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In February of 2015, President Obama signed legislation introducing “Every Kid in a Park”, an initiative designed to encourage kids to visit our National Parks. When it starts in the fall of 2015, all 4th grade students (and their families) will have FREE access to every National Park.
Why 4th graders?
4th graders were actually chosen for Every Kid in a Park for “logistical, educational and instructional reasons” according to a White House official. Also 4th graders already have curriculum that is relevant to parks, and there was also thought to get kids interested in the outdoors at an early age.
Also, classes in younger grades are typically taught by a single teacher, which might make class field trips easier to manage.
Do you have a 4th grader?
Well, speaking for myself, as a father of 6, the odds are in my favor of having a kid in any particular grade, and yes, as it turns out, I DO have a kid going in 4th grade. 😀 The details of Every Kid in a Park have not yet been released. You can sign up on the official Every Kid in a Park website to get more information, which I assume will include details on when Every Kid in a Park starts. You’re also signed up to the main National Parks email list, so they’ll probably also send you other information
Does Every Kid in a Park include National Monuments?
It’s not clear to me whether the free access to National Parks that Every Kid in a Park provides will also include National Monuments, such as Mt. Rushmore.
We were just at Mt. Rushmore this fall, part of our epic “big heads, trains and bears, oh my!” summer vacation, and I did hear of someone who had bought an annual National Park pass only to find out that it was not good at Mt. Rushmore, because that was a National “Monument” DOH!
This would have come in handy there as due to us being a 2 car rental family, we had to pay the $30 car pass to get into Yellowstone TWICE (though we saved out on another $40 in charges because the credit card reader at Grand Teton park was down when we drove through)
(SEE ALSO: Yellowstone trip expenses: Why I didn’t spend $9,144.92 on my vacation)
You can visit the official Every Kid in a park website here.
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Mount Rushmore has no entry fee, so a pass is not needed.
When I was there, they charged us $11 / car.