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In what is fast becoming a national day of play, families across America are planning to visit to local, state or national parks Saturday (May 17) to commemorate Kids to Parks Day. Across America, kids will be taking their first hike, playing in creeks, studying frogs, participating in clean ups, exploring American history, and having picnics.

National Park Traveler reported that more than 1,000 events in 47 states are listed on the Kids to Parks website. The National Park Trust launched kidstoparks.org where park events are listed by state and the website features helpful downloadable tips and guides to help children, families and teachers plan park adventures. The trust has also launched a weekly contest on facebook.com/nationalparktrust, offering engaging and fun activities leading up to Kids to Parks Day. Those who pledge at the site will also have a chance to win a grand prize.

“Four years ago, NPT launched this grassroots movement to encourage families to engage with and celebrate our parks across the United States. Families, schools and park officials have embraced this fun event – a national day of outdoor play – and it is fast becoming America’s unofficial kick off to summer,” said Grace Lee, the Trust’s executive director.

To date, 381 mayors representing 50 states and Washington, D.C., and 17 governors (Md., Colo., Va., Pa., W.Va., Mo., Nev., Del., Ark., Miss., Ariz., Il, Ind., Iowa, N. Mex., N.C., Tenn) have issued proclamations.

“Kids to Parks Day is the perfect way to jumpstart the summer and get families playing outdoors in parks. The American Academy of Pediatrics is encouraging families across the country to take the pledge and discover a park on May 17,” said Dr. Robert Zarr, national spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.