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Every Kid in a Park
Last fall, my little family of three, along with the several of our friends and their families discovered a serious love for day hiking. I’ve blogged several times about our favorite trails (so far) and we’re really looking forward to the cooler weeks ahead and a nice fall hiking season.
We haven’t yet sprung for a National Parks annual pass, though it was our intention to do so, as so many of the coolest trails listed and reviewed online within a reasonable distance for a day hike are in Yosemite or Sequoia National Parks. This weekend however, I learned about a really exciting opportunity for many families (ours included, woot woot!) to enjoy national park admission free for an entire year!
The Every Kid in a Park program was created by President Obama, to help ensure all 4th graders (and home-schooling 4th grade equivalent students) have the opportunity to experience natural wonders firsthand. Studies have shown that children between the ages of 9 and 11 benefit exponentially by being exposed to outdoor learning and nature exploration, so this special program was created to provide 4th graders and their families with free access to all federal lands throughout a child’s entire 4th grade year!
All 4th graders are eligible to sign up for and print an “Every Kid in a Park Pass”, and their trips provide for siblings and up to three adults (or the entire family present in a car, if admission is charged per vehicle) to enter national parks and other federal lands at no cost!
So, if you have a 4th grader in your family – now is the time to begin planning your own day hikes, camping trips and outdoor adventures because the entire country’s public land system is ready to welcome your kiddo into a world of learning and adventures! According to the Every Kid in a Park website, all children live within two hours of a participating location – so even if you’re traveling in different parts of the country, you can take advantage of this awesome opportunity.
To print a pass for your 4th grader, all you have to do is help them to go online and visit the program’s page here: https://www.everykidinapark.gov/get-your-pass/fourth-grader He or she will answer a few fun questions to create a mock journal entry about what they would do on a fun, outdoor adventure day, and then you will be directed to their pass and printing instructions. (Note: passes must be printed – electronic passes will not be accepted, so be sure you plan for printer access. If you do lose your pass, you can simply print a new one.)
Once you have your pass in hand, it’s time to plan your trips! Hopefully, you are as excited as I am about this great program, and I hope I’ll be seeing you and your family out on the trails! Enjoy!
For a full list of participating areas nearest you, visit this site: http://findyourpark.com/find