Do you have a 4th-grade student in your family? If so, you definitely need to know about Every Kid in a Park. It’s a program by the US Department of the Interior that gives 4th-graders free entry to federal lands. This includes national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, monuments, preserves, and seashores. Not only do 4th-graders go free, but also the family/friends with them — all children under 16 and up to three adults, or all passengers in a non-commercial vehicle.
Our family signed up for Every Kid in a Park last year when our oldest child was in 4th grade. We used the pass on our coast-to-coast family road trip. It was great to get in free at Yosemite National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, and Carlsbad Caverns National Park on that trip. We were also able to use it at Everglades National Park closer to home. We don’t mind paying to access our federal lands because we want to support our parks. But when you get something for free, it’s hard to turn down.
The Every Kid in a Park pass is good through next summer. (Passes are good from Sept.1-Aug. 31.) Our youngest is now a 4th-grader, so you bet we are going to enjoy using the pass from now until then. We plan to see a slew of national parks and monuments on our next big road trip. Our family is proof that the Every Kid in a Park program works to get kids out to natural and cultural sites so they can explore the country.
To get the pass, go to the Every Kid in a Park site with your 4th-grader. Let him or her click through fun, simple questions about what he or she likes to do. Then print out the pass and take it with you on your next trip to a federal land. (Many parks, forests, and refuges will swap out your printout with a card that will last longer.) While you’re at the website, look at all the places you can visit around the USA for free! It might inspire your own family road trip.
Note that the Every Kid in a Park pass gives you free entry, but there may be fees like parking or tours once you’re in the park.