The Department of the Interior has announced the dates for National Park Week 2021 — the annual celebration of America’s national parks will run from April 17 to 25. And the first day of that stretch will be free admission!
National Park Week (technically a nine-day event) encourages the public to explore the vast network of our national parks, sacred sites, historical landmarks, as well as our shared heritage contained within them.
“Every national park has its own unique story to tell, yet so much of our nation’s shared heritage can be found in the towering forests and vast desert expanses that make up our National Park System,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. “The outdoors has also proven to be a welcome refuge during the past year of the pandemic. I encourage everyone to enjoy the beauty and wonder of our national parks safely and responsibly.”
The public is asked to recreate responsibly when visiting parks, including following rules requiring masks when physical distancing cannot be maintained, or to explore parks virtually through a variety of engaging online activities. Visit nationalparkweek.org for more virtual programming.
The 2021 National Park Week theme days are:
Saturday, April 17: Free Admission and Park Rx Day
Spending time in parks and nature benefits overall physical and mental health and wellness. In honor of the NPS’ century-long collaboration with the Office of Public Health, National Park Week begins with Park Rx Day! Enjoy a free admission visit to recreate responsibly in a national park near you.
Sunday, April 18: VIP (Volunteers in Parks) Sunday
With over 400 national park sites to manage, NPS volunteers play a critical part in helping parks thrive. From clearing trails and providing directions to assisting visitors through museum collections, volunteers help all of us enjoy national parks.
Monday, April 19: Military Monday
National parks provide military members, past and present, with places for reflection and recreation where they can experience the comradery, solace, and healing that nature offers. In gratitude for their service, free annual passes are available for all those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Learn more at nps.gov/subjects/military.
Tuesday, April 20: Transformation Tuesday
How have parks changed through the years? How will they change in the future? Some transformations in national parks have occurred naturally while others are the result of conservation and restoration projects. From restoring buildings to their historical appearance, to rehabilitating ecosystems, to the maturation of wildlife, to incorporating emerging technology, learn how and why parks and their features have transformed through the years.
Wednesday, April 21: Wayback Wednesday
Take a look at some of your favorite parks then and now. How has the view changed? Who else has stood in the same spot in the past? Learn about the living landscapes, historical battlefields, ancient ancestral structures, homes of prominent people, and buildings that are tangible reminders of the ever-evolving U.S. story.
Thursday, April 22: Earth Day
A global celebration encouraging all people to learn more about and care for the planet, Earth Day is the perfect time to reflect on the natural wonders that the NPS helps to protect.
Friday, April 23: Friendship Friday
Caring for our parks is a big job. Park partners have played an important role since the NPS was founded in 1916, and this tradition of generous, committed support continues today with individuals, groups and communities helping preserve and enhance the national park experience.
Saturday, April 24: Junior Ranger Day
The NPS Junior Ranger program provides fun and engaging ways for young people to connect with our country’s heritage and landscapes, both virtually and in-person.
Sunday, April 25: BARK Ranger Day
National parks are fun to share with those we love — including those of the fluffy variety! BARK Ranger principles ensure a pet’s visit to a park is fun and safe.
For more information, please visit NPS.gov/npweek and nationalparkweek.org.