July 4 is America's 235th Birthday!

Which 2011 National Park Celebration are You Headed to?
Alanna SobelNPF Blog

Independence Day is near and we're all headed to one of our nation's nearly 400 national parks to celebrate! How about you? Where are you headed? If you haven't yet decided where you're going, then today is your lucky day because we have some suggestions for you. Whether you're interested in interactive educational activities, musical concerts, or in search of an impressive fireworks display close to home, round up family and friends and head to a national park to celebrate our nation's history in the places where it all happened.

Here are 10 of the National Park Foundation's recommendations for celebrating America's 235th year:

COLORADOColorado National Monument – Come on out on July 4 and watch in amazement as rock climbers scale the Independence Monument and commemorate Independence Day by raising the American flag on the top of the monument, the tallest free-standing rock formation in the park. Enjoy patriotic music resonating throughout the canyons. Ice cream social to follow. Event starts at 10:30am MT.

KENTUCKY – Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park – Gather round to hear Saxton's Cornet Band in the park on July 4 at 11:00am ET.

MARYLAND – Antietam National Battlefield – Treat yourself to the beautiful sounds of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra's "Salute to Independence" concert on July 2. Concert starts at 7:30pm ET. Fireworks at approximately 9:45pm ET.

MASSACHUSETTS – Adams National Historical Park –Get the inside scoop on the political climate 235 years ago! Come on down to Adams National Historical Park for "Down and Dirty Politics: 1776 Style" to learn how a strange, secret alliance of upscale gentlemen and rowdy street organizers bought about the Declaration of Independence. 1:00pm – 2:30pm ET. Beale House Lawn, located at 181 Adams Street. Street parking is available.

MISSOURI – Ozark National Scenic Riverways –The "Alley Independence Day Celebration" will be held on July 2 at Alley Spring. This event commemorates the traditional "picnic" celebrations held at Alley Spring across the turn of the twentieth century, when Alley was the social center for families in the surrounding area. Activities will include musical entertainment, old fashioned games and contests, and demonstrations of traditional Ozark skills.

NEW YORK – St. Paul's Church – Enjoy a traditional July 4th celebration featuring music, speeches, refreshments, reading of the Declaration of Independence, and tolling of the historic St. Paul's church bell – 13 times. Event starts at 10:30am ET.

PENNSYLVANIA – Valley Forge National Historical Park – Join Park Rangers for a living history demonstration at the Muhlenberg Brigade huts on July 4. Enjoy children`s craft activities and a traditional Fourth of July barbecue at the Visitor Center. 11:00am – 4:00pm ET.

SOUTH CAROLINA – Cowpens National Battlefield – Fireworks and family fun! Fireworks will begin at approximately 9:00pm ET on July 2, two days before Independence Day. Music will be provided by the Spartanburg Community Band.

VIRGINIA – George Washington Birthplace – Celebrate the 235th birthday of the United States with hands-on, colonial-themed children's activities and costumed interpretation! 10:00am – 4:00pm ET.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – National Mall and Memorial Parks – America's biggest birthday party is taking place on July 4 on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Not only will the event feature incredible performances by some of the country's best-known personalities and musicians, but it will also boast the most spectacular fireworks display. Event starts at 8:00pm ET (gates open to the public at 3:00pm ET).

Many more exciting events have been planned across the country and can be found on the National Park Service website.

Last updated July 1, 2011.

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