The U.S. National Park Service is wondering where all the children have gone. This Saturday, June 9, why not bring your kids to your favorite park to celebrate Get Outdoors Day and get free admission for a day of outdoorsy fun?


Saturday is one of a handful of free admission days that the National Park Service offers to the public, and it's a great opportunity to explore a nearby national park, or to take in the sights at one you've never explored before.  Your next opportunity to get in for free won't be until September, so if you want to get out to a national park this summer, this is your chance. Here's the list of free admission dates for the rest of 2012:

  • June 9: Get Outdoors Day
  • Sept. 29: National Public Lands Day
  • Nov. 10-12: Veterans Day weekend

Now is the time to get kids hooked on national parks. Recent surveys have found that the average age of park visitors is increasing, making some outdoor enthusiasts fear that national parks are becoming irrelevant to kids.  


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It's true. Kids can't fall in love with national parks if they've never been to one. Books, apps and websites that teach them about nature are great, but when it comes down to experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of a national park, there's nothing like the real thing.


So grab the kids and the camera and hatch a plan to visit a national park this Saturday. I'll be at one of the ranger programs at Shenandoah National Park. Which national park will you visit?


Related: Take a tour of the most-visited national parks