The National Parks Service (NPS) is celebrating its 100th anniversary Thursday at national parks across the country and, in San Diego, Cabrillo National Monument is getting in on the milestone.
Located at 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr., Cabrillo National Monument will host a series of free events Thursday in honor of the NPS centennial. At 11 a.m., birthday cake will be served. At 1:30 p.m., visitors can enjoy a free guided tour of the park.
Through this weekend, people can visit any national park across the U.S. for free, including Cabrillo National Monument. Normally, admission to Cabrillo is $10 per car or $5 for those walking into the national monument on foot.
The local landmark reflects the history of 16th century exploration, when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo made his mark as the first European to set foot on the West Coast.
When visitors head to Cabrillo they can expect to enjoy several highlights, including low tide pools, the famous Old Point Loma Lighthouse – which is typically surrounded by vibrant wildflowers – and, of course, the Cabrillo statue set against the scenic, waterfront backdrop. Often times, re-enactors in authentic period costumes from the 1880s will stroll around the park, giving visitors a glimpse of what life was like back then.
In California, there are 27 national parks, along with national monuments and scenic trails. These national parks include Joshua Tree in Southern California, Redwood in Del Norte and Humboldt counties and Yosemite in Sierra Nevada. The NPS says there have been 38,366,824 visitors to California’s national parks.
In other parts of the country, NPS centennial celebrations Thursday included a party on the lawn at the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., where more than 1,000 people assembled holding brown, green and white umbrellas to form the NPS’ arrowhead emblem.
If you can't make it to some national parks this year, Google has launched 360-degree virtual tours of five parks in honor of the big 100th anniversary.