Whether you're just looking to get outdoors and enjoy Idaho's gorgeous spring weather or you're looking for an educational outing for your kids, mark this date on your calendar!

Saturday, April 17th marks the beginning of National Park Week and to celebrate, the National Parks Service is offering free entry into participating parks to kick it off! Not all of Idaho's six national parks charge an entrance fee, but two of our most popular ones do.

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It's hard to picture Idaho as a hot spot for volcanic activity, but once upon a time Craters of the Moon experienced lava erupting through a series of deep cracks that the National Parks Service calls "The Great Rift." They estimate that the site was formed about 15,000 years ago. You won't find a volcano like the ones you saw in storybooks here, but there are more than 25 mini volcanoes called cinder cones at this national park. Over the years, beautiful wildflowers started to appear along the slopes of those mini volcanoes. In 1969, a group of astronauts from the Apollo 14 mission came to learn about volcanic geology at Craters of the Moon before their trip to the moon. Craters of the Moon is one of the two parks participating in the "fee free" day on April 17. Typically, it costs anywhere between $10-$20 to visit depending on how you arrive.

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The other park participating in the "fee free" day needs no introduction. It's Yellowstone. On any other day, it would cost you $20-$35 to visit the hydrothermal and geological features that make the park a fascinating destination for a family vacation.

Idaho's four other National Parks are "fee free" all year long:

If you can't make the trip to Craters of the Moon or Yellowstone on April 17, there are several more fee free days coming up outside of the month of April. They are:

  • August 4
  • August 25
  • September 25
  • November 11

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