For National Park Week 2021, from April 17 through April 25, national parks across the country will celebrate the natural and cultural heritage of their lands with exciting events, ranger-led activities, and even free entrance.

This year’s National Park Week is set to be one of their largest and most interactive—every day from Saturday the 17th through Sunday the 25th of April is themed to educate visitors about the history, culture, and landscape of our parks system.

Your Guide to National Park Week 2021

people walking in and out of yosemite visitor center

Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com

National Park Week is a partnership between the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation (the official nonprofit partner to the parks), and the Department of the Interior. After starting in 1991 to honor the NPS’s 75th birthday, the week has grown to feature innovative programs and attractions to make national parks accessible to all.

“National parks are sources of inspiration, recreation, and education for everyone,” said National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith, in an NPS press release. “During National Park Week, a wide variety of creative programs and events across the country will showcase these amazing places and encourage everyone to visit a park.”





Below is a day-by-day guide to the themes of National Park Week 2021. Events and activities are unique to each park, so the NPS encourages visitors to #FindYourPark by visiting your local park’s website and looking for their specific events for National Park Week.

Park RX Day (Fee Free Day): Saturday, April 17

The health benefits of nature and the outdoors are becoming more widely understood and acknowledged, and the country’s national parks are the perfect place to fill your outdoor prescription. On this fee free day during National Park Week, there are organized events from healthcare officials and park employees to help visitors understand the mental and physical activities possible in parks and green spaces across the country.

Volunteer Sunday: Sunday, April 18

Volunteer Sunday celebrates the volunteers of all ages who’ve performed a variety of public services, including giving tours, assisting in research, hosting cleanups, and building trails. If you’d like to participate in Volunteer Sunday, the best thing you can do is take action and explore opportunities to  volunteer for the National Park Service in your area.

Military Monday: Monday, April 19

Military and veterans have a long history with the National Park Service, and in recognition of their service, the second day of National Park Week 2021 is dedicated to active and retired military and service members.

Transformation Tuesday: Tuesday, April 20

The Civilian Conservation Corps built much of the infrastructure that helps us enjoy our public lands today. On this day during National Park Week, visitors can learn about the conservation efforts that have been integral to the National Parks Service since it’s beginning.

Wayback Wednesday: Wednesday, April 21

April 21st marks Wayback Wednesday where parks can show off their personal history to visitors. Parks around the country will be exhibiting portions of their history through museums and guided tours. Visiting your local park will give you cultural context about the formation and preservation of the nation’s most scenic and important lands.

Earth Day: Thursday, April 22

Visiting and supporting a national park on Earth Day isn’t just good for the Earth—it’s good for you, too! Doing your part for the environment is easy at a number of national parks during National Park Week 2021. On Thursday, join a virtual event, “The Future of Conservation: Engaging the Next Generation of Public Land Leaders,” where young leaders will share their passion for conservation.

Friendship Friday: Friday, April 23

Friendship Friday during National Park Week 2021 gives a thank-you to the supporters of the NPS, including the National Park Foundation and other outdoor nonprofits that aid in preserving these important lands. Efforts to support the national parks can include donations of money or time to environmental nonprofits in the United States.

National Junior Ranger Day: Saturday, April 24

Kids will have the opportunity to get involved in the parks system by becoming an official Junior Ranger. The program allows kids to earn ranger badges and free gear while being introduced to the efforts to protect the natural beauty of these parks. Be sure to check in with your local park about participating in Junior Ranger Day before visiting.

BARK Ranger Day: Sunday, April 25

While many parks allow dogs to visit regularly, on BARK Ranger Day, they are celebrated guests. BARK is an acronym standing for:

  • Bag your pet’s waste
  • Always wear a leash
  • Respect wildlife
  • Know where you can go

Be sure to employ the B.A.R.K. principles so you and your canine can enjoy a safe and fun visit to a park during BARK Ranger day.

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