Fee Free Weekends This Summer
Contact: Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
Homestead/Key West Tough economic times call for economical fun, and you can’t beat America’s national parks for family time, fresh air, and opportunities to learn about our great country. South Florida's residents can get out and enjoy three national parks right here in their own backyards. Everglades, Biscayne, and Dry Tortugas National Parks are pleased to participate in the National Park Service Fee Free Summer Weekends announced by Department of Interior Secretary Salazar recently. “Our National Parks here in south Florida serve as powerful economic engines for local communities and we hope that promoting visitation will give a small shot in the arm to businesses in the area, while providing the public with affordable vacation options” said Everglades Superintendent Dan Kimball.
The fee free weekends arrive just in time to celebrate Fathers Day (June 20-21) with a trip to the park near you. In addition to Fathers Day Weekend there are two additional weekends included in this program - July 18-19 and August 15-16, 2009.
Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks will waive fees at all entrance stations (Fort Jefferson, Shark Valley and Homestead). Biscayne National Park has no entrance fee, but will waive tent camping fees for these three weekends (day and overnight docking fees will not be waived). Camping fees are also waived at Everglades National Park though permits are still required during the summer. Dry Tortugas camping fees will not be waived for these weekends.
Shark Valley Tram Tours in Everglades National Park is offering a "buy one ticket and get a second one half off" deal for the popular two hour tram tour and Biscayne National Park's concessioner is offering a 10% discount on all tours to dads on Fathers Day, Sunday June 21. Tour times and costs are available via links from the Everglades and Biscayne National Parks websites.
There's always lots to do and see at these unique national parks - bicycling, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling, guided boat tours and more. Go to www.nps.gov/ever, www.nps.gov/drto, and www.nps.gov/bisc. for updated Ranger guided programs and other information on guided and alternative tours to maximize your visit here. "We’re inviting you to join the nation-wide movement to "stay-cation" by visiting your neighboring National Parks this summer", states Biscayne National Park Superintendent Mark Lewis. "So grab your dad, friends, and family and make some national park memories of your own this Father’s Day."
For complete information on other National Parks and park partners offering summer specials in conjunction with the Fee Free Summer Weekend program, go to http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.
Did You Know?
The USS Maine would make a brief stop at Fort Jefferson before its ill-fated voyage to Havana. Following the sinking of the Maine, the Dry Tortugas served as an important staging area for U.S. battleships during the Spanish-American War.