National Park Week is an annual celebration that takes place in April to honor the United States’ national heritage. The National Park Service partners with the National Park Foundation for a week-long event that spans the entire country. This year, families should mark their calendars for free park admission days, special activities for kids and charity events and projects that all ages can get involved in. Here’s what your family needs to know about National Park Week 2015.
When Is It?
National Park Week 2015 runs April 18 through April 26, 2015.
Where Is It Being Celebrated?
Every national park in the United States participates in this annual event. Families all across the country, from Alaska to Tennessee, can get involved and enjoy the outdoor fun. Find a national park near you.
What Are the Special Events Taking Place?
Opening weekend – April 18 and 19 – kicks off with free admission for all visitors at all national parks across the United States. Additional free national park admission days throughout the year include August 25, the National Park Service’s Birthday; September 26, National Public Lands Day; and November 11, Veterans Day.
Also during opening weekend, Saturday April 18 is National Junior Ranger Day, where kids can explore, learn, protect and be sworn in as junior rangers during their visit. Geared toward children ages 5 to 13 (though all ages can join in on the fun!), Junior Ranger Programs are offered at every national park and require children to complete a series of activities throughout the park before submitting the assignments to a ranger. Upon completion, kids receive an official Junior Ranger patch and Junior Ranger certificate. For more information on Junior Ranger Programs, visit the National Park Service website.
April 22 is Earth Day and all are invited to dig in and help preserve and protect our national parks. Families can get involved in a number of ways before, during and after their visit to a national park. Sign up to be a volunteer, join a park Friends Group or simply make a donation. Visit the National Park Service website for more ways to help out.
A few other notable events at specific parks throughout the U.S. include:
- Wildflower Day, April 18 at Mammoth Cave National Park, All Day
- Star Party, April 18 at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, 9 to 11 p.m.
- Kite Festival, April 18-19 at Petrified Forest National Park, 9 a.m. to Noon
- Living History Weekend, April 18-19 at Gettysburg National Military Park, All Day
– Hilarey Wojtowicz