Black History National Parks

Today’s post will highlight five national parks that honor black history during this month of Black History Month. Click on the links below to learn more about these important sites within our national park system and history.

Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site – This national historic site was the home to the “Father of Black History” located in Washington DC. Dr. Carter G. Woodson lived here from 1922 until his death in 1950. Before Dr. Woodson, very little accurate was written about the history about the lives and experiences of Americans of African descent. According to NPS, Dr. Woodson established Negro History Week here in 1926, which we celebrate today as Black History Month.

Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument – This national monument in Mississippi is one of the newer national park sites. Their home commemorates the legacies of two civil rights activists who devoted their lives to ending racial injustice against Black Americans through local and national activism.  According to NPS, the assassination of Medgar Evers in 1963 for his efforts to promote racial equality and social justice was one of the key catalysts for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park – Located in Maryland, this national park honors Harriet Tubman’s bravery and leadership saving and guiding nearly 70 enslaved people to freedom. “When I found that I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything.”~ Harriet Tubman

Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site – This national site in Virginia honors Maggie Lena Walker who devoted her life to civil rights advancement, economic empowerment, and educational opportunities for Jim Crow-era African Americans and women. As a bank president, newspaper editor, and fraternal leader, Walker served as an inspiration of pride and progress.

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument – Located in Ohio, this national monument honors the legendary all-Black U.S. Army units and their leader, Charles Young. Col. Young was a distinguished officer in the U.S. Army, the third African American to graduate from West Point, and the first to achieve the rank of colonel. In addition, he was the first African American to serve as a superintendent of a national park. Buffalo Soldiers were pretty much the first park rangers.

These are just a few national park sites honoring African Americans in the national park system. Check out these cool and important places!

Lincoln Memorial

Happy 110th anniversary to the Lincoln Memorial!  The Lincoln Memorial is a national monument built to honor our 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. You can find this grand structure in the National Mall opposite the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

This towering monument stands 190 feet long, 120 feet wide, 99 feet tall and constructed with a Colorado-Yule marble. The Lincoln Memorial interior is divided into three chambers (north, south, and central).  The north and south side chambers contain carved inscriptions of President Lincoln’s two most famous speeches, Second Inaugural Address and his Gettysburg Address.

Between the north and south chambers contains the statute of President Lincoln sitting in contemplation. The statue, originally intended to be only 10 feet tall, was on further consideration enlarged so that it finally stood 19 feet tall from head to foot.  The scale being such that if President Lincoln were standing he would be 28 feet tall. Above him, you can see another inscription.

If you visit D.C., I highly recommend checking out this majestic national monument. The size, history, and symbolism will stay with you long after your visit here.

Enjoy a couple of photos below from a visit to the Lincoln Memorial several years ago with my sister.

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“The ballot is stronger than the bullet.” ~ President Abraham Lincoln

Dinosaur National Monument

Happy 105th anniversary to Dinosaur National Monument!

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A few years ago, we planned a vacation to Colorado and we planned on driving from California to Colorado. At the time, our son loved dinosaurs! I mean really loved them and even talked about growing up to become a paleontologist! After some discussions and checking out the routes, we decided to stop by this national monument and check it out.

We really enjoyed this national monument! Our son loved seeing real dinosaur fossils!

From the Quarry Visitor Center, we took a shuttle up to the Quarry Exhibit Hall.

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In this hall, you can see approximately 1,500 dinosaur bones! There are even some places where you can touch them!

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Our future paleontologist loved this national monument! IMG_4997

Beyond the dinosaurs, there is much more to do in the monument. For example, you can check out carvings in the rocks, called petroglyphs, left by the Fremont people nearly 1,000 years ago. You can also take a hike, go camping, go fishing, or watch wildlife like elk or bighorn sheep there.

Definitely check out this national monument if you’re in the Utah or Colorado area.

To celebrate this anniversary or if you can’t wait to visit there, click here and check out their Junior Ranger activity book. 

National Mall Anniversary

Happy 230th anniversary to the National Mall.  The National Mall is centrally located in Washington, DC.

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The National Mall is America’s most visited national park and nicknamed “America’s front yard”.

The Mall area preserves the Washington Monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, D.C. War Memorial, World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, George Mason Memorial, Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House, the National Mall, East and West Potomac Parks, Constitution Gardens, 60 statues, and numerous other historic sites, memorials, and parklands.

I remember seeing the National Mall for the first time. I had traveled to DC for an internship after graduating college. In my free time, I walked over to check out a few sights and knew this area would be an ideal place to see some iconic memorials.

I grew up seeing the skyscrapers in Chicago. I’ve seen really, really tall buildings. I’ve seen open areas and parks. Yet, this place wowed me. The beauty, the history, the size, the importance of it all truly awed me.

I can’t wait to back to this part of our national park system. It brings together our country in unique ways. It also provides a peaceful place to encourage change in our country.

According to the National Park Service, “The open spaces and parklands envisioned by Pierre L’Enfant’s plan, which was commissioned by President George Washington, created an ideal stage for national expressions of remembrance, observance, celebration, and expression of First Amendment rights.”

If you’re in the DC area, definitely make some time and check out the National Mall area.

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Happy 230th!

Happy 109th to Devils Postpile!

Happy 109th anniversary to Devils Postpile National Monument established back 1911! This national monument is located in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California and cover about 800 acres.

The Postpile serves as the main attraction here and is pretty cool to see in person! Current studies suggest that the Postpile was formed less than 100,000 years ago when a cooling lava flow cracked into multi-sided columns. This formation is a rare sight and towers about 60 feet high!

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You can also check the 101 foot high Rainbow Falls here along with many mountain trails.

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While it’s lesser known than the nearby Yosemite National Park, this national monument is definitely worth a visit!

Make sure to check for information online about it before visiting due to the current pandemic.

Happy anniversary to Devils Postpile National Monument!

Memorial Day

Today, we remember and honor all the brave men and women who gave their life for our country.

This federal holiday was originally known as Decoration Day, an occasion to decorate the graves of the war dead.

Take a moment and honor those who died while serving our country. Happy Memorial Day! 🇺🇸

Virtual National Park Tours

Did you know that you check out and take a virtual tour of some of the most popular national parks online? I know that I need an escape from everything going on right now and wanted to share it with others.

The National Park Service (NPS) has a great website with a ton of tours, videos, webcams, photos, articles, and other excellent resources.

First, I have to share my favorite national park, Yellowstone National Park. Click here to virtually tour parts of Yellowstone like the Mud Volcano area, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Mammoth Springs, and some other areas. 

You can also check out another one of my favorites, the Grand Teton National Park, by clicking here.

Who has seen the 1977 movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind?  The film used this unique tower in Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. You can visit it virtually and check out this distinct tower by clicking here.

I have always wanted to visit Denali National Park in Alaska. Click here to take a virtual tour of this national park.

Take a virtual tour of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in New York by clicking here.

The national park service has a ton of other online opportunities to virtually explore our national park treasures. Click here for NPS’s main page and search your interests.

Take a minute and enjoy our country’s beauty and treasures online. It will do wonders for the soul during these tough times right now.

 

 

Muir Woods

Happy 112th anniversary to Muir Woods National Monument!

On January 9, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt created the Muir Woods National Monument named after conservationist John Muir. Muir Woods became the 7th National Monument and was the first one created from land donated by a private individual.

Muir Woods lies in the middle of the redwood’s latitudinal range that spans from the California/Oregon border to Big Sur, just south of Monterey. And it is quite easy to get to from San Francisco!

Muir Woods is a great place to see some amazing redwood trees, check out the history here, and take in a few hikes! If you’re in the Bay Area, I highly recommend that you check out Muir Woods National Monument!

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Devils Postpile National Monument

A couple of weekends ago, we headed away for the weekend to Mammoth Lakes in California.

Fall in the mountains just rocks! I love the cool, mountain, fresh air and cold temperatures once the sun goes down.

While there, we originally talked about doing a day in Yosemite. But, we decided to check out Devils Postpile National Monument instead and could not be more happy with our decision!

We started our day there enjoying a hike to Rainbow Falls. Gotta love a 101 foot high waterfall and one that reflects rainbows! 🌈

The trail intersects with the PCT and JMT which is pretty cool to see a tiny bit of those two iconic trails.

After the hike, we took a bus over to the Devils Postpile ranger station. Our kids got their junior ranger books there.

We hiked to see the Devils Postpile. Pretty cool to see the lava formations in the mountain and know how many years ago it all happened. It reminds you of the magnitude of earth and time here compared to us little humans.

Established as a national monument in 1911, this is really cool to see in person!

Our daughter’s little stuffed friend joined us in the national monument as well!

While lesser known than the nearby Yosemite National Park, Devils Postpile National Monument is definitely worth a visit!