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Every Kid in a Park

Visit a participating NOAA sanctuary or estuarine reserve!

Every Kid in a Park is a federal government effort to get every fourth grader in the nation into public lands and waters during the 2015/2016 school year. The goal is to foster the next generation of environmental stewards and ocean guardians eager to enjoy America's natural treasures. Many NOAA locations provide ideal settings for visitors to experience hands-on activities that can inspire a sense of wonder and a thirst for knowledge about our special ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes places — and all NOAA public spaces and visitor centers offer free admission!

LOCATIONS

AMERICAN SAMOA: National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa

FACILITIES: restrooms, visitor center, environmental education facility, access to public beaches and nearshore marine environment (day use areas)

ACTIVITIES: STEM program; maritime and cultural heritage program; ocean swimming; self-guided ocean recreation

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Year-round

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: No

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: Yes. Please contact us for a tour request form.

ADDITIONAL INFO: The sanctuary waters include six areas in the near and offshore waters of the Samoan Archipelago. These pristine areas include great spots for recreational activities available to the public, such as snorkeling and swimming. The Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center offers opportunities for students to participate in ocean swimming classes, or register for the Ocean Star Summer Program — a four week marine science course targeted to kids between 10-12 years old.

WEBSITE: http://americansamoa.noaa.gov/

TELEPHONE: 684-633-6500


CALIFORNIA: Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary

FACILITIES: visitor center, access to public beaches and nearshore marine environment (day use areas)

ACTIVITIES: ocean recreation via concessionaires (kayaking, snorkeling, whale watching with naturalists, etc.), and self-guided tours

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Spring, Summer, Fall

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: Yes

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: Registration is required for group educational programs and guided tours.

ADDITIONAL INFO: Most group educational programs are led by members of the Channel Islands Naturalist Corps — a program that is co-managed with the National Park Service. The visitor center is able to most easily accomodate smaller groups. Group tours to the islands and sanctuary waters are usually limited to groups of about 70.

WEBSITE: http://channelislands.noaa.gov/

TELEPHONE: 805-966-7107


CALIFORNIA: Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon Bay (Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary)

FACILITIES: restrooms, visitor center, environmental education facility, pier

ACTIVITIES: STEM program; history, maritime, and cultural heritage program

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Spring, Summer, Fall

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: No

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: Yes

ADDITIONAL INFO: Visitor center is only open Friday-Sunday (Weekends).

WEBSITE: http://montereybay.noaa.gov/vc/cdc/welcome.html

TELEPHONE: 805-927-6575


CALIFORNIA: Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

FACILITIES: visitor center, environmental education facility, pier, access to public beaches and coastal areas (day use areas)

ACTIVITIES: outdoor classroom, STEM program, ocean recreation (self-guided and via concessionaires)

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Year-round

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: No

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: Registration is required for group educational programs.

ADDITIONAL INFO: This sanctuary provides an opportunity to learn about the marine environment and maritime history at a place where cold and warm waters meet, exemplifing much of the southern Caliornia Bight biodiversity. Visitors can access great spots for recreational activities available to the public, such as tidepooling. Students will enjoy the sanctuary's Pass the Plankton program, which includes outdoor beach and water monitoring, a plankton lab, and exhibit components. Educational programs are best suited to smaller groups of students, but the plankton lab (oriented toward fourth graders) can be modified to take up to 50 (3 groups of 16-17 students.)

WEBSITE: http://farallones.noaa.gov/

TELEPHONE: 415-561-6622 x308


CALIFORNIA: Sanctuary Exploration Center (Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary)

FACILITIES: restrooms, visitor center

ACTIVITIES: STEM program

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Year-round

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: No

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: Registration is required for group educational programs.

ADDITIONAL INFO: The Exploration Center highlights the spectacular Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Overlooking the ocean, the Sanctuary Exploration Center is located in the heart of the Santa Cruz's famed beach area, just steps away from the city's Municipal Wharf. The center features engaging interactive and multi-media exhibits to help visitors explore the sanctuary's remarkable marine environment, as well as their personal role in protecting this special underwater treasure.

WEBSITE: http://montereybay.noaa.gov/vc/sec/welcome.html

TELEPHONE: 831-421-9993


CALIFORNIA: Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

FACILITIES: visitor centers, access to public trails, beaches and coastal areas (day use areas)

ACTIVITIES: ocean recreation (self-guided and via concessionaires)

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Year-round

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: Yes

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: Registration is required for group educational programs at visitor centers.

ADDITIONAL INFO: Visitors will find a wide variety of land and seascapes along the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Activities such as surfing, diving, snorkeling, kayaking, tidepooling, and camping can be enjoyed by visitors. The sanctuary manages two visitor centers: The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center is steps away from the ocean and accessible to the City of Santa Cruz Wharf. The center features state-of-the art exhibits and interactive displays highlighting the sanctuary and its incredible underwater environment providing a jumping off point to go out to nearby beaches, walk the GreenWharf to see seabirds, sea lions and other marine mammals. The Coastal Discovery Center in San Simeon provides an excellent departure point for the southern portion of the sanctuary, and is a collaborative effort with California State Parks.

WEBSITE: http://montereybay.noaa.gov/

TELEPHONE: 831-647-4201


DELAWARE: Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve

FACILITIES: restrooms, visitor center, environmental education facility, exhibit hall, outdoor classroom, boats, access to trails and coastal areas (day use areas)

ACTIVITIES: outdoor classroom, STEM program

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Spring, Fall

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: Yes

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: Yes. Registration required for group educational programs.

ADDITIONAL INFO:Our featured field trip experience is designed with the fourth grader in mind. This opportunity includes a joint field trip at the St. Jones Reserve and the John Dickinson Plantation. This unique opportunity allows students to explore and experience Delaware’s Land and Water and Historical significance in the same field trip

WEBSITE: http://nerrs.noaa.gov/reserves/delaware.html

TELEPHONE: 302-739-6377


FLORIDA: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

FACILITIES:restrooms, visitor center, access to public beaches and nearshore marine environment (day use areas), offshore mooring bouys (a.k.a., special use areas)

ACTIVITIES: STEM, geocaching, ocean recreation (self-guided and via concessionaires)

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Year-round

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: No

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: No, but please call ahead for group visits to the Eco-Discovery Center.

ADDITIONAL INFO: Come to the Eco-Discovery Center (Tues-Sat) to learn about the marine environments of the sanctuary and get information about the great spots for recreational activities available to the public, such as snorkeling and kayaking. The Center can accommodate groups of up to 40 kids at a time. Capacity for beach trips or on-the-water trips depends on the teacher, number of chaperons and/or the number of passengers a vessel can accommodate.

WEBSITE: http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/

TELEPHONE: 305-809-4750


FLORIDA: Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, Environmental Education Center

FACILITIES: restrooms, environmental education facility, amphitheater, exhibit hall, access to trails, lakes and coastal areas (day use areas)

ACTIVITIES: outdoor classroom, STEM program

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Year-round

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: Yes

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: Registration is required for group educational programs.

ADDITIONAL INFO: School Field Experiences are available: September-May; The Estuary Explorers program (group size limited to 45 kids) educates students about estuarine science through a combination of classroom curriculum and hands-on activities. In the process, students gain knowledge about and respect for this important estuary and are empowered with the skills and desire to act as stewards of their environment.

WEBSITE: http://nerrs.noaa.gov/reserves/gtm.html

TELEPHONE: 904-823-4509


HAWAII: Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

FACILITIES: restrooms, visitor center, traditional fishpond , access to public beaches and nearshore marine environment (day use areas)

ACTIVITIES: citizen science program (Sanctuary Ocean Count), whale watching (from land or sea), ocean recreation (self-guided and via concessionaires)

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Year-round

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: No

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: No

ADDITIONAL INFO:Visitor center phone: 800-831-4888; Peak whale-watching season is January - March.

WEBSITE: http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/

TELEPHONE: 808-879-2818


HAWAII: Mokupāpapa Discovery Center (Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument)

FACILITIES: restrooms, visitor center

ACTIVITIES: STEM and cultural heritage programs

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Year-round

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: Yes

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: Registration is required for group educational programs.

ADDITIONAL INFO: This facility "brings the place to the people" and gives visitors an opportunity to learn about the remote coral reef environments and cultures of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands via interactive displays, exhibits, and a salt-water aquarium. Outdoor classes are run directly and in conjunction with partner organizations, such as a tide pools class which can be booked through the visitor center. Best suited for smaller groups of students.

WEBSITE: http://www.papahanaumokuakea.gov/education/center.html

TELEPHONE: 808-933-8180


MASSACHUSETTS: Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

FACILITIES: access to offshore marine environment (day use areas), offshore mooring bouys (a.k.a., special use areas)

ACTIVITIES: whale watching (via concessionaires), self-guided ocean recreation

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Summer, Fall

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: No

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?:Yes

ADDITIONAL INFO: This national marine sanctuary encompasses 842-square miles of open ocean about 25 miles east of Boston. Visitors can enjoy recreational activities such as whale watching, bird watching, diving, and fishing through private operators.

WEBSITE: http://stellwagen.noaa.gov/

TELEPHONE: 781-545-8026


MASSACHUSETTS: Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

FACILITIES: restrooms, visitor center, environmental education facility, day use areas, access to trails and coastal areas

ACTIVITIES: staff-led field trips, STEM program, outdoor classroom, self-guided outdoor recreation

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Spring, Summer, Fall

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: Yes

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: Yes

ADDITIONAL INFO: Staff led field trips (group size limited to less than 50) introduce students to the concept of watersheds and the habitats and wildlife found in estuaries with an emphasis on human impacts to these areas. The Reserve’s main purpose is to foster research and education on coastal systems, and supports recreation as a way to allow people to become more familiar with these special places.

WEBSITE: http://nerrs.noaa.gov/reserves/waquoit-bay.html

TELEPHONE: 508-457-0495


MICHIGAN: Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center

FACILITIES: restrooms, visitor center, environmental education facility, access to trails and lake (day use areas), offshore mooring bouys (a.k.a., special use areas)

ACTIVITIES: outdoor classrom, STEM programs, cultural heritage programs, glass-bottom boat tours (via concessionaire), shipwreck viewing (from beach, when paddling or snorkeling)

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Spring, Summer, Fall

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: Yes

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: Registration is required for group educational programs.

ADDITIONAL INFO:The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center is open Year-round; outdoor activities are best during warmer months. Information about on-the-water educational opportunities can be found online.

WEBSITE: http://thunderbay.noaa.gov/

TELEPHONE: 989-356-8805


MISSISSIPPI: Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and National Wildlife Refuge

FACILITIES: restrooms, visitor center, environmental education facility, amphitheater, fishing pier, boat launch, access to trails and coastal areas (day use areas)

ACTIVITIES: outdoor classroom, STEM program, outdoor recreation (group kayaking and boating opportunties)

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Spring, Fall

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: Yes

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: Registration is required for group educational programs.

ADDITIONAL INFO:The reserve offers field and classroom activities that encourage coastal stewardship. These include water quality sampling, bayou tours, plant walks, citizen science activities, nature discovery, art en plein air, fishing, GPS, kayaking, letterboxing and biodiversity lessons. Group size limited to ~60 participants. Late October - early November is also a good time to visit due to nice weather and because there are usually fewer bugs.

WEBSITE: http://nerrs.noaa.gov/reserves/grand-bay.html

TELEPHONE: 228-475-7047


NEW HAMPSHIRE: Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

FACILITIES: restrooms, visitor center, access to trails and the estuary (day use areas)

ACTIVITIES: STEM program, cultural heritage program

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Spring, Fall

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: Yes

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: Registration is required for group educational programs.

ADDITIONAL INFO:The Great Bay Discovery Center hosts a variety of educational programs throughout the year, designed to teach visitors about the unique natural and cultural resources of the Great Bay Estuary. Hands-on programs focus on natural history in the spring and cultural history in the fall. These include school programs* for children in grades 1-5 (group size limited to less than 75 kids at a time) and several public programs for adults and children. *Note: School program sign-ups occur on one day in the spring and fall. More information is available online.

WEBSITE: http://nerrs.noaa.gov/reserves/great-bay.html

TELEPHONE: 603-778-0015


OREGON: South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve

FACILITIES: restrooms, visitor center, environmental education facility, hiking and paddling trails, access to waterways and estuary shoreline (day use areas)

ACTIVITIES: outdoor classroom, staff-led hikes, STEM program

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Year-round

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: Yes

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: Registration is required for group educational programs.

ADDITIONAL INFO: Explore the connection between terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Programs included guided field studies and hikes for school groups (group size limited to less than 75 participants), and guided hikes, paddling experiences, and workshops for individuals and families. Self-guided experiences include hiking, paddling, and exhibits. Trails at the South Slough Reserve are open from dawn to dusk every day of the year. More information about field trips is available online.

WEBSITE: http://nerrs.noaa.gov/reserves/south-slough.html

TELEPHONE: 541-888- 5558 x27


WASHINGTON: Olympic Coast Discovery Center (Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary)

FACILITIES: restrooms, visitor center, environmental education facility, hiking and paddling trails, access to waterways and estuary shoreline (day use areas)

ACTIVITIES: STEM program

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Summer

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: No

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: Registration required for group educational programs

ADDITIONAL INFO:Olympic Coast Discovery Center is open daily 10:00 am - 5:00 pm from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Olympic Coast Discovery Center will remain open on weekends only 10:00 am - 5:00 pm in September through mid-October. Feel free to drop in, no appointment is necessary during our open season! To schedule a tour in the off-season, please make an appointment in advance. There is a 30 person limit for outdoor group programs, and classroom-based activities are limited to three groups of 15 students at a time.

WEBSITE: http://olympiccoast.noaa.gov/visitor/discoverycenter/discoverycenter.html

TELEPHONE: 360-452-3255


WASHINGTON: Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

FACILITIES:visitor center, access to trails and beaches (day use areas)

ACTIVITIES: self-guided ocean recreation (whale watching, tide-pooling)

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Year-round

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: No

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: No

ADDITIONAL INFO: Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary provides a natural classroom for kids to learn about ocean science. There is a 30-person limit for guided outdoor group programs.

WEBSITE: http://olympiccoast.noaa.gov/

TELEPHONE: 360-457-6622


WISCONSIN: Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve

FACILITIES: trails, access to estuary, waterways, and coastal areas (day use areas)

ACTIVITIES: outdoor classroom; STEM program; history, cultural heritage program

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Spring, Fall

CAN THE SITE SUPPORT MORE THAN 45 VISITORS AT A TIME?: Yes

ARE ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?: Registration required for educational programs.

ADDITIONAL INFO: Staff work with the City of Superior and Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to guide students through the landscape of Wisconsin Point, which includes a modern-day sacred site, historic lighthouse, diverse plant communities, and birding opportunities. The Woods to Water educational program integrates forestry and watershed education into Superior classrooms using Geographic Information System technology, field experiences and school-based citizen action projects, in order to build student understanding of the relationship between human decisions, land use, and water quality. Note: Group sizes for a 1/2 day visit are typically 24-60 students.

WEBSITE: http://nerrs.noaa.gov/reserves/lake-superior.html

TELEPHONE: 715-392-3141


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the goal of the Every Kid in a Park initiative?
The goal of the Every Kid in a Park is to get young people across the country to visit federal lands and waters. By targeting a specific age group (starting with fourth graders) one year at a time, the goal is for every kid in the U.S. will have the opportunity to visit and enjoy their public lands and waters by the time he or she is 11 years old.

What agencies are included?
The Every Kid in a Park initiative involves the National Park Service, Forest Service, Department of Education, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and NOAA.

What NOAA places does this initiative involve?
While visitors are welcome at all NOAA public areas, select NOAA national marine sanctuaries and national estuarine research reserves are actively involved in this program. Selected locations, shown on the above map, have strong place-based education or outreach components and the capability to host groups of visitors.

When will the Every Kid in a Park initiative begin?
Starting September 1, 2015, every fourth grader can use the Every Kid in a Park pass to gain free entrance into any federal land and water through August 31, 2016.

How will kids get to parks and public lands?
Transportation can be a major barrier preventing kids from getting to federal lands and waters, particularly for underserved communities. That's why this initiative will include the ability to apply for a grant that will fund transportation to and from public lands and waters. The grant can cover various costs associated with getting kids to public lands and waters and will give preference to sites who are engaging students from Title One Schools.

How will kids and their families be given access to fee-collecting parks?
Sanctuaries and reserves are already free to all visitors, but in the coming months the initiative will provide tools giving fourth graders and their chaperones free admission to national parks and federally-managed public lands and waters that normally require an entrance fee. This free admission will be granted for a full year, and will start in time for the 2015-16 school year.

Why fourth graders?
Research shows that spending time outdoors is important to children's development in every major way. The earlier we can help our youth connect with our country's great outdoors, the better off they will be for it. Additionally, working with elementary schools where students have one teacher will present fewer logistical challenges than middle or high school.