Park it! Everglades free till Sunday for National Park Week

The National Park Service has again joined with the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, to present National Park Week through Sunday. During this week, admission to all of America's national parks is free.

Luckily, we live right next to one of the nation's most intriguing: Everglades National Park. There are activities every day to keep us coming back for the rest of the week.

Flamingo entrance

Information: 239-695-2945

Activities: Morning bird walks: 8:30 a.m.; Discovery walks: 1:30 p.m.; Naturalist's knapsack talks: 2:30 p.m.; Evening programs, 7:30 p.m. (Sunday, Monday only)

Royal Palm entrance

Information: 305-242-7700

Activities: Anhinga amble: 10:30 a.m.; Glades Glimpse: 1:30 p.m., a 30-minute presentation

Shark Valley entrance

In this file photo, a 360 degree unobstructed view of the wetlands at Everglades National Park at Shark Valley can be obtained at the park's viewing tower. Four trams run daily to the tower or patrons can ride bicycles around the 15-mile tram path of which the tower is at the halfway mark.

Photo by Jason Easterly

In this file photo, a 360 degree unobstructed view of the wetlands at Everglades National Park at Shark Valley can be obtained at the park's viewing tower. Four trams run daily to the tower or patrons can ride bicycles around the 15-mile tram path of which the tower is at the halfway mark.

Information: 305-221-8776

Activities: Tram tour: 11 a.m. daily; extra fee; reservations requested; Ranger walks: 11:15 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; Ranger talks: 1:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Gulf Coast entrance

Information: 239-695-3311

Activities: There are boat tours, but those are not on a set schedule

Big Cypress National Preserve

Information: 239-695-1201

Activities: There are no set events this week, but visitors can enjoy the area while they're visiting the national park. Admission is free all year.

There's an app for that

To make your experience both enjoyable and efficient, you can call up at least two apps covering U.S. national parks on your smartphone.

Chimani National Parks: The first, from the park service, features basic information on 383 National Park Service units. Take a look at it online at: www.chimani.com/parks.html#nationalparks

National Parks by National Geographic: The second has breathtaking photography, and the overview is free. You're permitted to access one park guide free; after that you pay per park for the service, which includes trail maps and best photo spots. Preview that one online at: http://bit.ly/Jg0yGS

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