In celebration of its 99th birthday, the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) is providing free admission to all of its sites for one day next week.
Next Tuesday (Aug. 25), people can visit any of the NPS' 408 sites across the country, including popular spots such as Joshua Tree National Park in California and the Wright Brothers National Memorial in North Carolina.
"The National Park Service's 99th birthday is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the role of national parks in the American story," National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said in a statement. "And it's also a time to look ahead to our centennial year, and the next 100 years. These national treasures belong to all of us, and we want everyone — especially the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates — to discover and connect with their national parks." [All Yours: 10 Least Visited National Parks]
Visitors can share their travels on social media by using the hashtags #FindYourPark and #EncuentraTuParque. Those in need of activity ideas can check out the NPS' list of 99 Ways to Find Your Park, which includes recommendations such as earning a Junior Ranger badge and paddling on a water trail.
For northeast travelers, NPS spokesperson Mindi Rambo recommends checking out any of the 10 national parks in New York City, such asAfrican Burial Ground National Monument.
"If history is what inspires you, we have sites that explore the stories of the people who helped create the America we live in today," she told Live Science in an email. [Will Future Generations Preserve the National Parks? (Op-Ed )]
Other historical attractions for visitors to the Big Apple include the General Grant National Memorial, which is the tomb of Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th U.S. president; Ellis Island; and the Statue of Liberty National Monument, Rambo added.
President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation to create the NPS on Aug. 25, 1916. Each site, be it a national park, monument, memorial, natural landmark, scenic trail or heritage area, was established by Congress or a president to protect, preserve and share, according to the statement.
The NPS waives entrance fees for nine days every year. The remaining days include Sept. 26 for National Public Lands Day and Nov. 11 in honor of Veterans Day. The free admission does not cover costs associated with amenities or user fees, such as charges for camping, boat launches, transportation or special tours.
And don't forget: Drones are not allowed.
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Laura is the archaeology and Life's Little Mysteries editor at Live Science. She also reports on general science, including paleontology. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Scholastic, Popular Science and Spectrum, a site on autism research. She has won multiple awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association for her reporting at a weekly newspaper near Seattle. Laura holds a bachelor's degree in English literature and psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in science writing from NYU.