National Park Service turns 100-years-old this month

275-MUSKET-FIRE-FORTOn Thursday, August 25, 2016, the National Park Service celebrates its 100th Birthday as the caretakers of some of America’s most iconic and important national treasures; ranging from natural resources such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon to important historic sites including the Statue of Liberty, the White House, and Gettysburg.

Locally, Historic City News readers enjoy our iconic Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monuments; but, all told, there are 412 of these important sites within the National Park System.

You are invited to visit your national parks this coming week to help the National Park Service celebrate. Here are just a few of the ways that you can be part of the celebration in St Augustine and St Johns County:

Centennial Hours
Friday, August 19
The Castillo will be open an extra two hours – until 7 p.m. – on Friday, August 19. Take advantage of these extra evening hours. Regular fees apply.

Fee Free Days
Thursday – Saturday, August 25 – 28
Entrance to Castillo de San Marcos National Monument will be FREE on August 25 – August 28 in commemoration of the National Park Service Centennial.

National Parks on the Air
Thursday, August 25
In partnership with the St. Augustine Amateur Radio Society and the American Radio Relay League, the stories of Castillo de San Marcos will be broadcast worldwide by SAARS volunteers.

Florida Public Archaeology Network
Thursday, August 25 & Sunday, August 28
From 10 .am. – 2 p.m., drop by to wish the National Park Service a happy birthday and take part in special hands-on activities hosted by the Florida Public Archaeology Network.

St. Augustine Youth Chorus Performances
Saturday, August 27
Join the St. Augustine Youth Chorus for performances of the NPS Centennial Song, Children’s Earth Anthem, and other patriotic favorites in celebration of the National Park Service’s 100th birthday! Performances are free and will take place in the inner courtyard of Castillo de San Marcos. Performances will take place at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and 1 p.m. and last approximately 20 minutes each.

Happy Birthday National Park Service!
Saturday and Sunday, August 27& August 28
Join staff and volunteers for special birthday weekend activities. Experience historic weapons firing demonstrations, become Centennial Junior Rangers, and participate in games and activities at Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. On Sunday, August 28, the Florida Public Archaeology Network joins us with additional activities from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Centennial Happenings around St. Augustine

America’s Parks – Encore Exhibition
August 25 – September 5
The Lightner Museum, in partnership with the National Park Service and St. Johns Cultural Council presents the final days of the special exhibit, America’s Parks – Encore Exhibition. This exhibit showcases artwork of many of our national parks, plus a special gallery of seventeen plein air pieces created by local artists of the Castillo and Fort Matanzas. Free admission to this exhibit is available through the Café Alcazar entrances on Granada and Cordova Streets.

National Park Movie Screenings
August 25-28 and September 2-4
The Corazon Cinema Café presents a variety of short films about America’s National Parks. Film screenings will last approximately 1.5 hours and explore parks such as Yosemite, Big Cypress, and Grand Teton National Parks. Screenings will take place at 11:45 am, 1:45 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day. For a full schedule, visit

National Parks Adventure 3D
Saturday, August 27
Visit the World Golf Village IMAX Theater for screenings of National Parks Adventure 3D as a way to explore some of the awe-inspiring beauty of America’s National Parks. Join National Park Rangers from several area parks for ranger talks prior to each screening. Ranger talks begin at 10 a.m., followed by the film at 10:45 a.m. and again at 11:30 a.m. followed by the film at 12:15 p.m.

Built by the Spanish in St. Augustine to defend Florida and the Atlantic trade route, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument preserves the oldest masonry fortification in the continental United States and interprets more than 450 years of cultural intersections. Learn more at and visit us on Facebook and Twitter

Fort Matanzas National Monument preserves the fortified Spanish watchtower, completed in 1742, which defended the southern approach to the Spanish military settlement of St. Augustine, and protects approximately 300 acres of Florida coastal environment. Learn more at and visit us on Facebook

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