National Park Service Offers Free Admission to 4th Graders, Families

Do you have a 4th grader? Sign up now for this free program!

By Melissa Shrader Editor/Publisher Fort Collins Macaroni Kid September 21, 2020

Hey fourth graders! Take your family to see America's natural wonders and historic sites this year ... for FREE!

Fourth graders and their families are invited to learn about our heritage, history, and connect with nature while exploring hundreds of national parks, recreation areas, forests, monuments, and wildlife refuges from the St. Louis Arch to the Florida Keys through a free program known as Every Kid Outdoors.

The program, run by the United States National Park Service, was created by President Barack Obama in 2015 -- the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service -- and has been renewed annually every year since. This year the program changed its name from Every Kid in a Park to Every Kid Outdoors.

The bipartisan John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act, signed into law in 2019, authorized continued funding for Every Kid Outdoors through 2026.

All fourth graders, including homeschool equivalents, can complete an adventure diary online to get their free entrance passes. The most current pass is valid Sept. 1, 2020, through August 31, 2021.

As a fourth-grader with a voucher or pass, the student, and anyone in the vehicle with the child, is admitted for free at sites that charge per vehicle. If visiting a site that charges per person, up to three accompanying adults will be admitted free with a fourth grader with a pass. If the fourth grader and his or her family are riding bikes, up to three accompanying adults are included too. The fourth-grader must be present to use the pass.

The Every Kid Outdoors program is designed to give all families a chance to get out and explore our amazing country. As President Theodore Roosevelt once said:

"There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred."


Timed Entry Reservations will end on October 12, 2020. No timed entry reservations will be needed/required to enter the park starting on October 13th, 2020.

Rocky Mountain National Park’s 415 square miles encompass and protect spectacular mountain environments. Enjoy Trail Ridge Road – which crests at over 12,000 feet including many overlooks to experience the subalpine and alpine worlds – along with over 300 miles of hiking trails, wildflowers, wildlife, starry nights, and fun times. In a world of superlatives, Rocky is on top!

More people than ever before are coming to experience the grandeur of Rocky Mountain National Park: in 2019, the park had over 4.7 million visitors— the third most visited national park in the country. While this level of visitation means that new and larger audiences are learning about and experiencing this incredible place, it also presents challenges.

In 2020, Rocky Mountain National Park will implement a timed entry reservation system in order to reopen the park and meet the CDC, state and local guidance related to Covid-19.

Each private vehicle entering the park will need a reservation for each day the vehicle will be in the park. The person making the reservation needs to be in the vehicle at the time of entry, ID may be required at time of entry.

If you have an annual or lifetime pass at the time of your reservation, those are accepted as your entrance fee. If you buy the daily pass online, you may upgrade it to another pass at the entrance station. Valid entrance passes accepted are: Rocky Mountain National Park Annual Pass, Interagency Annual Pass, Interagency Senior Pass, Interagency Access Pass, Interagency Volunteer Pass, Interagency Military Pass, Interagency 4th Grade Pass. All of the passes mentioned will be available at the entrance station. The the $2.00 reservation fee must be paid prior to arriving at the park and you must show your reservation to enter.