Today marks the National Park Service’s (NPS) 100th birthday – the big one-zero-zero! To celebrate, the NPS has been offering tons of fun and educational activities to the public – some of which are free. Didn’t know about the perks? Missed out on an event? Don’t worry; there is still plenty of time to celebrate the rest of NPS’ Centennial Year. With our guide to the National Park Service’s Centennial Celebration, you won’t miss another thing.
Before we start, let’s get to know the NPS a bit better:
Who is the NPS? The NPS is a federal government agency responsible for protecting all of America’s national parks, national monuments, and historical sites. You can count on the NPS to help preserve the natural treasures of our lands and to keep them for us all to enjoy.
Why is the NPS important? Without the NPS’ dedicated work to protect our lands, all the beautiful and historical places in America would not be standing here today. This means there would be no vacations to Yosemite National Park, no stops to see Mount Rushmore and no ferries to Alcatraz Island. These visits are not only unique experiences; they are also a great learning space for you and me. When you pay a visit to your next trip under the NPS, be prepared to fill your mind with the rich history, culture, and natural beauty of the United States. It is truly America’s greatest idea.
Below are 8 ways you can join millions of others in celebrating the NPS’ 100th birthday. Grab your friends, “Find Your Park,” and discover a world full of wonders. With over 400 sites preserved by the NPS, you are sure to find one just for you.
Guide to the National Park Service’s Centennial Celebration
- Get Free Entry to All National Park Service Sites. Who doesn’t love free things? Mark your calendars for these special fee-free days: August 25-28, September 24, and November 11.
- Apply For An ‘Every Kid in a Park’ Pass. It’s a great time to be a fourth grader. Starting this year (and so forth), 10 year olds can apply for a pass that will allow them and their family & friends free access to national parks, land, and water. Note: The pass is active from the start of the school year (September) to the end of the summer of next year (August).
- Collect the Centennial Junior Ranger Badge. Every national park has a special Junior Ranger Program for visitors to earn a shiny/wooden badge or patch specific to that park. Open for all ages – and even adults – visitors will usually need to complete the junior ranger booklet and/or attend a ranger-led talk. This year, you can receive an exclusive centennial badge in honor of NPS’ 100th year. Download the booklet and get started!
- Watch the National Parks Adventure Movie. Be prepared to be amazed and inspired during this 45 minutes of your life. Highlighting some of the most popular national parks in the U.S., The National Park Adventure Movie perfectly captures the beauty and importance of preserving natural wonders of the parks. Both Jennifer and I were so moved, one of us even cried real tears during the movie.
- Attend NPS Centennial Events. Looking for a specific event at a NPS site near you? Click here for the event calendar. Also, since August is NPS’ birthday month, here are specific centennial events happening across the country. With just a couple days left of August, we hope you can still make the most of it!
- Show the NPS Some Love. Purchasing one or more of the limited NPS Centennial merchandise(s) is a great way to savor a memory, show off your trip, and support the National Park Foundation. Here are three websites to buy your centennial gear(s): one, two, and three.
- Inspire Your Non-Outdoorsy Friends. The centennial year is the perfect opportunity to turn your non-outdoorsy friends to outdoor enthusiasts. Take them to a national park and I can guarantee you that they will be blown away by the natural beauty of Mother Nature.
- Stamp Your Heart Away. A fun way to keep track of all your NPS visits is to buy a National Parks Passport to carry along all the NPS sites you visit. Each location has a stamp that is color-coded to the particular region you are in. This year, the NPS has special stamps that commemorate its 100th-year celebration. Make sure you collect them all!
Cheers to 100 more years,