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Students listen to a park ranger, who holds up a map to the group

Open OutDoors for Kids

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Open OutDoors for Kids field trip to Olympic National Park
NPF Photo / Dawn Kish


Connecting and inspiring the next generation through our national parks.

Building on a child’s innate wonder and curiosity about the natural world, Open OutDoors for Kids connects students to their national parks through field trips, classroom engagements, and educational activities.

Through multiple immersive experiences, including both field trips and virtual classroom activities, NPF is able to help more students experience national parks. Hoping to help mold lifelong national park stewards, this program helps students, teachers, and families feel safe and supported as they explore national parks, connecting youth to STEM and humanities-based knowledge, and leverages social-emotional learning to promote physical and emotional health and civic engagement skills.

Using the spectacular and unparalleled resources of our nation's 400+ national parks, the program connects more children to their culture and heritage, enhances hands-on learning opportunities, and deepens connections to the natural world.

Program Stories

Learn more about NPF's Open OutDoors for Kids program and the projects it funds in parks.

  • A group of students gather to listen to a park ranger
    Field Trips Open New Doors for Urban Parks
    A team of seasonal education rangers at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is using NPF funding to scale their field trip program to 20,000 students in just one year.
A young girl looks at an animal skull

By the Numbers

  • 2M
    Since 2011, more than 2 million kids have been connected to our national parks through hands-on learning with Open OutDoors for Kids.
  • 84
    Unique Education Programs
    In the 2022-23 school year, Open OutDoors for Kids grants have helped create and deploy 84 unique place-based and hybrid educational programs across states and U.S. territories.

Program Highlights

A stream runs over smooth, multi-colored stones at the side of a red canyon wall
Canyon Connections

Zion National Park invited fourth graders into an immersive program focused on an introduction to the park and southwest ecosystems. Park rangers engaged students through pre-visit virtual or in-class lessons coupled with an immersive full-day field trip where students learned about park stewardship and Leave No Trace principles. Through the experience, students connected with the benefits of outdoors and nature as places for reflection, connection, and transformation.

Stone steps leading up to a domed structure
The Movement, the Monument, and Me

In its second year, Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, in cooperation with St. Paul United Methodist Church, 16th Street Baptist Church, The Historic Bethel Baptist Church, and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, inspired local fourth graders to go beyond classroom learning and explore the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, understanding the global impact of the desegregation efforts that took place in Birmingham in 1963 and relating the knowledge they gained through the program to their own lives and environment.

Autumnal-hued trees surround a meadow. Along a trail is a wooden structure with benches underneath, as well as a bench.
History Revealed: Voices of River Raisin

River Raisin National Battlefield engaged students in an exploration of the River Raisin National Battlefield Park in Monroe, Michigan and the untold stories of the War of 1812 in the Great Lakes. Through their experience, students gained and understanding and appreciation for conflict resolution and how their actions can affect others. Through its widely untold history, this program also introduced students to indigenous voice and perspective on the War of 1812 and its impact on tribal sovereignty through a partnership with the Great Lakes Native Nations.

tidepools in volcanic formations on a tropical landscape
Earth, Sea, Sky: Creating Connection

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park brought students along a series of learning opportunities offered through the park (earth) and its partners, NOAA’s Mokupāpapa Discovery Center for Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (sea), and ʻImiloa Astronomy Center (sky), where they were introduced to the interconnectedness of nature. Through participation in field trips with each organization, virtually or in-person, students learned how interdependent life is on the island of Hawaiʻi, as well as how we can “mālama ʻāina,” or care for the world around us. The program won the 2023 NPS Excellence in Education Award.

Program Updates


Thank You

Open OutDoors for Kids is made possible thanks to funding from Youth Engagement & Education premier partner Union Pacific Railroad, partners Apple, Chick-fil-A Inc., Columbia Sportswear, General Motors, Humana, Sierra, and additional generous donors.