 miles into town (or less). Once there, they will learn about live on the western prairie including life in a dugout, turning the sod by hand to plant corn, and collecting dried cow chips and corn cobs to burned for heat.
Ozark National Scenic Riverways
Ozark National Scenic Riverways will partner with the area school systems and Mississippi River Delta youth to provide hands-on educational and recreational programs that will immerse new audiences, who are diverse and economically disadvantaged in the Ozark resources. During the exciting "Junior Ranger Day" and "Great American Camp Out," youth exploring, learning, recreating, experiencing, seeing, touching, and immersing themselves in the environment around them through hands-on activities can build understanding, resource connections, relevance, and future stewardship.
Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park
"My Park, My Vision" brings over 2,500 7th grade students in the Brownsville Independent School District to visit to the park. The goal of "My Park" is to introduce students to Palo Alto National Battlefield, engage them in park resources, and gain insight and ideas about ways the students envision the park and ways the park can better engage this underserved audience.
Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail
The OVTA - Wilkes Surry chapter seeks funding to triple their programming in 2013 to a three day event designed to reach up to 3,000 new 4th and 8th grade students. These students will be transported by bus to and from select trail segments where they will walk up to 2 miles per venue hearing the story of the Overmountain Men and the Battle at Kings Mountain. We also are planning a family History Hike on June 2st at Lake James State Park in Nebo, NC where a new 2 mile segment of certified trail is expected to be dedicated.
Russell Cave National Monument
This project will educate at least 5,700 4th through 12th grade Title 1 students in the Jackson County and Dekalb County Alabama public school systems on the basic skills of front country camping. Staff from Russell Cave National Monument and Little River Canyon will partner with staff from the Alabama State Parks system to develop a mix of digital media products and dynamic on-site interpretive programs to accompany the camping curriculum created by the park's Teacher-Ranger-Teacher in the spring of 2012.
San Juan Island National Historical Park
Students grades 3 to 12 will gain hands-on experience and help to restore San Juan Island National Historical Park's American Camp prairie - one of the last of its kind in the Puget Sound/Northern Straits region. The object is to return the prairie to ecological health and acquaint students with stewardship through a real-world application in the great outdoors.
Sequoia National Park
The mission of "Sequoia for Youth" is to create and maintain a financially secure partnership that provides strong curriculum based, experiential outdoor learning. This program promotes an understanding of the interconnection between neighboring cities, the agricultural hub of the San Joaquin Valley, and the Sierra Nevada Mountains with a focus on our shared watershed. Ultimately, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park aims to create an informed citizenry and instill a stewardship ethic in California's youth.
Shenandoah National Park
This project will provide outdoor educational experiences for students in Shenandoah National Park through their participation in the park's well-established curriculum-based education programs. The goal is to reach two underserved/underrepresented audiences: local Title I schools near the park and more distant schools from larger urban areas. These targeted schools have diverse student populations that include English as Second Language students as well as economically disadvantaged students who rarely have the means or opportunity to travel to Shenandoah for an educational field trip.
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
Participants explore one of America's most influential presidents, how he is linked to their home city, and what he can teach us about the enjoyment of the natural world. As President, Theodore Roosevelt sought to protect natural wonders for future generations. Visiting students will learn about the natural spaces open to them, from National Parks to their local community park or garden.
Timpanogos Cave National Monument
This project is a collaborative effort from the Timpanogos Kids in Nature group consisting of Timpanogos Cave National Monument, the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Utah State Parks, Sundance Nature Preserve, Thanksgiving Point Discovery Gardens and the Hutchings Museum to provide a series of outdoor curriculum based learning experiences for underserved students. Title I school students will be transported to each partnership site to participate in a hands-on activity dealing with environmental preservation and caring for their public lands that is directly relevant to the earth science unit they are studying in the classroom.
Voyageurs National Park
"The Ecology Cruise" is an opportunity to experience the interior of Voyageurs National Park from the water, as it is meant to be seen. This grant will provide transportation of over 800 fourth graders from low-income counties to the park and access to the Voyageur floating classroom. Gateway community youth will have the unique opportunity to learn about loons, eagles or pond ecology, while experiencing the fresh air and view from the upper deck of the Voyageur.
Zion National Park
Working with carefully selected partners , Zion National Park will provide bus transportation to introduce students to the concepts of diversity and sustainability. The program will proceed through a series of learning experiences beginning in the classroom, followed by a curriculum and inquiry-based learning experience in Zion National Park, and culminating with post-visit activities in the classroom.
Yellowstone National Park
The project will bring about 300 students and 65 adults to travel to Yellowstone to participate in either the 4-5 day Expedition: Yellowstone! curriculum-based residential education program or in the 2-4 day ranger-led Yellowstone Field Trip program. Welcoming Native American youth to the lands their ancestors walked upon will also serve to strengthen relationships between Yellowstone and its associated tribes. By engaging youth in healthy outdoor physical activities and hands-on, place-based, interactive learning, staff will open the doors to future stewardship and preservation of ecosystems in and beyond the Park, as well as to reinforce the cultural and historical value of the tribal contributions to this landscape.
Lowell National Historical Park
Lowell NHP and its industrial past- from the great technological achievements to the horrors of industrial pollution- serve as a novel 'classroom' that provides a strong platform on which to refine and build successful environmental programs. 'Ticket to Ride' will allow LNHP to reach out to underserved students and new communities for an exciting learning experience during which they conduct water quality tests and investigations of macroinvertabrates to assess the health of the Merrimack River watershed.