National Park Service sites will waive admission for a week and offer family-friendly activities

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FARMINGTON — National parks around the country will waive admission fees next week in celebration of National Park Week, which kicks off on Saturday and continues through April 24.

The National Park Service manages more than 400 sites throughout the nation, and 127 of them charge entrance fees, according to the National Park Service. Several of locations are in the Four Corners, including Aztec Ruins National Monument, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and Natural Bridges National Monument.

During National Park Week, all parks will waive admission, and some will offer special events. For example, Mesa Verde National Park will offer "behind-the-scenes" curated tours of the park's Visitor and Research Center at 9 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 20, according to a press release from the national park in southwestern Colorado. 

Each tour will be limited to 10 people, and registration is required. Call 970-529-4612 to register.

Aztec Ruins National Monument will offer two major events at the beginning and end of National Park Week.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, the monument will host its first-ever American Indian Cultural Arts Festival, which was organized by Ranger Cyresa Bloom.

The event will include about 20 artists and will feature presentations about burro packing and trade on the Old Spanish Trail, the New Deal and the National Park Service. There will also be child-friendly activities during the entire event, Bloom said.

The monument will mark the end of National Park Week with its annual Earth Day celebration from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. April 23.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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