Collecting National Parks

Updated: Apr 19, 2018

Fourth Graders and their families get in to National Parks for free. Did someone say free? Now my entire year's travel revolves around "collecting parks".

Several years ago, I visited the home of President James Garfield near Mentor, Ohio. While I was there, I picked up National Parks Passport Album. Just think: it's virtually a tailor-made bucket list for people who are nature and history obsessed. I decided then and there that in addition to good books, expensive board games and Lego sets, our family was going to start collecting National Park stamps.

The book sat on the shelf for about a year and a half. When you don't live within easy driving distance of Yosemite or the Grand Canyon, National Parks just not the first outing you think of.

And then, I found out about Every Kid in a Park.

If there's one thing that is very hard for me to resist, it's anything labeled FREE. So when I discovered that fourth graders (and their families...and their vehicles...) get a free pass to America's National Parks, I immediately looks up every national park within an eight-hour driving distance and decided that I needed to see as many of them as possible this year, while I have a fourth grader.

It turns out that none of the parks close to us actually charge an entry fee, so I'm not exactly getting the bargain I thought I was. Oh well, too late. I've already made a goal for this year: I'm going to add eight stamps to our passport album, and I'm going to do it on a shoestring budget.


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