With spring in the air, and temperatures finally on the rise, there’s no better time to get outside and enjoy nature. On Saturday, a nine-day celebration of America’s national parks begins, which is the perfect excuse to enjoy the great outdoors. National Park Week 2021 officially kicks off across our nation starting today (April 17).
National Park Week is a presidentially acknowledged annual event that is hosted every April. In unison with the National Park Foundation – the official charity of our nation’s parks – National Park Week pays tribute to America’s natural treasures. From April 17 to 25, the event will help connect people with our national parks. It will also bring awareness to some of the most astounding outdoor areas in our country.
The annual event is a great time for everyone to explore their local parks. Additionally, citizens can discover the history and culture behind our national parks. Not to mention, you’ll also have the opportunity to lend a helping hand in organized cleanups to keep our parks pristine.
Throughout National Park Week there will be themed events each of the nine days. This year, the annual event will include digital experiences as well. The brand new National Parks Services app allows users to experience every national park through their smartphone.
With 423 national parks to explore across more than 84 million acres of land, Americans have plenty to look forward to during National Park Week.
National Park Week: Each Days Theme
Saturday, April 17 – Park Rx Day (Fee Free Day)
During International Park Prescription (ParkRx) Day, guests are invited to find good health and wellness through nature. The day promotes a growing movement of healthcare providers who refer patients to parks to improve their health and well-being. This year, Park Rx Day is a fee-free day in all U.S. National Parks.
Sunday, April 18 – Volunteer Sunday
For Volunteer Sunday, national parks are looking for help with their various programs within communities across the nation. Volunteers will perform a wide range of duties, including giving tours, assisting in research, hosting cleanups, and much more.
Explore volunteer opportunities with the National Park Service at nps.gov/volunteer.
Monday, April 19 – Military Monday
National Park Week dedicates Monday to the men and women of our military. Some may not realize, but many of our national parks have direct connections to our armed forces. Our national parks include dozens of battlefields, military parks, and historic sites that commemorate and honor American veterans.
To honor the military and their families, numerous park programs have been created. For example, active-duty personnel and their dependents are eligible for free park passes. America the Beautiful Passes grant access to all national parks and federal recreation areas.
Tuesday, April 20 – Transformation Tuesday
Transformation Tuesday is a new theme for this year’s National Park Week. Guests are encouraged to “explore transformations in national parks and in your own neighborhoods through our partnerships and programs.”
Wednesday, April 21 – Wayback Wednesday
Wednesday’s theme is all about the history of our national parks. The focus will be on preserving the history of our parks while educating others on the efforts to preserve America’s national outdoor treasures. Also, National Park Week organizers encourage you to share the history of your family and friends visiting parks.
Thursday, April 22 – Earth Day
Earth Day is a global celebration that encourages education and stewardship of our planet’s natural resources. Regardless of whether it’s in a national park or even in your own backyard, the NPS hopes that everyone will enjoy the physical and psychological benefits that are gained by spending time in the great outdoors.
Friday, April 23 – Friendship Friday
On Friendship Friday, national parks are thanking their partners, which can be individuals, groups, or organizations. The community is made up of volunteers, associations, civic groups, and philanthropies who share the same mission as the NPS.
Saturday, April 24 – National Junior Ranger Day
This is a great way to introduce kids of all ages to our national parks as they explore the outdoors. The Junior Ranger Program teaches about nature sounds, night skies, and even the Transcontinental Railroad. Additionally, Junior Rangers will also learn why national parks are so important and how to help keep them healthy.
Sunday, April 25 – BARK Ranger Day
The final day of National Park Week celebrates man’s best friend. Make sure to bring your dogs along with you to your local national park. However, for them to become a BARK Ranger, you and your pet must follow certain guidelines.
– Bag your pet’s waste
– Always leash your pet
– Respect wildlife
– Know where you can go