Fourth-graders get a free pass to national, Indiana parks

Indiana is celebrating its 200th birthday by giving a big present to fourth-graders.

Every fourth-grader in Indiana may download a pass from everykidinapark.gov for free admission to any national or Indiana state park during 2016.

Current fourth-graders may download and use their passes through Aug. 31, and third-graders who become fourth-graders this fall may download passes beginning Sept. 1, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources has announced.

Fourth grade is when Indiana students focus on Indiana, from the state’s history to its landmarks and unique offerings.

The federal parks are included because the National Park Service is observing its 100th birthday this year. In Indiana, the National Park Service operates the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Porter, the Abraham Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City and the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Vincennes.

Indiana teachers who have fourth-grade classrooms also may use the passes for free field trips for their students as long as each student downloads a pass that is used on the trip. A separate section of the website is set up for teachers to register classes for trips.

Most Indiana state parks charge admission per vehicle, meaning an Every Kid in a Park pass will admit everyone who is in the same vehicle as the fourth-grader, according to Ginger Murphy, DNR spokeswoman. For those who are entering parks with bicycles, the pass admits all children in the group age 15 or younger, and up to three visitors age 16 or older.

Those using the pass must have the printed version to show at the gate — electronic versions or pictures of the pass on phones or other devices will not be accepted.

Cost to enter most Indiana State Parks is $7 per car for in-state vehicles and $9 per car for out-of-state vehicles. There are 32 different state parks in Indiana, including Brown County State Park west of Columbus.

Where to find a list of Indiana's state parks

A list of the 32 Indiana State Parks is available at stateparks.IN.gov.

How to sign up

Fourth-graders who want an Every Kid in a Park pass should go to everykidinapark.gov for their printed pass.

Sharing photos

The Indiana state parks system invites families to share their photos and experiences using their Every Kid in a Park pass. To post on Facebook, visit:

facebook.com/INdnrstateparksand reservoirs

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.