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This no-cost national parks pass program is part of the White House’s “Every Kid in the Park” initiative, and it’s being offered in conjunction with the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation.
When will the free pass be available?
The free national parks pass will be available beginning September 1, 2015 to all fourth-grade students.
How do I get a pass for my fourth-grader?
Fourth-grade students can sign up here to receive a voucher. The voucher grants free entrance to the student to all US national park units (over 400) for the year.
Is the free pass only good for the student?
No. The free pass is good for the student and all the passengers in the car to get into the parks for free. Basically, as long as the fourth-grader is in the car, the pass is good for the entire family.
Why is this offer only for fourth-graders?
Although there hasn’t been an explanation directly from the National Park Service, the most likely explanation is that since it’s a non-profit support organization for the National Parks system coordinating this event, they simply don’t have the funds to do it for more than one grade level. They likely chose fourth grade since it’s an age when kids are young enough to still love exploring, but old enough to also appreciate the wonder around them…it seems like a good age to target for their goals. My guess is that in many states most kids start learning US/their state history in 4th grade.
Statement from National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis
During the National Park Service’s centennial celebration we want everyone to get to know their national parks, and we’re offering a special invitation to 4th graders and their families to discover everything that national parks offer. We hope these free passes for 4th graders will introduce 4th graders, their classes, and families to our national treasures, places where they can run and play, explore and learn.
A few things to know:
• You need to print your pass and bring it with you when you visit. Electronic copies aren’t accepted.
• Your pass has a unique code. That means you can’t copy it and give it to friends. Encourage your friends to get their own pass if they’re in the fourth grade.
You work too hard for your money to throw it all away on full price when you don't have to!