What better way to celebrate Earth Day than visiting one of America’s greatest environmental accomplishments — a local national park. With 401 reserves total, there’s at least one gorgeous ground in every state, and thanks to National Park Week, admission will be waived this Saturday and Sunday (April 19 & 20)! Even if you can’t make it on the weekend, there’ll be special activities for you and the kids until the 27th. Read on to find out kind of events there are to explore.

national-parks-week-las-vegas-kidPhoto: Lake Mead NRA Public Affairs via Flickr creative commons

Explore Nature’s Stomping Ground
If you haven’t heard by now, every national park in the country is giving free admission on April 19 & 20! There’ll be plenty of activities at each park, which also depends what state you’re in. The opportunities vary from sand to shore. Bring your family to see reenactments of soldiers encamped in a historic village, or find yourselves out on the bay searching for grey whales. There’s something to do for everyone. Start narrowing down your options on the events calendar by selecting your state and park.

Coming Tuesday, April 22, is Earth Day. What’s a better place to roll up your sleeves and get dirty than at your national park? Come together as a community and find a park nearby where you and the family can volunteer and help out Mother Earth.

National Junior Ranger Day is great time for the kids. While the official day is April 26, some parks may have their special event at the start of the week, so check the calendar. This a kid-centric day is a free event with age-varying activities like learning about wildflowers or learning how to climb (safe) ledges. Let your intrepid explorers complete a series of activities during their park visit and share their answers with a park ranger. There’s no time limit either, so your budding naturalists are free to move at their own pace.


Photo: National Park Service via Flickr creative commons

After your rangers-in-training have finished, they’ll receive an official Junior Ranger badge or patch and a Junior Ranger certificate that they’ll be proud show off to friends and fam. This program is a great way to learn more about the national parks in your backyard and get your little ones excited about exploring the outdoors.


Photo: Pfly via Flickr creative commons

Your family doesn’t have to just travel the dusty roads on foot – you can also go hiking, bicycling, kayaking and camping at a national park near you! As always, bring plenty of water, light clothing and plenty of sun screen.

Not sure which national parks you should go to? Head over to the National Park Services site and use their Find-A-Park search function to find out. You might just even discover a park you never knew was close by!

Do you have any activities planned for National Park Week? Why not go wild for nature!