A Walk in the Parks: Veterans Day Activities
November 7, 2012

Photo by: iStock/Ken WiedemannVeterans Day, which we commemorate next Monday, happens to coincide with the National Parks’ free entrance weekend. Considering we just had elections yesterday—when many of us exercised our right to vote—honoring our armed forces veterans and appreciating our national parks seems like a fitting way to celebrate America in the days that follow. Here are some options for getting out and about in Massachusetts.

The USS Constitution Museum in Charlestown is hosting events all weekend (November 10–12) to celebrate and honor our nation’s veterans. Kids can write letters to our troops for the holidays, decide whether they’d want to be part of the crew of the USS Constitution during the War of 1812, and make a paper officer’s hat to take home. Hands-on, interactive exhibits let kids imagine what life was like for our naval forces in the 19th century.

Head to the Minute Man National Historical Park in Lincoln to explore the battlefields and structures associated with the events of April 19, 1775. Any first-time visitor should begin by watching the The Road to Revolution, a multimedia theater program offered at the Minute Man Visitor Center. It depicts Paul Revere’s ride and the battles at Lexington Green, North Bridge, and along the Battle Road. Afterward, walk along the 5-mile Battle Road Trail, which connects historic sites from Concord to the eastern boundary of the park in Lexington.

The Springfield Armory National Historic Site, home of the nation’s first armory, began manufacturing muskets in 1794. For almost 200 years, the armory continuously produced weapons used by America’s armed forces in every war in the nation’s history. It only closed in 1968! Today, visitors can see the world’s largest collection of historic American military firearms. Year-round public programs, exhibits, and special events are hosted on the grounds.

A special Boston Harbor Islands cruise, taking place on Sunday, November 11, will focus on the military history of Boston Harbor, beginning with the American Revolution and continuing through to the present day. There will be a stop at Fort Warren on Georges Island for a tour of the fort and a special tribute to longtime veteran and volunteer Charlie Boyer. On the way, the boat will pass the USS Constitution. Tickets are free for veterans and $5 for the general public.

Click here to find more National Park sites in Massachusetts.

Did you know 264 of our 398 national parks never charge an entrance fee? Do you have a favorite national park? Tell us about it!

Photo by: iStock/Ken Wiedemann




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