Summer is a great time to take advantage of our national parks and monuments. Many offer free or low-cost admissions and programs perfect for families. So this summer we will be featuring one of our country’s public lands every week and highlighting things you and your family can do there.
Gettysburg National Military Park
Image description: A stone wall on Cemetery Ridge in Gettysburg National Park. Photo from the National Park Service.
This July marks the 150th anniversary of the historic Battle of Gettysburg, fought in 1863. The battle, known for being the bloodiest fight in the Civil War, is recognized by historians as being the turning point in the battle between the North and South, and at the Gettysburg National Military Park, you have a chance to explore this piece of national history!
When you walk on the hills of the national park - Little Round Top, Devil’s Den, Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Ridge - your feet are travelling the same paths as soldiers did more than one hundred years ago. Stand in Soldiers’ National Cemetery and you could be standing in the same place as President Abraham Lincoln when he delivered his famous Gettysburg Address.
On your trip to the park, you can visit the museum and visitor center for a look at the history of the area, and be sure to check out the film, “A New Birth of Freedom,” narrated by Morgan Freeman.
There are lots of ways to tour the park, so be sure to choose the method best for you:
- Guided bus tours through private companies
- Self-guided car tour, with or without audio tour CDs available for purchase
- By foot, self-guided, heavily dependent on weather conditions
In the summer months, there are extended ranger programs and activities available, including the junior ranger program - great for kids! You can find a complete guide and schedule of ranger programs on the National Park Service website.
For some safety suggestions and for help in planning your visit, check out the “Things to Know Before You Come” page. Before visiting with kids, be sure to talk to them about the history of the Civil War, since they will be walking among history when they travel to Gettysburg this summer!