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5 Ways to Celebrate National Parks Week

Health + Wellness
Denali national park. Domen Jakus / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Stephanie Gagnon

Happy National Parks Week! This year, between April 20 and 28, escape to the beautiful national parks — either in person or in your imagination — and celebrate the amazing wildlife that calls these spaces home.


Here are 5 ways to celebrate our national treasures:

1. Kick off the week with free entry to all national parks on Saturday, April 20. 

Grand Teton National Park.

David Keener

The National Park Service offers 5 free entry days each year, where fees to enter the park are waived. This is a great opportunity to visit your first national park and see what the buzz is about. Check out their Find Your Park website and make plans today!

2. Take photos of wildlife (from a distance).

Roseate spoonbills feed in Florida's shallow waters by swinging their heads from side to side and sifting muck with their flat bills.

Jenni Kerteston

The wildlife that call our national parks their home can be cute (like the American pika), majestic (like the Florida panther), or just plain weird-looking (like the roseate spoonbill). They're great subjects for amateur and professional nature photographers alike. Just remember tokeep your distance and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

3. When you’re there, look for butterflies.

A pipevine swallowtail butterfly in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Jenny Pansing

These beautiful creatures are particularly photogenic. Species like the monarch butterfly can be observed in National Parks all over the country, while other species may be localized to one region. Want to take it one step further? Be a butterfly hero!

4. Use digital tools to engage with the natural world.

A visit to the national parks is a great way to spend some time away from screens enjoying the benefits of fresh air and beautiful sights. But if your family has trouble unplugging, there are plenty of resources that can help you use your devices to better understand the world around you, including Google Earth! Movies, magazines, games, and apps offer a variety of options, too.

5. Can’t make it to the parks in person? Journey in your mind to these breathtaking destinations.

Denali National Park.

Stokes Clarke

Sometimes there's not enough time or money to get to the parks in person. We've compiled some incredible photos from entrants to our photo contest for you to enjoy from the comfort of your home.

The best way to celebrate our national parks is to take care of them.

From successfully advocating for the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to opposing mining plans next to Minnesota's Boundary Waters, the National Wildlife Federation is a leader in protecting our public lands for wildlife and future generations of Americans.

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