Each year on National Park Week, parks across the United States hold events and special programs to celebrate our nation's natural treasures -- and this year is no exception.
National Park Service officials said to kick off the celebratory week, which runs April 20-28, all admission fees will be waived on Saturday.
There will be special days during the week to highlight different ways of enjoying the parks, including:
- Saturday, April 20: National Junior Ranger Day
Let your child of any age explore learn and protect their national parks by becoming a junior ranger. They can help become part of a team that helps to keep our parks healthy.
- Sunday, April 21: Military and Veterans Recognition Day
Military and national parks share strong ties, going back to to the establishment of Yellowstone in 1872 -- the world’s first national park, according to NPS. Many parks were areas where training and care of military personnel took place during World War II. Dozens of those parks now commemorate military battles and achievements. Take the day to discover those who have protected our freedom, by learning about these places that shaped our country’s military history.
- Monday, April 22: Earth Day
There will be a number of fun activities to take part in at national parks to celebrate the planet. You can become a volunteer, learn about nature and science in parks, check out the rocks, dip your feet into lakes and oceans along shorelines, paint blooming flowers, and for those who are still in areas where there’s snow, take part in ice climbing or snowshoeing.
- Tuesday, April 23: Transportation Tuesday
In the early 1900s, railroads promoted parks and travel for tourism. The automobile expanded that access and now, scenic roads have been important to visitor experience by providing routes to extraordinary views. Learn about large infrastructure projects, alternative transportation, bridges and more.
- Wednesday, April 24: Wild Wednesday
Go wild in a national park! Take a hike, watch wildlife and wildflowers, sleep under the stars and explore. Whatever you do, make sure you share it on social media using #WildWednesday.
- Thursday, April 25: Throwback Thursday
Celebrate Throwback Thursday by making a visit, take then and now pictures, relive a memory you have as a kid at a park, learn about the past and celebrate the present or one of these other great ideas.
- Friday, April 26: Friendship Friday
Get involved with a group that carries out projects and programs, from raising funds to rehabilitation of centuries-old structures.
- Saturday, April 27: BARK Ranger Day
Take your furry friend along with you this week so that they can be a ranger, too. Just visit a park, take the pledge and get a badge.
- Sunday, April 28: Park Rx Day
Give yourself the gift of good health by getting to a park and enjoying the outdoors. ParkRx are programs designed to collaborate with others to improve individual and community health.
If you make it by one of your national parks during the weeklong celebration and feel like sharing it on social media, be sure to include #NationalParkWeek.
And while National Park Week doesn’t officially begin until Saturday, you can get an early start on Thursday by getting in on National Park Foundation’s Twitter chat, where park champions will unite to share their favorite tips and stories about national parks.