By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury
KING of PRUSSIA >> Valley Forge National Historical Park is one of the many national parks fourth graders and their parents can visit for free.
This month, the White House started the Every Kid in a Park program which allows fourth grade students to obtain a free annual pass to the nation’s parks. The pass is good until Aug. 31, 2016. As part of the program, students are invited to experience the many activities available at Valley Forge National Historical Park.
“During the National Park Service’s centennial celebration, we want everyone to get to know Valley Forge, and we’re offering a special invitation to fourth graders and their families to discover everything that Valley Forge has to offer,” said Valley Forge National Historical Park Superintendent Kate Hammond in a press release.
There are numerous ways students can experience the historical park at Valley Forge. The park has about 20 miles of hiking trails that include key historic sites. There are 21 miles of biking trails, part of which include the Schuylkill River Trail. The park even has trails for horseback riding. Ranger-led walking tours cover various historical topics such as the American Revolution. Some fun kid-specific activities at the park include becoming a junior ranger and joining the Continental Army.
Since September is National Childhood Obesity Month, the park offers several great opportunities for students to be active outdoors. About 1 in 5 children in the United States are obese according to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention. Visiting local parks including national parks is a great way to help children get the recommended amount of physical activity which is an hour a day.
Fourth grade Students can print their free national park pass by visiting the websiteeverykidinapark.gov where they will play a game to access it. Families can also use the pass for free entry to public lands and waters across the United States. The national program is meant to help children learn while exploring the great outdoors, according to the National Park Service website www.nationalparks.org.
Fourth grade educators can print passes for all of their students. Educators include teachers, camp directors, religious group leaders and more. Teachers can download a list of educational activities that they can do with their students. These activities can be done in conjunction with Valley Forge National Historical Park and other national parks in the area.
“We hope to introduce 4th graders, their classes and families to Valley Forge; a place where they can run and play, explore and learn,” Hammond said.