The National Parks Passport is a great program for kids (and adults!) to participate with. It is easy and fun.
Get Yourself A Passport
Basically, you buy an inexpensive Passport book and every time you go to a National park, you can stamp your book.
I like this better than squished pennies, because it doesn’t cost anything after you buy your book. No patting pants pockets or digging into purses looking for quarters and pennies.
Almost every National park has a cancellation station, which contains a stamp and ink pad.
The stamp has the date and the name of the park or preserve on it. Sometimes there are even little pictures in the stamp as well.
Where To Find The Cancellation Station
Usually, we find the stamp station sitting on the information counter. Every once in a while though (in the smaller parks), you will have to ask the Ranger for the stamp and pad because they keep it behind the counter.
Other times, you will find the stamp in the gift shop, next to the cash register. Just look around, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
You can purchase your Passport at any National park store for around 10 bucks, or you can buy it here. Once you have your Passport, the rest of the program is free.
About Your National Passport
The Passport book has nine different geographic sections. Each section is color coded, making it easy for the child to find the correct page in his book.
Each area contains some general information and lists each National park in that region. There are blank spaces to put your cancellation marks.
Each Passport also comes with a large national map guide, showing all the locations in the park system. You can tack it up on the wall and plan your route to hit as many sites as you can.
You can also find an online list of cancellation stations here.
You can also purchase regional stamps if you wish, but we never bothered.
The inked stamps are colorful enough, and it is nice that they have the date on it.
The kids like to flip through their Passports and see how many places they have been in and where they were in different years.
Where Is Your Passport?
We keep our Passports in the glove compartment of the truck, so we always have them with us. You just never know when you might end up at a park, unplanned. It has happened to us, more than once.
If by chance, you find yourself at a park without your Passport, you will find small slips of paper at the cancellation station, so that you can get your stamp and then paste it into your book at a later time.
I heartily recommend this program, no matter what your age. It is simple, easy to do, and who doesn’t like to stamp on an ink pad and then in their very own book?