Last updated: 01:00 AM ET, Thu April 14 2016

National Park Week Honors the Centennial

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | April 14, 2016

National Park Week Honors the Centennial

PHOTO: Yosemite (courtesy Thinkstock)

This Saturday marks the beginning of National Park Week. The week, which honors our national heritage by honoring our national parks, is extra special this year because the National Parks Service is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The annual event is hosted by the National Parks Service and the National Park Foundation and this year, a number of events will honor the parks’ special celebratory year.

One of the best perks, by far, is that every park is free for the whole week – so now is the time to visit one of the pricier parks on your bucket list as you won’t have to pay. If you miss these free days however, there are other chances for free entry during the year. The parks are celebrating their actual centennial Aug. 25-26 and admission is free on those days as well as National Public Lands Day, which is Sept. 24 and on Veteran’s Day.

Several other events take place throughout National Park Week.

April 16 is National Junior Ranger Day. Kids can take part in a variety of programs and earn a Junior Ranger Badge. If they already have one of those, this year, there is a special badge to earn: the Centennial Junior Ranger.

Earth Day takes place during National Park Week, on April 22, and there is a list of volunteer programs in which visitors can participate to make a contribution to the environment. For the centennial year, the national parks are rewarding outstanding volunteers with Centennial Volunteer Challenge Coins. Registered volunteers who complete 201.6 hours of service between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2016, can earn this honor.

On April 23, the National Park InstaMeet will take place. This event is designed with hashtags in mind. Guests can meet at a specific time and spot in a park and take photos and short videos to post to Instagram. The parks even have some recommended hashtags for participants: #FindYourParkInstaMeet, #FindYourPark, #EncuentraTuParque, #NPS100

April 24 is ParkRx Day when the national parks will host recreational activities that revolve around healthy lifestyle choices with events that promote physical and mental well-being. The National Parks Service website provides a guide to those who would like to host their own ParkRX event. Suggested activities for the event include guided walks, mini fitness classes, health screenings, trash pick up and organizing a speaking event.

Before you head out to the park of your choice, be sure to check the park’s website on to find out if there are any activities taking place in honor of the centennial and National Park Week.

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