Start your new year with a free visit to your favorite national park. All 397 national parks across the country will offer free admission from January 14 through 16 to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the National Park Service announced in a press release.
You can literally walk in Dr. King’s footsteps at Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Georgia, the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail in Alabama, or the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC – just a few of the many national parks that have direct ties to Dr. King or the Civil Rights movement.
Other parks that will hold special events honoring Dr. King this weekend include the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC, Morristown National Historical Park in New Jersey, Fort Donelson National Battlefield in Tennessee, and Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Washington, DC.
“Dr. King led the fight to realize his dream of a nation free of discrimination, where every citizen was able to enjoy the inalienable rights promised to all Americans,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Dr. King’s story and those of so many others whose efforts changed our country are preserved in the national parks, places where history happened. I hope every American can take advantage of the upcoming fee free weekend and visit their parks to experience their history firsthand.”
There are plenty of activities at national parks, even in the middle of winter. Choices include snow shoe hikes, canoe trips, campfire programs, film festivals, battle reenactments and music jams. It is also a great time of year to view wildlife such as bison in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming or gray whales at Point Reyes National Seashore in California. A list of activities can be found at www.nps.gov.
The National Park Service will also waive admission fees on 14 other days in 2012 – National Park Week (April 21 to 29), Get Outdoors Day (June 9), National Public Lands Day (September 29), and the weekend of Veterans Day (November 10 to 12).