We had a fourth grader last year which turned out to be the best thing ever. The National Parks offer the Every Kid in a Park pass to all 4th graders. In 2020, they renamed this the Every Kid Outdoors Pass. This pass offers FREE entrance to most National Parks, Monuments, and other sites, and it is so easy to get. Everyone should be using this amazing FREE program.
The pass runs from September 1-August 31 of the school year that your child is in fourth grade. So after September 1, go to the site: EveryKidOutdoors.gov. With your fourth grader, click on Get Your Pass. They will need to do a few activities to get the pass, but at the end, you will print a paper pass. Take this paper pass to any park and they give your 4th grader their own personal National Park Pass.
Our fourth grader thought it was the neatest thing, and he even signed it himself! Mom kept the pass in her wallet for safe keeping, but he presented it for entrance to all the sites we visited. At every single park, the ranger on duty made a big deal of recognizing our fourth grader, which he thought was pretty cool.
We used this pass a lot!! We visited 15 National sites in one year including 6 National Parks: Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Wind Cave, Badlands, Yosemite, and Rocky Mountain National Parks. For some reason, we didn’t use it at any sites in Utah this year, but we also visited the following National Sites: Jewel Cave, Scotts Bluff, Agate Fossil Beds, Colorado National Monument, Castillo de San Marcos, Devils Postpile, Minuteman Missile, Devils Tower, and Mount Rushmore.
We were also able to use our pass to go up to Tibble Fork. The pass allows entrance to American Fork Canyon/Alpine Loop. We did not visit Timpangos Cave, but with the pass, your fourth grader can get a free ticket into the cave. We saved so much money with this program. There are a few places where the Every Kid Outdoors Pass does not cover certain fees, though. At Jewel Cave, we had to pay for the longer tour we wanted to go on, but if we had taken the basic tour our entire family would have received free entrance. At Wind Cave, we did receive FREE tickets for our cave tour. In Devil’s Postpile, we paid for the shuttle to enter the monument. Make sure to check out restrictions on your pass before you go.
We love this initiative to get more kids out into National Parks. There are so many wonderful places to explore and this offers more families the chance to go. So if you have a fourth grader, or will soon, make sure you take advantage of the Every Kid Outdoors pass. If you need any ideas on where to visit, we have lots of information on National Sites all over the Western United States. You can also use the menu above and choose the National Parks & Sites Tab.