Boulder City, Nevada - As the National Park Service celebrates 100 years of protecting and preserving the nation's parks and monuments, everyone is encouraged to get out and #FindYourPark during National Park Week, April 16-24.
All National Park Service entrance fees will be waived for the week and plenty of free activities and festivities will take place at Lake Mead National Recreation Area and other national parks.
"We have an amazing variety of special events taking place during the centennial," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "Some commemorate our first hundred years, but many others look to the future, to the next 100 years, and will help connect with and create the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates. It is through them that America's lands and stories will be preserved and passed on to future generations."
National Park Week will kick-off with National Junior Ranger Day Saturday April 16. Lake Mead will host a variety of activities at the Lake Mead Visitor Center from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Kids can learn about the land and water at Lake Mead and paleontology resources at Tule Springs. They can also create nature prints using the power of the sun;take a ranger-led hike and more. When kids complete the activities they will be sworn in as a Junior Ranger and receive a Centennial Junior Ranger badge and certificate. Free park passes will be handed out to fourth graders, and cake will be served at noon.
Around 1,300 athletes will race through Lake Mead during the BBSC Rage Triathlon April 16. Rage is one of the biggest triathlons at Lake Mead, featuring a Sprint and Olympic distance triathlon. The race will begin with a sunrise swim at Boulder Beach, followed by a hilly bike course through dirt and concrete trails, as it leads to the River Mountains Loop Trail.
National Park Week will be celebrated in downtown Las Vegas, too. A special Find Your Park from Vegas film, featuring Las Vegas City Mayor Carolyn Goodman, a showgirl and an Elvis impersonator, will air at the Fremont Street Experience April 16-24. Meet under the canopy every evening to follow Elvis and the showgirl as they journey to different parks around Las Vegas. Nightly showtimes are at the top of the hour, starting at 8 p.m. until midnight. Join park service employees and partners near the Third Street Stage at 8 p.m. April 16 for the film's premiere.
Other highlights during the week include a National Park InstaMeet April 23 that coincides with Worldwide InstaMeet 13. Celebrate the wonder and beauty of national parks by sharing a photo of your favorite national park on Instagram, tagging #FindYourParkInstaMeet and #WWIM13.
Even more activities are planned for Find Your Park Day April 23. Enjoy a ranger-led dog hike on the Historic Railroad Trail;learn how to cook gourmet macaroni and cheese on a campfire;discover nature journaling at the Lake Mead Visitor Center and watercolor art at the Water Safety Center;hike to the Callville Summit and learn how to take scenic photos using Instagram and learn how to catch and clean fish.
During National Parks Rx Day April 24, rangers will "prescribe" a list of healthy activities that people can do in the park to promote wellness and help prevent and treat chronic disease. Join a ranger at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Lake Mead Visitor Center.
"With free admission to parks all week long, National Park Week is the perfect opportunity to check out a new location, revisit one of your favorite parks, and perhaps invite a friend who has never visited a park before to join you," said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks. "It's a great time to experience and celebrate our parks and historic places, and discover and share with each other how these treasured places are vital and relevant to people from all backgrounds from all over the country."
For a full list of National Park Week events at Lake Mead, visit www.nps.gov/lake/getinvolved/centennial-at-lake-mead.htm. Visit www.FindYourPark.com to learn more about National Park Week activities throughout the country.
Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque is a public awareness and education movement to inspire people from all backgrounds to connect with, celebrate and support America's national parks and community-based programs that help revitalize communities and commemorate local heritage.