PRATT – Skip the long lines on Black Friday this year, Kansas state parks are offering something better. Instead of walking through stuffy shopping centers shoulder to shoulder, spread out and enjoy the gorgeous scenery at Kansas state parks for free. That’s right – on Nov. 29, 2019, entrance fees at all Kansas state parks will be waived. Park visitors who #OptOutside this Black Friday will also have a chance to win a free night’s stay at a Kansas state park cabin of their choice.
Outdoor industry retail giant REI began the #OptOutside program five years ago when they closed their 150-plus stores the day after Thanksgiving as a way to encourage their 13,000 employees, and the rest of America, to get outside and exercise at a time when many families are gathered together.
“As we get ready to #OptOutside again this Black Friday, state parks provide a great option for millions of Americans to connect with nature close to their homes. We thank the states waiving entrance fees to help people get outside this year, and joining REI in encouraging Americans to opt to act,” says Marc Berejka, REI director of community and government affairs.
While all Kansas state parks will have much to offer that day, a handful of special #OptOutside events will make it hard to pick just one. Whatever park you choose, be sure to take a selfie while in the park and share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the tags #OptOutside and #MyKsStatePark.
Cedar Bluff State Parkis hosting a special geocaching event. Participants will have the opportunity to be the First to Find, or FTF, as brand new geocaches will be hidden. Be sure to stay for refreshments in the office after you are done; offices will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Prairie Dog State Parkstaff will take a group on a guided nature walk. Walk off the extra food you ate the day prior starting at 8 a.m. at the nature trail parking lot.
Tuttle Creek State Parkstaff invite you to participate in their Tuttle Treasure Trail. Treasures will be hidden on each of the seven park trails. Clues will be given on their Facebook page, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism – Tuttle Creek State Park, each day until the treasure is found.
“State parks truly are some of the most beautiful places we have to explore and enjoy nature,” said Linda Lanterman, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism parks director. “And to think you can visit some of these remarkable places for free is even more amazing.”
Kansas state parks provide public access to a combined 500 miles of maintained trails, many of which are also open to biking and horseback riding, and are recognized as some of the best in the nation. On Black Friday, enjoy them all for free.
For more on Kansas state parks, visit www.ksoutdoors.com/State-Parks.