In April 2024, seven military families were treated to an exciting day at Mammoth Cave National Park, thanks to a collaboration between the National Park Trust, National Park Service (NPS), and Our Military Kids. This partnership provides National Guard, Reserve, and post-9/11 combat-injured service members and their families with access to outdoor recreation opportunities in national park sites across the country. 

The day began with learning about the park’s rich natural and cultural resources before embarking on a historical cave tour led by park rangers into the world’s largest cave system. In the afternoon, families hiked through the Kentucky wilderness and visited another cave at the park, Wondering Woods Cave, for an intimate view of different cave formations. As part of this event, participating military families were presented with their Interagency Military Annual Pass, which provides entrance or access for one year to more than 2,000 federal recreational sites, including all National Park Service sites, for current military members and their dependents.

This event at Mammoth Cave National Park is the first of four outdoor recreation-focused events in 2024 hosted by this partnership. Other event locations include Indiana Dunes National Park, IN, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, CA, and Zion National Park, UT.

The program, supported by the NPS and coordinated by National Park Trust and Our Military Kids, doesn’t just offer special outings for military members and their loved ones. It also emphasizes the significance of nurturing ties with nature and forging community connections. These trips allow families to enjoy the great outdoors, learn new skills, and create lasting memories, reinforcing the invaluable role national parks play in promoting recreation, education, and family well-being.