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How To Celebrate National Park Week 2021

Published on April 12th, 2021 by Natalie Henley

national park week

How To Celebrate National Park Week 2021

Whether you plan on camping at your favorite national park or watching from the comfort of your couch, National Park Week will be a celebration to remember, full of special events and digital programs.

National Park Week, which first started in 1991, is designed to inspire stewardship and encourage folks to get outdoors and explore our nation’s parks. The Department of the Interior recently announced that the annual weeklong affair honoring America’s national parks will be observed from Saturday, April 17 through Sunday, April 25, 2021.

“National Park Week is always a great reminder of the wide variety of sites, parks, and programs available for the public to explore in-person or online,” said National Park Service Deputy Director Shawn Benge. “Throughout the week, ‘travel’ to national parks through virtual tours and other entertaining and educational digital activities designed to connect visitors with the vast network of historical, cultural, inspirational and recreational parks across the country.”   

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2021 National Park Week Theme Days 

With the National Park Foundation’s help, the official charity of America’s national parks, sites all across the country will take part in celebrating by hosting a variety of informative programs, events, and virtual meetups. The 9-day event includes themed days, each spotlighting the many ways people can enjoy the national parks. 

To spread the word on this celebration, the National Park Service (NPS) is asking participants to share how they are taking part each day via social media using specific hashtags (listed below). Read on to learn about each day’s theme and how you can join in on the festivities.

Date(s)Theme DayHashtag(s)
April 17-25National Park Week#National Park Week, #FindYourPark, #EncuentraTuParque
April 17Park Rx Day#ParkRx, #HealthyParksHealthyPeople
April 18VIP (Volunteers In Parks) Sunday#NPSVolunteer
April 19Military Monday#MilitaryMonday
April 20Transformation Tuesday#TransformationTuesday, #NPSOnTheMove
April 21Wayback Wednesday#WaybackWednesday
April 22Earth Day#EarthDay
April 23Friendship Friday#FriendshipFriday, #NPSFriends
April 24Junior Ranger Day#JuniorRangerDay
April 25BARK Ranger Day#BarkRanger
Chart courtesy of National Park Service

Saturday, April 17: Free Admission and Park Rx Day  

National Park Week kicks off with a free-fee day to all national parks! In doing so, the federal agency is asking that all visitors follow park rules, especially those regarding face masks and social distancing.  

April 17th is also designated International Park Prescription (Park Rx) Day. Regardless if you can make it to a national park or your backyard, the NPS is encouraging the public to use this day for physical and mental healing in nature. You can become a Park Health Ambassador by learning how national parks promote health and wellness and sharing your experiences with others.

National Park Week park ranger
National Park Services

Sunday, April 18: VIP (Volunteers in Parks) Sunday

Volunteers play a critical role in the success of the over 400 national park sites. Sunday pays tribute to the many folks that devote their time and energy to a wide variety of duties, including cleaning trails, giving tours, and assisting in research. Learn about ways you can help the NPS at

Monday, April 19: Military Monday

Many national parks commemorate the American military through the preservation of battlefields, military parks, and historic sites. Many parks also hold special ceremonies and events to honor those who have and continue to serve.

This day pays homage to veterans and active-duty members. In appreciation of their dedication and service, America the Beautiful annual passes are available for free to all U.S. Armed Forces members.  

Tuesday, April 20: Transformation Tuesday

Whether it is natural or through the efforts of conservation and restoration projects, our national park sites have changed over the years. Transformation Tuesday is meant to give visitors pause and learn about the significance of these processes.

Wednesday, April 21: Wayback Wednesday

Go back in time and discover all you can about your favorite park’s history or even relive memories of your first visits. The NPS lists ideas on how you can go “way back.” Research online, revisit a park trail or landmark, utilize NPS lesson plans in your classroom, or even scout out historical sites in your neighborhood.

Thursday, April 22: Earth Day

From something as simple as shopping with reusable bags to taking part in a community clean-up, there are so many little things you can do to celebrate and help save the Earth on this special day (and every day after). If you are out camping, follow “Leave No Trace” principles and teach the younger family members about this important practice. The video below is a refresher on the subject.

Friday, April 23: Friendship Friday

The National Park System would not be where it is today without the help of park patrons, volunteers, cooperating associations, concessions, civic groups, or philanthropies. On Friendship Day, the NPS recognizes and says “thank you” to its community of partners.

Saturday, April 24: Junior Ranger Day

No matter your age, the NPS welcomes everyone to “explore, learn, and protect” your national parks, both virtually and in person. The Junior Ranger Program (explained further in the video below) offers a slew of ways young folks can have fun and learn about our national park sites. Virtual learners can start by visiting the NPS Kids Portal.

Sunday, April 25: BARK Ranger Day 

Badges and certificates aren’t limited to the Junior Ranger Program.  You can make your furry family members a certified BARK Ranger (detailed in the video below) as well.  After all, visits to many national park sites are not complete without taking Fido along for the adventures.  BARK Ranger Day encourages visitors to enjoy park visits with their pets while always keeping safety in mind.

More details on National Park Week

Check out each day’s theme and find in-person and virtual events via Also, be sure to join on social media via FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

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