As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
Over the past few Tuesdays, I’ve been sharing our trip reports from our recent visit to the Historic Triangle in Virginia. We’ve made many trips to that area over the years (in fact, Brian and I honeymooned there!); but I don’t think I ever really realized that Historic Jamestowne and the Yorktown Battlefields were part of the National Parks. That is, until this year. Because Ian is a 4th grader. And 4th graders are part of the Every Kid in a Park initiative.
What is Every Kid in a Park?
A new White House youth initiative to get all 4th graders and their families to experience the places that are home to our country’s natural treasures, rich history, and vibrant culture FREE OF CHARGE!
How Does it Work?
The first step is to go to this website and sign up for your pass. Of course, you have to have a 4th grader in your family in order to sign up. (Educators can also sign their 4th grade students up for this pass.)
Once you have your pass, you’re ready to head to a National Park of your choosing. We printed Ian’s out before our trip to VA.
I thought that the pass that you print out was the one that you needed all year, so I went ahead and laminated it, feeling all professional. When we checked in at the ticket center at Historic Jamestowne, the man told Ian he was his first 4th grader with a pass. He kept the paper pass and gave Ian a credit-card sized hard pass. (We ended up purchasing a lanyard for it at the gift shop, so it would be easier to keep track of.)
Apparently, the plastic passes are not available at all National Parks, so if you want one, visit this list to find out where you can get one.
So, why do we need the pass?
Honestly, we found it a bit funny that these passes are available to 4th graders because, as it turns out, kids (16 and under) get free access to National Parks anyway! But, what makes the pass so nice is that, in addition to the child, his/her family can also get in for free (or at a reduced rate, depending on the park). The official rules say “and up to 3 adults.” That works great for our family since our oldest daughter, Ashley, is now an adult and still likes to travel with us; and Gracie, our middle child, is 15. This would also be a plus for those families who travel with a grandparent.
The pass also covers parking fees for those parks that charge them (only for the vehicle that the child is in).
It would have cost us $42 for 3 adult passes at Historic Jamestowne. Instead, with Ian’s pass, we got in for only $15! That’s a savings of $27 – and only because we had this pass!
Later, when we went to visit Yorktown Battlefield, we got in for FREE (instead of the $7/adult regular charge).
Where will YOU go?
There are so many National Parks to visit, that it’s hard to know where to start! One thing that I did was to put in the name of my state plus National Parks in a Google search (Pennsylvania National Parks). Then, I did the same for surrounding states within reasonable driving distance. Now, we have a list of parks we hope to visit before Ian’s pass expires next August.
- Eisenhower National Historic Site in Gettysburg, PA
- Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, PA
- Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, PA
- Johnstown Flood Memorial in Johnstown, PA
- Statue of Liberty in Ellis Island, NY
And that’s just the beginning. Hopefully we will be able to fit more into our schedule!
Another great place to look for parks is at this site.
Keep track of your visits!
While we were visiting our favorite glass blowers at Jamestowne, we discovered the National Parks Passport. What a great way to keep track of your park visits! So, we picked up a passport and some stamps to go with it.
We later discovered that there is a kids version of the passport book also, but we’re happy with the one we got and works well for our family to share.