Arches National Park ranger Jess Kavanagh, right, speaks to a group of hikers during a trip through the park's Fiery Furnace area. [Photo by Andrew Kuhn / Courtesy of the National Park Service]

The National Park Service is throwing a party later this week, and everyone’s invited.

To celebrate the agency’s 100th birthday during National Park Week, entrance fees at all national parks and monuments across the country will be waived. Special activities are also planned in the parks during the celebration, which runs from Saturday, April 16, through Sunday, April 24.

The local celebration kicks off on April 16 with Junior Ranger Day at Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park’s Island in the Sky District. Kids will be able to earn junior ranger badges at both locations, where there will be hands-on activities at the parks’ visitor centers.

Drawing with Madeline Logowitz, the agency’s local Community Artist in the Parks, is just one of the many other activities that park visitors can join during National Park Week. Logowitz will be stationed at Arches’ Garden of Eden site on Saturday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Each year we select a community artist to work with us a minimum of 24 hours a month,” said Sharon Brussell, an interpretive specialist at Arches and Canyonlands national parks. “It’s been a really wonderful program – it allows people to experience the park in a different way. She’ll be out there sketching, and engaging with people. It’s a great program.”

In support of the Every Kid in a Park initiative, Arches will provide children opportunities to talk with park rangers on Saturday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., about the different types of work that take place at the park. The “Ranger Adventures: The Tools We Use” activities will include meeting an archaeologist, and search and rescue personnel, said Jenna Giddens, an interpretive field operations supervisor for both Arches and Canyonlands.

President Barack Obama launched the Every Kid in a Park initiative last year to encourage fourth-graders and their families to experience federal public lands.

The Every Kid in a Park initiative provides fourth-graders with a free pass that will allow them and their families free access to national parks, national forests and national wildlife refuges throughout the 2015-2016 school year. Every Kid in a Park targets fourth-graders because they are at an impressionable age and eager to learn, Brussell said.

“The whole push is to engage youth – that’s how you keep the parks,” she said.

On April 23, Canyonlands National Park’s Needles District will also host an “InstaMeet” at Pothole Point, from 10 a.m. to noon. Visitors are encouraged to join others in posting photos or short videos on Instagram and other social media using the hashtags: #FindYourParkInstaMeet, #FindYourPark, #EncuentraTuParque, #NPS100.

Another InstaMeet event will take place on April 24 at Arches National Park’s Balanced Rock, from 4 to 7 p.m.

Other parks around the country will host additional activities during National Park Week, such as Earth Day events, and Park RX Day, where visitors take part in recreational activities that encourage healthy lifestyles and promote physical and mental well-being.

Beyond this month, a variety of activities and events, such as “dark sky” programs, are planned throughout the summer at parks and monuments across the nation, including a dark sky program at the Needles district on Friday, May 6.

Free admission, events at Arches and Canyonlands from April 16-24

When: Saturday, April 16, through Sunday, April 24

Where: Arches and Canyonlands national parks

Cost: Free admission and festivities


For more information about National Park Week, go to:, or learn more about the Every Kid in a Park initiative, or to get your child’s pass, visit