The Every Kid in the Park program, now called Every Kid Outdoors, is all about helping kids get outside to learn about our natural wonders and historic sights.
The initiative is made available from The National Park Service and aims to provide 4th graders with a free annual pass to visit the over 400 units of the National Park System as well as federal recreation areas of land and water.
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Why Just Fourth Graders?
Research indicates that children in 4th grade, or age 9-11, are at an age that they can really start to understand how the world works around them. At this age, they are more apt to be engaged with nature and the environment as they learn. Getting kids in the parks and engaged with the world around them helps us raise responsible and informed adults.
What if My Younger or Older Child Wants to Participate?
Let them be part of The Junior Ranger Program! The Junior Ranger program is an activity-based program that you can find in almost all of the national parks. It is typically for children between the ages of 5 and 13, but people of all ages can participate.
To be a Junior Ranger, kids will interview a ranger, complete a series of activities during their visit to the park, share their answers, and receive their official Junior Ranger patch and certification.
They also offer a Junior Ranger Online program where kids can participate in online and printable activities. Parks will often post information and activities online for kids to discover and learn. This is a great way to view special parks and watch the wildlife from the comfort of your own home. It is also a great way to become a Junior Ranger online if you cannot get out to any of the national areas.
How to Get Involved with Every Kid Outdoors
In order to enjoy the vast amount of federally managed lands and waters, your 4th grader will need a special pass. Getting the pass is easy.
- Head over to Every Kid Outdoors to get your free pass.
- Participate in a short educational activity.
- Print your free passes.
What do I do with the pass?
Now that you have your free pass, enjoy the national lands and waters when you and your family head out on a vacation or field trip.
The pass is good for free entry for your 4th grader to any of the participating areas. No matter where you live, you have a participating area that is not too far away and within driving distance. A complete list can be found here.
This pass will have a unique code for 4th graders. If you have more than one 4th grader, you will need to get a pass for each child.
However, kids can bring a few friends and family into the parks with them. The pass grants free entry for fourth graders, all children under 16 in the group, and up to three accompanying adults. It is also good for an entire carload if you are going to visit a drive-in park. The pass is only for free entry into the areas and does not cover fees for camping, boat rides, etc.