Americans have recognized April 22 as Earth Day since 1970, when 20 million Americans led demonstrations and protests to demand protection of the environment and wilderness. The outcry was heard across the country and by the end of the year, the United States had established the Environmental Protection Agency and passed the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
In 1990, Earth Day went global, and thanks to the help of worldwide environmental leaders, 200 million people in 141 countries participated in Earth Day campaigns. Just two years later, the United Nations held its two-week Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
To honor the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in 2010, 225,000 people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to rally for climate change. The Earth Day Network also started a campaign to plant one billion trees-- a goal that was achieved in 2012.
Stacker found the best Earth Day 2018 celebrations in each state to help you decide how to mark the day. Read on to learn about the activities closest to you, and find out which one Kenny Loggins is attending.
Though Birmingham features 110 beautiful city-run parks, the crown jewel of natural beauty in Alabama’s largest city is undoubtedly the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. From 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on April 21st, you can explore the gardens free of charge and attend marquee exhibits such as Bib & Tucker Sew Op’s 2018 March Quilt, which invites those with any range of sewing experience to “cultivate skills and community.” If you’re not interested in any specific events, feel free to browse the Art Gallery, seek out rare species of birds, or simply appreciate the wide array of beautiful plantlife, all the while enjoying free popcorn provided by the Library at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
The Fairbanks Children’s Museum has partnered with the Georgeson Botanical Garden to host a fun-filled celebration of the planet that is sure to please both children and adults. Head to the museum on April 22nd from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. to learn all about the environment and make an edible terrarium. The event costs $8 per person.
For the ninth year in a row, Keep Phoenix Beautiful has planned an action-packed Earth Day celebration at the beautiful Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix. On April 21st from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., festival goers can attend a variety of eco-friendly workshops, and also enjoy live music, food trucks, face painting, and a bike rodeo. The day is a “zero-waste event,” meaning everything at the festival can be either recycled or composted.
Pinnacle Mountain State Park offers sweeping views of the rugged Arkansas landscape and the breathtaking Arkansas River, and April 21 through April 22, visitors will also be able to delight in the park’s Earth Day activities. Visit the Little Rock park from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to participate in a tree-planting ceremony and programs on recycling and repurposing.
Santa Barbara has made a weekend celebration out of Earth Day, hosting a giant Earth Day Festival in Alameda Park on April 21 from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and April 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The festival features two days of live music, speakers, family programming, sustainable food, and the largest Green Car Show on the west coast. Former Vice President Al Gore has even called the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival “exactly what we need to move the needle on climate change.” Singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins will perform at the event and present the 2018 Environmental Heroes awards.
Colorado Earth Day invites locals to unwind at this annual event, which features yoga and a beer garden in addition to guest speakers, vendors, and the North Carolina band The Broadcast. Visit the Colorado State Capitol Grounds in Denver on April 21 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to be one of the thousands of people expected to turn out for this event-- last year, the festival drew more than 13,000.
Connecticut is rich with opportunities to learn about the environment thanks to the state’s abundance of nature and science centers, and Woodbury Earth Day aims to spread this wisdom to its 6,000 guests that are expected to attend. From 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on April 21, you can visit the fairgrounds at Hollow Park to create your own rain barrel, enjoy live music, and check out more than 130 vendors.
If you have time on your lunch break, be sure to head down to Rodney Square in Wilmington on Friday, April 20 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to collect a free native plant and raffle items, enjoy a sandwich or two from a food truck, and listen to live bluegrass music. Even better, Rodney Square is conveniently located near a train station and a bus depot, so you have easy access to eco-friendly transportation.
The National Zoo is always a great place to learn more about how you can be a better steward to the environment, and this year’s Earth Optimism Day at the zoo promises to enhance the already-present education. On April 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., visitors can check out several “Education Stations,” on topics including Bird-friendly Coffee, Coral Conservation, and Conservation Success Stories.
Central Florida Earth Day is both the largest and longest-running Earth Day Festival in Central Florida, and for good reason. The April 21 festival is completely vegan and even offers an “Ask a Vegan” tent for curious visitors, along with samples of vegan foods. Visit Lake Eola Park from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. to also see a much-anticipated Endangered Species Puppet Parade, and participate in nature walks, meditation, and tai chi.
Georgia Tech may be known for one of the top engineering programs in the country, but few people know that the school is also home to one of the largest Earth Day celebrations in the southeast. On April 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., head to Tech Walk to swap your old clothing and office supplies with other guests, and enjoy live music and organic popcorn.
Hawaii is the world’s largest island chain and is famous for its incredible biodiversity, much of which is on display at the Waikiki Aquarium on the island of Oahu. From 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on April 21, the aquarium will hold its annual Mauka to Makai Environmental Expo, where visitors can watch a fish release, take home a native plant, and engage in interactive learning activities.
The Idaho Falls Zoo houses a wide array of international animals, a bird aviary, and a petting zoo, and on April 28, it will also play host to a fun-filled Earth Day Celebration. Check out the zoo from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to race in an Earth Day-themed challenge course run and create kid-friendly crafts that include decorating a flower pot and creating an Earth necklace. Zoo admission will be free for children ages 12 and younger with the purchase of an adult ticket and a can of food for the Idaho Falls Food Bank.
The Windy City will gather in historic Humboldt Park on April 21 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to celebrate Earth Day with eco-friendly volunteer work. Volunteers will meet at the boathouse to clean up the park, and later in the day, visitors can participate in a tree dedication and ceremony. The event closes with a celebratory lunch featuring live music from a number of artists, including Left Setters and Opra-Matic.
What better way to celebrate Earth Day than with a run along the picturesque White River at Earth Day Indiana Festival’s Recycle Run 5K? The race begins at noon on April 21, but the festival is from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., so there’s plenty of time to enjoy the many festivities, which include local food vendors, live music, and children’s performances. If you ride your bike to the festival, you can leave your bike at the Pedal & Park area where festival organizers will watch your bike for free.
Last year, volunteers around Des Moines stepped up and took on more than 70 different projects in the city, collecting around 83,000 pounds of trash. This year’s Earth Day Trash Bash promises to be even bigger, with the event taking place both April 20 and April 21 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The kick-off bash will take place in Cowles Commons, where volunteers can rally for food, music and informational booths.
The city of Lawrence has promised to go all out for its 18th Annual Earth Day Parade and Celebration. The parade begins at 11:00 a.m. on April 21, and everyone is invited to stick around for the day’s festivities afterwards until 4:30 p.m. Learn about waste reduction and composting, and relish in live music, food and children’s activities.
The Louisville community will gather at the Iroquois Amphitheater for the Louisville Earth Walk on April 21 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The family-friendly 5K walk offers activities to engage the public on their carbon footprint and the steps they can (literally) take to reduce it. Be sure to stay after the walk to check out the music, guest speakers, and a nature-focused children’s play area. Tickets are $10 before the event and $15 the day of.
Louisiana is home to the Mississippi River Delta, one of the largest areas of coastal wetlands in the United States, and the state plans to celebrate its rich biodiversity at Louisiana Earth Day on April 29 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The festival asks visitors to take the “Louisiana Pledge” to do their part in bettering the environment, and offers educational opportunities to help people keep their pledge. The “Earth for Children” zone lets kids practice how to protect the environment and learn about animals native to Louisiana.
Get ready to get messy at the Earth Day celebration held by the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine. Kids can play with mud, plant seeds, and handle live caterpillars on April 22 from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m at the museum, and hear from a USM biology professor and an animal rehabilitator. Throughout the day, families can enjoy Earth-themed storytime and face painting, and guests will get to take home a seedling to plant.
Maryland’s 2018 GreenFest will feature a local artist crafting sculptures from tree stumps, geocaching workshops, paper shredding trucks, and the CEO of Hungry Harvest, Evan Lutz. Join in the festivities on April 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and make sure to grab a free compost bin. Local vendors will also be selling native plants.
Head down to the beautiful historic Framingham Centre Common on April 28 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for the annual can’t-miss community event. Festival-goers will have the opportunity to plant native wild strawberry plants, craft bird feeders, participate in yoga and fitness classes, and create a recycled art mosaic. The event is also zero-waste, so you can have fun while keeping the earth clean.
Ever heard of plarn? At this local event, participants will have the opportunity to make their own plarn (plastic yarn) and explore the recreation center’s unique Nature Room with native live animals and Outdoor Natural Play Area. From 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on April 20, kids can also go on a guided nature hike and create a recycled craft. Plus, Rocky from Paw Patrol is set to make an appearance. Free registration is available online.
This local event is extra special because it coincides with the Harriet Alexander Nature Center’s 28th birthday. Join in the celebration on April 21 from from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and get the chance to walk in a parade, eat birthday cake, and watch a showing of “The Lorax.” The center also will offer guided tours of its stunning boardwalk and trails, which circulate through 52 acres of marsh, prairie, and forest habitats.
For many, the draw of the annual DeSoto County Earth Day on April 21 might be the opening of the Hernando Farmer’s Market for the season. Known as Mississippi’s favorite farmer’s market, the Hernando market features locally-grown and produced food and drinks that visitors can enjoy during the Earth Day festivities. In to addition the kid-friendly activities and giveaways, the event features pet adoptions from the local animal shelter and a secure paper shredding truck from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Take the Earth Day Challenge at the St. Louis Earth Day Festival and bring a reusable water bottle and bag, get to the festival using low-impact transportation, and eat vegan for the day to win an eco-friendly prize-- and help save the environment. The challenge is available at the festival on April 21 to April 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Even if you don’t participate, you can still join in the fun thanks to the free garden classes, rock climbing, car show, and peace garden.
The Montana Audubon Center’s Earth Day Celebration starts bright and early with a morning bird walk at 7:00 a.m. on April 21, but don’t worry if you tend to sleep in. From 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., join volunteers in a trash pickup, take part in a nature hike, and work on projects in the Shepard Nature Play Space and 54-acre outdoor classroom. Volunteers are also invited to a free barbecue lunch.
Lincoln may be a buzzing metropolis, but on April 28, visitors have the chance to get in touch with nature at Lincoln Earth Day. From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., join the 2,500 expected attendees and Mayor Chris Beutler in assembling your own rain barrel and compost area, and participating in a community bike ride. Visitors can also take home their own foldscope-- an affordable paper microscope.
Reno Earth Day set to celebrate the inspiration the planet offers for creative endeavors. At the festival on April 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., guests can attend a creative writing and poetry read, a poster art showcase, and the Earth Innovations Science Fair, where students will share their ideas about the human impact on the environment. People are also encouraged to attend the wide variety of workshops available, including a seminar on growing garlic, sensory garden tours, and a class on native plant gardening.
Kids and adults alike have the opportunity to get in touch with the earth at the Earth Day Celebration at the fun-packed Children’s Museum of New Hampshire on April 22 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Community leaders will help museum visitors plant their own marigolds, and the museum’s STEAM Innovation Lab will host a sustainable building activity. The event is free with regular museum admission.
New Jersey’s famous Liberty State Park is surrounded by water on three sides, making it a prime location for an Earth Day reflection, which you can do at the Celebrate Earth Day 5K Run/Walk and Fair. The race begins at 10:00 a.m., and the fair continues after from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Stick around for live entertainment, free health screenings, and environmental exhibits galore.
Why have just one Earth Day when you can have an Earth Week? Travel to either one or all of Albuquerque’s natural gems from April 18 to April 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. On April 18, you’ll have the opportunity to meet ocean animals at the aquarium touch pools, while on April 19, head to the zoo to chat with a zookeeper and explore hands-on animal discovery stations. Make your way to Tingley Beach on April 20 to identify birds and feed the ducks, and round out the week on April 21 at the Botanic Garden to learn all about the habitats of New Mexico.
The Big Apple is home to the most high-traffic Earth Day event in the United States. The celebration draws more than 100,000 people annually, and this year, visitors can check out the 70 exhibitors, live performers, and kids’ activities. The event takes place on April 15 from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and even extends into an Earth Day 5K on April 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
The Piedmont Earth Day Fair will be an electric event for many reasons, but its feature of several live debates make it stand out. High school debate teams along with the Wake Forest University Debate team are set to go head to head on topics such as pig farming and offshore drilling, and audience members are encouraged to get involved. If you’re feeling less argumentative, there’s still plenty to see at the April 21 event from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., including a Jazzercise session, a DIY house cleaner demonstration, and a swap shop where you can bring an item to trade.
The city of Bismarck is speckled with a spectacular landscape, which is certainly something to celebrate at the city’s Earth Day Festival on April 19 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The family-friendly event features educational booths, face painting, and free trees and reusable tote bags. The fair will also include the popular recycled art contest, in which winners have their art displayed at the North Dakota Heritage Center.
Cruise down the road in one of the fuel-efficient electric cars that are available to test drive at Earth Day Columbus in Genoa Park on April 22. If that’s not up your alley, from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., enjoy local food trucks and kids’ crafts all day long. And after you’ve finished your test drive, make sure to indulge in a special mixed drink from Middle West Spirits.
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is the perfect place to commemorate both the beauty of nature and the diversity of species, and the zoo’s Party for the Planet Celebration on April 22 lets visitors do just that. From 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., take part in activities to learn how to become a valuable climate citizen. In addition, at 2:00 p.m., the zoo will announce the winner of this year’s Dr. Pepper Vending Machine Art Contest.
Widely known as one of the most eco-friendly cities in the world, the Portland Earth Day Spring Festival plans to celebrate the progress the city has made toward a greener planet, as well as to kick off the growing season. On April 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., stop by to purchase native plants, donate blood, take a garden tour, and enjoy various kids’ games and crafts.
2018 is the Schuylkill Center’s Year of Water, and this year’s Naturepalooza will honor all things water at the family Earth Day celebration on April 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Make sure to take part in the guided hikes, dancing, and fort-building competition at one of the first environmental education centers in the country.
Although it may be the smallest state in the United States, Rhode Island’s Earth Day festivities are no small feat. Join the community and Mayor Elorza on April 28 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for a morning of city clean-ups. Volunteers can take on projects such as planting trees, beautifying a neighborhood, or picking up trash. Plus, volunteering at this event gets you free admission to Roger Williams Park.
Ring in Earth Day with a three-mile family bicycle ride at this year’s Earth Day Aiken. If you’d rather spend the day on your feet, the April 21 event from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. has plenty to offer. Take a guided walk in the woods, watch a performance from the Columbia Marionette Theater, and indulge at one of the many food stations.
From 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on April 21, head to the Great Plains Zoo for an action-packed Party for the Planet. Here, you’ll learn how to make your own backyard more wildlife-friendly so you can do your part in saving the planet. Enjoy educational activities all day long that are fun for parents and kids alike. The celebration is free with zoo admission.
The picturesque Centennial Park will play host to Nashville’s Earth Day Festival on April 21. Learn how to reduce, reuse, and recycle from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. thanks to the creative supply swap in the Reuse Village, Goodwill donation center, and unused or expired pharmaceutical drop. Another main attraction is the Green Market, where visitors can locally grown produce and handmade products.
EarthX calls itself the world’s largest environmental experience, which calls for a memorable weekend. From April 20 to April 22, check out Fair Park for an environmental exposition, conference, and film festival rolled into one. More than 250 guest speakers will grace the event, including Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. Stick around for film screenings, virtual reality experiences, a climbing wall, and a scuba dive pool. A general admission ticket costs $5, and event hours are 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
With dozens of information booths, free Chick-Fil-A gift cards, and live entertainment, West Valley City’s Earth Day SpringFest is a can’t-miss event. Check out the fun on April 26 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and enjoy the family-friendly educational activities, live entertainment, and neighborhood building opportunities.
In addition to Earth Day, April 21 and 22 mark the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which the Vermont Institute of Natural Science plans to celebrate in fun-filled weekend events. From 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. both days, take a guided hike down to the Quechee Gorge, witness a raptor feeding time, and get the chance to meet the resident raptors and reptiles up close. The events are free with admission.
The main attraction of Alexandria Earth Day is undoubtedly the Upcycle Showcase, where students get the chance to show off their creative interpretations of Earth Day through literature, fashion, and visual and performing arts. The April 28 event from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. also offers educational displays and games, opportunities to meet animals, and the presentation of the Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award.
The Pints & Public Lands Film Fest celebrates the places the public can go to reconnect with nature, and this series of seven short films shares the beauty and uniqueness of public lands with the Seattle community. Enjoy a beer under the covered beer garden on April 20 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Plus, Peddler Brewing Company will be donating $1 per pint, and will have their charity collaboration beer on tap.
The 10th Annual Panhandle Earth Day Celebration will take place on April 21 from 12:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and is a “leave no trace” occasion in honor of Earth Day. Come out to enjoy local music and food, arts and crafts, demonstrations, and a farmers’ market, and stay to learn more about the environment and local conservation efforts.
The Rotary Botanical Gardens are a local gem, and on April 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., you can enjoy them free of charge. Check out the gorgeous Japanese water garden, and enjoy local food trucks, children’s activities, and entertainment provided by the Zoozort mini zoo.
Get up close and personal with Mother Earth at the Wyoming Food for Thought Project’s urban farm and community center. From 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on April 20, help prepare the farm for summer, and make seed bombs, craft rain barrels, and take part in a public art projects. The event is free, but donations to local hunger organizations are accepted.