WASHINGTON – The National Park Service and the National Park Foundation are hosting nine days of ways to #FindYourPark during National Park Week. From Saturday, April 16 through Sunday, April 24, parks across the country will invite visitors to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial through a variety of events, from Junior Ranger Day programs, to volunteer activities, to engaging in a “park prescription.” Following are just a few of the many ways to celebrate National Park Week.
1. Get in Free
Admission to all national parks will be free throughout the nine days of National Park Week. They are nine of the 16 days this year when all National Park Service entrance fees will be waived to help celebrate the Centennial. The fee-free days provide a great opportunity to visit a new place or an old favorite, especially one of the 126 national parks that normally charge an entrance fee. The others are free all of the time.
2. Become a Centennial Junior Ranger
Celebrate two important anniversaries this year with two new Junior Ranger books. Available at parks throughout the country, a new booklet celebrating the NPS Centennial invites kids of all ages to explore the wonders of national parks with cool conservation tips, fun facts, and activities. A booklet highlighting the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act helps kids learn about preserving historic sites. On April 16, National Junior Ranger Day, parks across the country will offer kid friendly activities.
3. Celebrate Historical Connections
From Gila Cliff Dwellings, to San Antonio Missions, to Independence Hall, to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthplace, to the nation’s newest park, Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, national parks tell the story of our country. The National Park Service’s history and heritage travel programs can help you find a historic site near you. Explore important moments in American history and make your own historical connection.
4. Go Digital
Digital technology is the primary platform for making travel plans, learning about science and history, and connecting with national parks and programs. During National Park Week, discover a new ranger emoji when you Tweet using the hashtag #FindYourPark or #EncuentraTuParque. Explore sites like FindYourPark.com and nps.gov for ideas and inspiration about ways to connect with parks during National Park Week and throughout the 2016 centennial. You can also check out the National Park Foundation’s free downloadable national park guides at www.nationalparks.org/national-park-owner’s-guides.
5. Become a VIP (Volunteer in Park)
In 2015, more than 440,000 volunteers donated almost eight million hours to support national parks. Volunteers greet visitors, clear trails, collect scientific data, and much more. Their work enables parks to serve their mission to protect America’s important places for future generations and to share them with the world. Visit a park and thank a volunteer – and consider joining the team.
6. Take a Kid to a Park
As part of the Every Kid in a Park program, 4th graders and their families can explore national parks and other public lands for free. 4th graders can complete a fun activity at EveryKidinAPark.gov, download their voucher, and take it to any national park. Discover America’s natural wonders and the places where people made our nation what it is today.
7. Commemorate Earth Day
On April 22, Celebrate Earth Day in a national park – whether it’s helping with a special project or discovering wonders of an amazing place. You can check out the Earth Day Electronics Recycling Collection at Point Reyes National Seashore, join park ecologists in planting native trees in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, celebrate the day at Shenandoah National Park’s “John Muir--University of the Wilderness” concert, and much more!
8. Join a National Park Instameet
Throughout the centennial, park-lovers are using social media to share their park experiences. On April 23, the National Park Service’s #FindYourPark Instameet will bring visitors, parks, NPS programs, and partners together for a virtual centennial celebration. Join the party! Find a park – like Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and Petrified Forest National Park or one close to you – and gather in a designated place at a specific time to take photos and short videos to post on Instagram (and other social media) with these hashtags: #FindYourParkInstaMeet, #FindYourPark, #EncuentraTuParque, #NPS100.
9. Fill a Park Prescription
Give yourself the gift of good health by getting outdoors in a park near you on National Park Rx Day on April 24. Health care providers are increasingly promoting time in nature as an element of overall wellness. Even a simple stroll has proven health benefits. Visit a park near you or join the fun at one of the sites hosting a Park Rx Day event.
Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque is a public awareness and education movement to inspire people from all backgrounds to connect with, celebrate, and support America’s national parks and community-based programs that help revitalize communities and commemorate local heritage.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 411 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at: www.nps.gov.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, a $350 million comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.