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Last month I wrote about the Every Kid in a Park initiative, which was introduced by President Obama earlier in the year. The idea is that all families with a child in 4th grade will get FREE access to ALL National Parks for an entire year.

I believe that the reason 4th graders were chosen were that

  • Many 4th graders are learning about state and national history
  • 4th graders are often still in one classroom, making field trips more easily coordinated
  • There was a desire to start a love and learning of the outdoors at an early age

Every Kid in a Park passes NOW available!

The passes are good starting today (September 1st) and are good through August 31, 2016. You can now sign up for your Pass at the official Every Kid in a Park site


every-kid-in-a-park-pass

I first clicked on the “Parents” link, but that doesn’t seem to actually take you anywhere, so I returned and clicked on the “4th graders” link. That asks you to certify that you are a 4th grader

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You plan your “adventure” by saying where you want to visit, and after a few clicks, you’re taken to a page that gives you your pass

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You must print out your pass (electronic copies are not accepted)

Educators and the Every Kid in a Park pass

You can also go to the “Educators” link, which brings you to:

every-kid-in-a-park-educators

You have to put in your (Educator’s) name and contact information (including a work email address) as well as a number of students, and the site will generate individual passes for each of your students

What’s included with your Every Kid in a Park pass

When I wrote last month, there was some question about whether this would be for only National Parks, or if other National sites (Monuments, etc.) would be included. Specifically, I know that if you buy an annual “National Park pass”, it is NOT good at Mt. Rushmore, because Mt. Rushmore is a National MONUMENT.

It does look like National Monuments, National Wildlife Refuges, National Forests, National Recreation Areas and other such things. As always, check with your destination before just assuming it works (I’d imagine now most places are still figuring out how the Every Kid in a Park program works)

every-kid-in-a-park-sites
Note that if you have a pass, you get to bring in your entire car of family and friends for free as well! The fine print states:

  • Show your pass to a ranger when you enter. If there is no ranger, leave it on the dashboard of your car
  • If you visit a site that charges entrance fees per person— The pass admits all children under 16 and up to three adults for free.
  • If your group visits a site that charges vehicle fees – The pass admits all children under 16 and all adults in up to one passenger vehicle. Commercial vehicles can’t use a pass to get in.
  • If you arrive at a site on bicycle— The pass admits all children under 16 and up to three adults on bicycles.
  • The pass doesn’t cover things like camping, boats, and special tours. Also, some sites are managed by private operators. They may not honor the pass. Check with the site ahead of time to find out.
  • The pass doesn’t cover fees for local, city, or state parks and recreation areas unless they say that they accept this pass.

So if you have a 4th grader in your family, definitely get the Every Kid in a Park pass!  The Every Kid in a Park pass would have saved us over $100 in National Park fees on our recent summer vacation (which included Mt. Rushmore, Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone)

(SEE ALSO: Big heads, trains and bears, oh my!)

(SEE ALSO: Why I didn’t spend $9,144.92 on my vacation)

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