5 National Park Centennial Events You Need to Know

While all eyes are on Rio, the National Park Service is setting up to take over the world stage for another big party this month.  On August 25, 2016 the National Park Service turns 100 years old.  Rangers and park staff are staging special events for the national park centennial in each of the more than 400 park units around the United States. Every single park unit has something to offer visitors. It’s going to be one of the biggest birthday celebrations our country has ever seen.

Today we’re sharing 5 national park centennial events you won’t want to miss.  Add these to your calendar and then start planning your own Founder’s Day events with your family and friends.

Lower Yellowstone Falls
Lower Yellowstone Falls – Yellowstone National Park

1. Try a Free Entrance Day for the National Park Centennial

In honor of the national park centennial, on August 25 through August 28 the National Park Service is waiving all entrance fees.  Typically 127 of the more than 400 parks charge visitors.  Not during the centennial! Gates will be open to as many visitors as possible to enjoy the centennial events. Every single park in the park service will be celebrating in some way.

To find the nearest national park service unit to you, use our Find Your Park feature at the top, or search nps.gov.

2. Be Part Of The World’s Largest National Park Emblem.

Since the 1950’s, the official symbol of the National Park Service has been the iconic arrowhead.  On August 25th the NPS will be assembling a “living arrowhead” on the National Mall in Washington D.C.  You can sign up to be a part of the World’s Largest National Park Service emblem and kick off the birthday celebration in the nation’s capitol.

At 9 a.m. on the west side of the Washington Monument, the park service will pass out green, white and brown umbrellas to visitors.  Rain or shine, those who come will assemble on the lawn to form the emblem, including the famous sequoia, bison and mountains.  Then, aerial photos of the arrowhead will be broadcast around the world and on social media.  Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance to celebrate the centennial!

Night Program at Mount Rushmore

3. Attend a Naturalization Ceremony.

One of the founding principles of the National Park Service is that these pristine and historical places are to be protected for the enjoyment of all the people.  Several parks around the NPS are celebrating the centennial and this principle by holding naturalization ceremonies on August 25.  Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park bordering West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia is one of these parks.  They will be hosting an official US Citizenship and Immigration Service naturalization ceremony featuring guest speakers and music, followed by a national park centennial birthday celebration. Join the newest Americans in a celebration of “the people’s parks.”

National Park Centennial at Yellowstone
Official Poster from “An Evening at the Arch” – provided by nps.gov

4. Meet at the Yellowstone Arch.

There is no better place to celebrate the National Park centennial than in the first national park.  Yellowstone National Park is planning a giant NPS birthday party on August 25th called “An Evening At the Arch: Yellowstone Celebrates The National Park Service Centennial.” The 6,000 person celebration will be held near the famous Yellowstone Arch in Gardiner, Montana. In addition to dignitaries and park rangers, special guests include Emmylou Harris and Teddy Roosevelt reenactor, Joe Wiegand.

As of today, the event is sold out.  However tickets may be available resale for general admission to the event. For anyone not able to find tickets, the birthday party will also be live-streamed online. Check out Yellowstone National Park’s Facebook page for more details.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park Quarter - to be released on August 25, 2016. Image provided by USMint.gov
Theodore Roosevelt National Park Quarter – to be released on August 25, 2016. Image provided by USMint.gov

5. Attend the Theodore Roosevelt Quarter Release.

If cold hard cash is how you typically celebrate birthdays, than this is the event for you.

On August 25, 2016 Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, South Dakota will partner with the United States Mint to release the Theodore Roosevelt National Park quarter.  It is the 34th quarter in the 56 coin America the Beautiful Quarter Program.  The new quarter was chosen from one of six designs featuring President Roosevelt in the park.  This one showcases him on horseback one of his many rides through the North Dakota wilderness.

The quarter will officially go into nationwide circulation a few days later on August 29. However visitors can come to the official coin release for the first ones issued.  The park is planning speakers, the coin release, and a special national park centennial birthday reception.

Did we miss a special centennial event? If so, comment below and share how you’ll be celebrating the centennial this month with all of our readers!



Greg & Amy
Chasing a visit to all 400+ units in the NPS
Current Count: 130/423
Next Stop: @hawaiivolcanoes


2 thoughts on “5 National Park Centennial Events You Need to Know”

  1. Pingback: Ways to Volunteer in the National Parks - Park Chasers

  2. Pingback: NPS Centennial: See The Parks for Free - Park Chasers

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You May Also Like

3 Easy Day Hikes in Colorado National Monument

Since the monument was established in 1911, hikers have enjoyed the stunning scenery in Colorado National Monument.  While many of the parks 40+ miles of

Read More »
All About Colorado National Monument

All About Colorado National Monument

Sometimes our favorite national park units aren’t the end destinations but the parks we find on the way.  Colorado National Monument (Park #95 of 423)

Read More »
Least Visited National parks in 2021

The Least Visited National Parks in 2021

Even though more than 297 million people visited a national park last year, there are still some places you can find wilderness, quiet, and solitude

Read More »

Start Park Chasing Today

Download your free .pdf checklist of all 400+ national park units and start planning your next adventure.