Fourth Graders Get a Free Pass Into National Parks

Every Kid In a Park Program Gives Kids Free Admission Into National Parks

A group of kids holding hands while hiking in the woods.
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The Every Kid in a Park program gives all fourth graders in the U.S. a pass that allows them into all the national parks in the country for free, for an entire year. As an added bonus, parents, siblings, friends, and educators can also take advantage of the free pass.

This free national park pass is being given to students to encourage them to visit national parks and public lands so they can learn about nature and become supporters of national parks.

If you're a military family, you are also eligible for a free military member national park pass and there are a number of national park free days each year that everyone can enjoy.

How to Get Your Fourth Grader a Free National Park Pass

Visit Every Kid in a Park and click on Get Your Pass. Verify that you have a child in the fourth grade or the homeschool equivalent and click Play. 

You'll go through a series of questions about an adventure your child would like to go on. I recommend grabbing your kiddo and getting them involved at this point. It's a great opportunity to get them excited about getting outdoors and being active.

After a few questions, you can click Get Your Pass Now. Search for your zip code and then you'll be brought to a screen where you can print the free national park pass. Here's a list of national parks if you're looking for one to visit.

Each pass has a unique code on it so you will not be able to share the pass. All fourth-graders are encouraged to go online and get their own free pass.

Parents, Siblings, and Friends Can Also Take Advantage

When you visit a national park that charges an admission fee, not only does your fourth grader get in for free, but siblings and parents can get in free too. Here are the details:

  • If the national park charges per person, the fourth-grader as well as all children under 16 and up to 3 adults also get in for free.
  • If there's a vehicle charge for the national park then the fourth-grader, as well as everyone else in the car (children and adults), will also be allowed free admission. Commercial vehicles are excluded.
  • If you arrive on a bike to a national park, the fourth-grader, all children under 16, and up to 3 adults will be allowed in for free.

Some Educators Can Get a Free National Pass as Well

This new program has something special for teachers as well. Educators of fourth-grade students can get a free national park pass for each of their fourth-grade students.

You'll need to be a teacher at a U.S. or U.S. military school to get the free passes. Alternatively, you can work for a youth-serving organization who engages with fourth graders. This includes camp directors, after-school leaders, home-school leaders, or religious group leaders.

There are also activity guides available that include lessons on lands and waters, stewardship, native peoples, and citizen science.

When the Fourth Grade National Pass is Valid

All fourth graders can use their free national park pass from September 1, 2019, through August 31, 2020, for the 2019-2020 school year.

Using the Fourth Grade Free National Park Pass

When you arrive at the national park, show a ranger your pass when you enter. If there is no ranger on duty, simply place the pass on the dash of your car.

You do have to print out a paper copy of the national park pass, electronic versions won't be accepted. At some national parks, they'll let you exchange your paper pass for a plastic pass that you can use for the rest of the school year.

Restrictions on the Free Fourth Grader National Park Pass

Here are some additional restrictions on the fourth-grader national park pass:

  • The pass cannot be transferred.
  • If you forget the pass and end up having to pay an admission fee, you can't ask for a refund.
  • If you lose your pass you can just sign up again and print out another.
  • The free national park pass doesn't include a fee waiver for camping, boat rentals, tours, or private operator fees.
  • You'll need to pay any fees for local, city, or state parks who won't accept the pass.