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15 Fun Facts About Presidents Day And Our National Parks

by Rocío Lower

We’re excited to celebrate Presidents Day this year. Do you have any plans for visiting a national park that pays homage to a great American leader of yesteryear?

With so many options to choose from, you may not have to go far to find a park that’s protected in honor of a former Commander-in-Chief. Some sites commemorate the birthplaces of past presidents (e.g. Kennedy and Hoover), while others memorialize the places where they sought solace in the years after their presidency (e.g. Van Buren, Eisenhower, and Johnson). One thing’s for sure: there’s no shortage of places to celebrate, so find a park near you and take some time to learn something fun about these famous heads of state.

For example, did you know that Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer before kicking off his political career? Or that Gerald R. Ford is the only American president to have served as a park ranger?

As a tribute to our fearless leaders, here are some neat facts about Presidents Day and our parks that honor their life and legacy. Did you know that …

  1. Presidents Day is celebrated on the third Monday in February, thanks to the 1968 Uniform Monday Holiday Act
  2. It was established in 1885 in honor of President George Washington’s birthday
  3. Washington’s birthday was actually on February 22, 1732 (this would be his 282nd birthday!)
  4. Washington’s birthplace is a national monument and is located in Colonial Beach, VA
  5. It is still officially called Washington’s Birthday by the federal government
  6. The government debated renaming the holiday to Presidents Day to include President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, but the proposal failed in committees
  7. Lincoln’s birthday was actually on February 12, 1809 (this would be his 205th birthday!)
  8. Lincoln’s birthplace is a national historical park and is located in Hodgenville, Kentucky
  9. President Ulysses S. Grant established Yellowstone as the first national park
  10. President Theodore Roosevelt has the most national parks named in his honor
  11. Lincoln is a close runner-up for that title
  12. Roosevelt’s birthplace is a national historic site and is located in New York City, NY
  13. Adams National Historical Park was the birthplace of two presidents: John Adams and John Quincy Adams
  14. The most recent presidential birthplace added to the National Park System belonged to William Jefferson Clinton
  15. There are 35 parks named after American Presidents, and one park that celebrates four of them (but it’s named after a New York attorney)
Presidents Day 2014
In honor of Presidents Day, all 401 national parks will provide free admission to everyone February 15-17.

Be sure to take advantage of the fee-free days and explore our national parks! Need help locating a park near you? Go here. Happy Presidents Day!