National Parks have free admission opportunities

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Two major programs are starting to encourage more youth visits to National Parks. First is the Open Outdoors for Youth.

The National Park Foundation’s Open Outdoors for Kids Initiative introduces and exposes kids — all kids — to experiential, outdoor experiences that promote physical and emotional health, civic engagement and long-term appreciation for nature. Using the spectacular and unparalleled resources of our nation’s more than 400 national parks, the program’s goal is to connect more children to their culture and heritage, enhance hands-on learning opportunities and deepen connections to the natural world.

Through focused programming in and out of parks, Open Outdoors for Kids addresses:

  • ACCESS: Providing transportation, programming and free entry to the parks for children and teachers to experience hands-on, immersive learning.
  • RELEVANCY: Connecting kids and families to the parks through programs that make people’s lives better. We establish emotional relevancy of the parks through cultural programs and encourage active, healthy lifestyles through recreational and restoration activities.
  • EDUCATION: Establish “in-park” opportunities for children to learn in our national parks, the world’s largest outdoor classrooms. Unmatched as learning environments and living laboratories, national parks offer children, families and teachers a unique gateway to experience nature, history and culture, to learn about biodiversity and the environment, and to engage with each other in the great outdoors.

Second, there is a special program for 4th graders, like first year Webelos, called the Every Kid in a Park Initiative.

To help engage and create our next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates, we are kicking off the Every Kid in a Park initiative. The immediate goal is to provide an opportunity for each and every 4th grade student across the country to experience their public lands and waters in person throughout the 2015-2016 school year.

Beginning September 1st you will have access to your own Every Kid in a Park pass. This pass will give you free access to national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and more!

The Every Kid in a Park pass will be available starting September 1st, 2015 and will be good for the 2015-2016 school year until August 31, 2016. More information will be available beginning in September.

While you don’t think of Indiana being the home of many national parks, we do have a few. They are all more than 2 hours away.

Surrounding states have a handful each. Most that are shown are within 6 hours, requiring at least a long weekend.

Ohio has 

Kentucky has 

Michigan has 

Illinois has 

Things get particularly interesting in Tennessee … 

… West Virginia, and …

… Southern Missouri in the Ozarks.