Visit Your Park

June 17, 2016


Tim McClimon

National parks across the country participating in Partners in Preservation: National Parks will host Open House Weekend, June 18 and Father's Day, June 19, featuring a range of family-friendly activities from arts and crafts to scavenger hunts, specialty tours, park ranger talks and public access to typically restricted areas of the parks. During the events, guests will also be able to learn about the Partners in Preservation Program, the participating sites' histories, and their restoration efforts.

Partners in Preservation, a community-based initiative created by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2006 to raise awareness of the preservation needs of historic places, recently launched its 2016 campaign in honor of the National Park Service's Centennial.

Partners in Preservation: National Parks will award $2 million in grants to historic sites in need of preservation support within national parks. The distribution of the grants will be decided by public vote, currently underway at Hosted by media partner National Geographic, the voting website will be open through July 5. Many of the sites participating in Open House Weekend will offer voting stations to guests.

The public is also invited to share their national park experiences on social media and celebrate these sites using #VoteYourPark and tagging @savingplaces on Instagram and Twitter posts.

The national parks participating in Partners in Preservation: National Parks and hosting Open House Weekend events include:

Denali National Park | Denali Park, Alaska
Superintendent's Office: Guests can learn more about the effort to restore the historic superintendent's cabin and view a timeline of the cabin's history and its impact on the development of the park.

Everglades National Park | Homestead, Florida
Flamingo Visitor Center: On Saturday, June 18, guests can take a half-day bus tour of the park's historic Flamingo district to learn about the Mission 66 architecture that made Flamingo a gateway destination in the 1960s and preservation plans to restore the Flamingo Visitor Center. Reservations are required and space is limited.

Flamingo Visitor Center
Flamingo Visitor Center, Everglades National Park

Grand Canyon National Park | Grand Canyon, Arizona
Desert View Watchtower: Guests can tour the Desert View Watchtower and its murals designed by Architect Mary Colter in 1932 "to introduce the depths of native culture to the traveler." Local tribes will conduct cultural demonstrations. On Saturday, June 18, Park Ranger Marie Malo will present a Living History Program.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park | Tennessee and North Carolina
Clingmans Dome Observation Tower: Guests can tour the Clingmans Dome Tower and engage with park staff and volunteers on hand to tell the stories of the site and answer questions during the weekend-long event.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area | San Francisco, California
Alcatraz Guardhouse and Sally Port: Guests can celebrate Father's Day weekend learning about the rich military history of Alcatraz with a visit to the 1857 Guardhouse — the very first permanent U.S. defensive facility in San Francisco Bay. Reservations required.

Governors Island National Monument | New York, New York
Fort Jay Trophée D'Armes (eagle): Guests can discover, celebrate and become a part of Fort Jay's most important preservation initiative by participating in scaffold tours with the preservation crew, eagle talks by park rangers, live cannon demonstrations, arts & crafts, fort building, a "selfie" booth, a scavenger hunt and more.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial | St. Louis, Missouri
North and South Overlooks: On Saturday, June 18, guests can enjoy informational sessions about the site and the needed repairs to the north and south overlooks.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial

Joshua Tree National Park | Twentynine Palms, California
Keys Ranch: Guests can join an adventure into the heart of Joshua Tree National Park to see the classic Keys Ranch homestead. They will meet archeologists and rangers, and explore old cars, the windmill, stamp mill and more. Six free tours will be offered daily on June 18 and 19; reservations are required.

Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site | Atlanta, Georgia
Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church: On Sunday, June 19, the site will host a family-friendly afternoon of food, games and history commemorating the anniversary of the end of slavery in the United States with an emphasis on education and achievement of African-Americans in Atlanta.

Minute Man National Historical Park | Concord, Massachusetts
Hargrove Barn and Parker's Revenge Battlefield: Guests can visit the newly discovered site of an opening battle of the American Revolution and join Rangers for a variety of programs and site walks to learn about the restoration project and plans to transform a historic barn for classroom use.

Mount Rainier National Park | Longmire, Washington
Longmire Historic District Search and Rescue House: On Saturday, June 18, guests can discover how architecture, search and rescue, and the Civilian Conservation Corps are connected to the site during an evening presentation at the historic Paradise Inn. There they can learn about Mount Rainier's Rustic style architecture, ongoing preservation work, and search and rescue efforts.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial | Keystone, South Dakota
Borglum View Terrace: Guests can join Mount Rushmore Society volunteers and rangers for meet and greets at two visitor stations to learn about the Partners in Preservation campaign and the site's restoration plans.

National Mall & Memorial Parks | Washington, D.C.
Columbus Fountain: On Saturday, June 18, visitors can learn more about the restoration needs of Columbus Fountain, its history, and the importance of preserving it as the grand entrance for one of the greatest train stations in the world.

Columbus Fountain
Columbus Fountain

Pullman National Monument | Chicago, Illinois
Pullman Administration Building: On Sunday, June 19, activities will include an antique automobile show, photo opportunities with park rangers, gifts, prizes, exhibits about Pullman, including a Chicago Land Lionel model railroad club exhibit, a Pullman Porter exhibit and a Super Junior Ranger exhibit. Site tours of the factory, the Thomas Dunbar House and the interior of the first floor of the clock tower building will also be offered.

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park | San Antonio, Texas
Mission Concepción convento and Father President's Office: On Saturday, June 18, guests can attend the family-friendly event featuring live music, food trucks, children's hands-on activities, including tile painting and arch building, a lecture on preservation techniques and tours of the project area as well as the mission.

San Juan National Historic Site | San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Felipe del Morro garitas (sentry boxes): Guests can visit the historic Castillo San Felipe del Morro and explore the iconic garitas, the sentry posts that have defended Puerto Rico for centuries. Entry to Castillo San Felipe del Morro will be free of charge.

World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument | Honolulu, Hawaii
Battleship Row Mooring Quay: On Saturday and Sunday, June 18 and 19, The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument will host free events with talks on historic preservation, "Ask a Park Ranger" sessions, hands-on activities including making a concrete replica miniature of the USS Arizona mooring quay and special exhibits.

Yellowstone National Park | Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Brink of Upper Falls Overlook: Visitors can learn about Yellowstone's involvement in the Partners in Preservation campaign through digital and print materials set up in the Canyon Visitors Center and learn how the public can help the park secure preservation funding.

Zion National Park | Springdale, Utah
Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel and Highway: Guests to the Visitor Center in Zion Canyon can explore an exhibit on the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway, learn about needed preservation work and pick up a brochure to take a self-guided driving tour of the Tunnel.

For more information, please visit and to vote daily through July 5, please visit

 If you have a question or comment, please follow me on Twitter at @timmcclimon and start a conversation there. Thanks for reading and sharing this blog posting with friends and colleagues.

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