Independence Day in the Parks

During this time of year, Americans around the nation bring out their grills and enjoy a day barbecuing and spending time with family and friends. While food and fireworks are great, the Fourth of July is more than just celebrating a day off of work. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once said that “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Consider it a challenge this July 4th to invest in a deeper understanding of the price and beauty of independence at America’s national parks.

Experience the passion and vision of our Founding Fathers during a ceremonial reading of the Declaration of Independence at Morristown National Historic Park in Morristown, NJ. Listen to the provisions and promises that marked the beginning of our nation’s revolution on the same site that our ancestors fought to procure these freedoms. Visitors can even watch an inspection of a Revolutionary era troop and listen to colonial talks and riddles given by historically dressed staff.

Encounter the battle for freedom at Valley Forge, PA, where there will be living history demonstrations that include artillery from the Revolutionary War. See first-hand what it was like to fight for independence with educational sessions and related games and crafts for children. 

Mount Rushmore, SD, also offers an educational birthday celebration for our nation. On both July 3rd and 4th, meet the faces of Mount Rushmore through interviews and autograph signings, enjoy patriotic bands, watch a POW/MIA military service, an exquisite flag folding ceremony, and a sculpture lighting after sunset. Please visit here for more information.

And lastly, celebrate our precious freedom with a parade, concerts, and fireworks at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.The whole family will enjoy the celebration, and the kids even have a junior rangers program, where they can learn more about the reason behind the celebrations. All of the events above are free for the public (with the exception of parking fees.)

Check the National Park Service website for July 4th activities at the closest park near you. Invest in an understanding of the independence we’re celebrating this Fourth of July, and happy birthday, America! The National Parks Conservation Association also offers some great July 4th event tips!

Photo of fireworks over the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Source: NPS.