Every April the National Park Service joins with the National Park Foundation to celebrate National Park Week. It’s a week to celebrate all things parks including the scenery, history, and culture protected in our national parks.
Whether you’re visiting your first park or your 400th, National Park Week is the perfect time to visit a park, share your stories, and give back. Today we’re posting everything you need to know about National Park Week to help you plan your own celebration!
1. National Park Week is always held in mid-April.
National Park Week is always held in mid-April in conjunction with Earth Day. In 2019, National Park Week begins the third Saturday, April 20th and runs through Saturday, April 28th. The week is designated via Presidential proclamation as a celebration of our most treasured landmarks and landscapes. To get a sense of what we celebrate during National Park Week, check out this “National Parks: A Love Story” video from the NPS:
2. Park entrance fees are waived on the first day of National Park Week.
Every year the National Park Service waives entrance fees for the more than 100 park units that charge admission. It gives all Americans the opportunity to enjoy the parks that belong to each one of us.
To find out what days have free-admission this year check out our post: Visit a National Park for Free in 2019.
3. The first National Park Week took place in 1991.
President George H.W. Bush was an ardent supporter of the national parks. In 1991, during his administration, the National Park Service celebrated its 75th anniversary. In honor of the occasion, President Bush was the first to designate National Park Week in April. He also created 14 new national parks while serving as our 41st president.
4. Each day of National Park Week has a special celebration.
For each day of National Park Week, the National Park Service chooses a special aspect of the parks to celebrate. Individual park units design special programming geared towards each of these special celebration days. Check out the 2019 schedule:
Saturday, April 20 – National Junior Ranger Day
National Park Week kicks off with the youngest generation in mind.
Sunday, April 21 – Military & Veterans Recognition Day
On Sunday, A
Monday, April 22 – Earth Day
More than 1 billion people around the planet join together each year for Earth Day, a celebration to raise global awareness and take action to protect the environment. The National Park Service honors Earth Day as a part of National Park Week since stewardship, preservation, and restoration are some of the primary missions of the NPS.
It’s the perfect day to spend in a national park. Earth Day service projects occur throughout the National Park Service. Find out how you can volunteer in the parks here: Ways to Volunteer for the NPS.
Tuesday, April 23 – Transportation Tuesday
Many of the units in the National Park Service commemorate transportation and how it has transformed our country. From the sled dogs in Denali National Park to the world-famous Going-to-the-Sun Road, how we move around is imbedded into the parks.
Not only does the park service maintain some of the most gorgeous roads and routes, but also the Park Service is responsible for the maintenance of historic transportation infrastructure projects. Transportation Tuesday is a way to highlight the current need for maintenance and the growing backlog of projects.
Wednesday, April 24 – Wild Wednesday
Where would our parks be without the critters that call them home? Celebrate Wild Wednesday in the national parks by spending some time outdoors, hiking or watching wildlife. Here some of our favorite places to get up close and personal with national park wildlife:
- 3 Best Places to Spot Wildlife in Grand Teton National Park
- Where to See Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
- 3 Places to See Wildlife in the Redwoods
Thursday, April 25 – Throwback Thursday
The National Park Service invites everyone to celebrate #throwbackthursday with a special throwback to the historical events that have shaped our parks and our country’s history.
“History happened and memories are made in national parks. Explore the history preserved in national parks while also learning about the ongoing efforts of the National Park Service and partners to preserve America’s cultural treasures in communities across the country. Maybe even share theFor more on Throwback Thursday – visit https://www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/throwback-thursday.htm
historyyour family and friends made while visiting a national park during your lifetime.”
Friday, April 26 – Friendship Friday
Saturday, April 27, BARK Ranger Day
In recent years, the National Park Service has started the BARK Ranger initiative to help visitors learn responsible ways for their furry friends to enjoy the parks too. BARK stands for:
- B – Bag your pet’s waste
- A – Always wear a leash
- R – Respect wildlife
- K – Know where you can go
It’s also a chance for the Park Service to highlight how service animals help park rangers and staff protect the safety of visitors and the environment throughout the national parks. Bring your pet to a park for BARK Ranger Day!
Sunday, April 28, Park Rx Day
Hundreds of publications now support the benefits that spending time in nature can have on our physical and mental health. Doctors are joining the movement to write prescriptions for spending time in nature. On the final day of National Park Week, the NPS highlights these benefits on Park Rx Day. The Park Service invites you to get a “Healthy Dose of the National Parks” with special hikes, health screenings, and activities like yoga.
5. There’s a pre-party Twitter chat.
If none of the events above spark your interest, perhaps the pre-party social media party to launch the week of events might. On Thursday, April 18th beginning at 1 PM EST, you can join the conversation online to kick off the celebration. During the week there will be special park ranger emoji on Twitter when you use the hashtag #findyourpark.
Other NPS hashtags for the week:
|National Park Week (April 20-28)
|#NationalParkWeek, #FindYour Park / #EncuentraTuParque
|Wild Wednesday (April 24)
|National Junior Ranger Day (April 20)
|Throwback Thursday (April 25)
|Military & Veterans Recognition Day (April 21)
|Friendship Friday (April 26)
|Earth Day (April 22)
|BARk Ranger Day (April 27)
|Transportation Tuesday (April 23)
|Park Rx Day (April 28)
6. National Park Week is a partnership with the National Park Foundation
If you haven’t heard of the National Park Foundation, National Park Week is the perfect opportunity to learn more. The National Park Foundation is the official charity of the NPS. All the events for the week are sponsored and hosted by the foundation. Established by Congress in 1967, the NPF’s mission is to enrich “America’s national parks and programs through the support of private citizens, park lovers, stewards of nature, history enthusiasts, and wilderness adventurers.”
7. There are lots of ways you can celebrate National Park Week.
There’s no better time for #parkchasing than National Park Week. Join friends and family to create your own plans.
Visit a park.
The nearest national park unit may be closer to home than you think. Plan that dream vacation or just spend an afternoon hiking your local park. Either way, get to a national park at some point during the week. Use our “Guides to Park C
Share the parks.
Spread the word about why you love the national parks with the rest of the world! Here are some ideas to share the parks.
- Post pictures of your favorite parks and why you value them.
- Share this post so friends and family know about NPS Week.
- Update your Facebook profile with National Park Service frames.
- Change your profile photos to a picture of you in a national park.
- Join our Facebook and Instagram community of #parkchasers.
Donate your time to a volunteer project or make a financial contribution to one of the many charitable partners of the National Park Service. There’s no better way to show how much the parks mean to you than with a gift of your time, talents or treasure. To learn more about volunteering or donating, check out the NPS website: https://www.nps.gov/getinvolved/donate.htm
Have National Park Week Plans? Share them with us in the comments below or on Facebook!