The scenery: beautiful.

The weather: sunny and warm.

The price: right.

That's the outlook for National Park Week, which begins Saturday and continues through April 29.

Admission to Saguaro National Park near Tucson - and nearly 400 other national parks, monuments and historic sites across the country - will be free for the week.

At Saguaro Park districts east and west of Tucson, where admission is usually $10 per vehicle, activities will range from everyday hiking and picnicking to special events such as free Junior Ranger Day programs for kids.

"April is a beautiful time to be in the national parks," said Melanie Florez, a ranger at Saguaro National Park. "Wildflowers are blooming, and it's a great time for picnicking, hiking, photography or taking in a special program."

Jeff Wallner, another Saguaro ranger, said openings are still available for two Junior Ranger programs at the park's east unit on Saturday. The 90-minute programs, for children ages 6 to 11, begin at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

"There will be a number of short videos with follow-up activities about saguaros and a little bit about climate change in the parks," Wallner said.

Other events include auditorium programs at visitor centers - with topics such as park history.

Florez said other national parks and monuments in Southern Arizona - including Chiricahua National Monument southeast of Willcox and Coronado National Memorial south of Sierra Vista - make good day-trip destinations.

if you go

Visitor centers at Saguaro National Park, with units east and west of Tucson, will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during National Park Week - Saturday through April 29. Park admission will be free.

• The park's east unit is at 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail. The west unit is at 2700 N. Kinney Road.

• Information: Call 733-5153

Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at or at 573-4192.