Welcome to National Park Week 2021!
We’re excited to be joining in the celebration of America’s Best Idea and all-things national parks. Throughout the week, we’ll be sharing tips and ideas on how you can celebrate our nation’s favorite places and spaces.
We’d love to have you share on social media how you’ll be celebrating this year. Use the NPS hashtags #nationalparkweek2021 and #parkchasers to join in the fun!
Here’s what you need to know about this week’s events:
All About National Park Week 2021
Before we launch into how to celebrate National Park Week 2021, let’s first answer the question:
What is National Park Week?
Every April, the President of the United States declares the week prior to Earth Day as National Park Week. This year, we’re celebrating National Park Week 2021 from April 17th to April 25th. Each day of the week, the park service holds special ‘theme days’ to highlight different programs, events, and ways to enjoy the national parks. Thoughout the week, individual national park units plan and host their own events to coordinate with the NPS theme days.
To find out more about the history and founding of National Park Week, check out our post: 7 Things to Know About National Park Week to find out why we celebrate every April!
This Year's Schedule
These year the National Park Service has brought back some of our favorites for National Park Week, and introduced some new theme days to the mix. Here’s a list of each day and ideas for how you can celebrate National Park Week 2021.
Saturday – Park Rx Day
On Saturday, April 17th the National Park Service kicks off the celebration for the week with Park Rx Day. Today’s is a Fee Free Entrance Day and an exploration of the physical and mental health benefits of exploring the parks. Give yourself a chance to reset and recharge with a visit to the parks.
Sunday – Volunteers in the Parks
On Sunday, April 18, the National Park Service commemorates the thousands of individuals who donate their time and talents each year in a national park. Volunteers come in all sizes in the parks and help offset the expenses of operating, maintaining, and providing programming in the parks. Find out how you can become a volunteer in the national parks:
On Monday, April 19, the National Park Service honors all of the men and women who have provided military services to the United States and their families for supporting them. The National Park Service maintains dozens of battlefields, military parks, and historic sites that honor the service of American veterans. As part of Monday’s events, the NPS encourages individuals to learn more about military parks, veterans, and how families can enjoy public lands.
New this year, the National Park Service will celebrate Transformation Tuesday on Tuesday April 20th. The NPS describes the day as one to celebrate that “national parks and communities we work with are ever changing, whether it is in nature, history, opportunities to experience places, and our own personal journeys. Explore transformations in national parks and in your own neighborhoods through our partnerships and programs.”
On Wednesday April 21st, the National Park Service will celebrate “Wayback Wednesday” a commemoration of the history that the NPS works to protect. The park services encourages visitors to 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. It’s also a great day to share the history of your family and friends visiting national parks using the hashtag #waybackwednesday.
Thursday – Earth Day
On Thursday April 22nd, the National Park Service along with thousands of other organizations around the world will celebrate the 51st anniversary of Earth Day. Whether in a backyard, neighborhood green space, or a magnificent national park, the National Park Service provides opportunities for everyone to discover and enjoy the physical and psychological benefits that come with spending time outdoors.
Looking for ways to celebrate Earth Day with your family and friends? Check out our list of 30 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day at Home
So many of our favorite national park memories are those we’ve shared with friends and family. On Friendship Friday, April 23rd, the National Park Service celebrates it’s friends and the partners that help make park memories possible for us all. Partnerships include the National Park Foundation, park-specific organizations, and volunteers who work to support the parks. Find out how you can support many of these organizations on Friendship Friday with a gift in our guide for How to Donate to a National Park?
Saturday – National Junior Ranger Day
We’ve had the chance to meet and interview some of the most decorated junior rangers in the United States through our Park Chaser Profile series. One thing they all have in common: A love for the parks.
On Saturday April 24th, the National Park Service celebrates Junior Rangers everywhere on National Junior Ranger Day. Many parks have special virtual and in-person programming planned along with features on the NPS Kids Portal.
Sunday – BARK Ranger Day
It wouldn’t be National Park Week 2021 without BARK Ranger Day! BARK Ranger Day celebrates our furry friends and how they can safely enjoy the national parks. Last year, we interviewed Brad Ryan from Grandma Joy’s Road Trip for BARK Ranger Day. A vet, Brad shared his tips for the best ways to enjoy parks with pets.
How will you celebrate National Park Week 2021?
Leave us a comment below on how you plan to celebrate National Park Week 2021! We’d love to hear how you make the most of the parks during one of the most exciting weeks of the year!