It’s payback time for your 4th-grader: parents can reap the rewards of all those bagged lunches, soccer practice drives and eat-your-broccoli arguments by packing the kids in the car and heading for your nearest National Park.
Under the federal government’s new Every Kid in a Park program, 4th-grade students can get free passes to any national park for themselves and their families — no small potatoes, considering that an annual National Parks pass would normally cost you $80.
The pass, which can be obtained at the Every Kid in a Park website, is good for the 4th-grader plus up to three accompanying adults. It’s good for the entire 2015-16 school year and can be used at every unit of the National Park Service, including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and marine sanctuaries. (If you’re going to a drive-in park, the pass covers as many people as you can squeeze into your vehicle).
Teachers can use the website to get passes for their entire classroom and plan field trips. Park officials say that to program goal is to get every student in America to visit a national park over the next 12 years.
“The National Park Service is inviting every kid in America to find their park as we celebrate our 100th birthday in 2016. When fourth graders and their families use their free passes, they will discover fun-filled adventures in the outdoors and learn about themselves and our collective history,” says Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the National Park Service.