If you have a child in fourth grade—or a 10-year-old kid—the National Park Service has a deal for you! A new program called “Every Kid in a Park” has just been announced that will give your child a free pass to get your whole family into any federal land that has an entrance fee completely free for the next year. The National Park Service goal is to put real meaning behind President Obama’s pledge that, “No matter who you are, no matter where you live, our parks, our monuments, our lands, our waters — these places are your birthright as Americans.”
Getting Every Kid in a Park pass is simple and takes advantage of the skill that virtually every 10-year-old in America has: surfing the Internet. Just go to the Every Kid in a Park web page. Complete a quick question-and-answer game, and then print the free national park pass from the web page. The printed pass can be used immediately to get into Zion National Park or any other federal land or water. However, you must print the Every Kid in a Park free pass; you can’t use an electronic copy of the pass such as your tablet computer or cell phone.
If you enter the national park in a vehicle, everyone in the vehicle gets in free. If you walk in, the pass will admit three adults and any kids with them under the age of 16. There is one main condition: The fourth grader who earned the free pass must be one of the kids. The Every Kid in a Park pass is good until Aug. 31, 2016.
Michelle Nielsen’s fourth grader, Lily Nielsen, got a pass for her family through the program in St. George. Michelle and Brandon Nielsen plan to use Lily’s pass to visit Grand Canyon later this year with their whole family. The entire process took less than five minutes. Michelle Nielsen said, “I think this is just such a fantastic opportunity for family and friends to get together and do something outside in nature and in the national parks and explore new areas and new parks.”
“Fourth grade is a great year,” Baltrus said. “Most students are studying their local area and American history. This will hopefully help to open up the country to them, along with all of its compelling stories, fantastic resources, and recreational opportunities, whether it takes them deeper into their backyard or across the country.”
For more information on the Every Kid in a Park program and to get your free national park pass, visit www.everykidinapark.gov. Then get out there and start exploring.