Hot Springs National Park Celebrates 100 Years
In 1921, President Woodrow Wilson named Hot Springs an official national park. One hundred years since that historic declaration, Hot Springs National Park is toasting this milestone all year with monthly events.
March 4, 2021, marked the park’s official anniversary, with a retrospective birthday celebration at the convention center. But don’t worry, while you might have missed the kick-off party, the festivities will continue throughout the year. There’s so much fun to be had and history to soak up.
► Hot Springs National Park is hosting the Iron Ranger Challenge, an event supporting the National Park Service's Healthy People, Healthy Parks initiative. In partnership with the Buffalo National River, Hot Springs National Park invites locals and visitors alike to hike, bike, swim, run or paddle 100 miles on Arkansas public lands throughout 2021.
► An ongoing monthly photo contest calls amateurs and experts alike to submit themed pictures of the park. Themes for entries will vary month-to-month and are meant to highlight the features of the park, from the bathhouses and water to wildlife and scenic views.
SPRING & SUMMER
► Guided hikes and specialty tours will be offered on April 20 to commemorate the park’s 189th anniversary as a federal reservation. BioBlitz takes place on May 1 and allows community members to join the park’s science team for a day of exploration and learning.
► But really, what’s a centennial celebration without a decades party? A 1921-themed downtown block party takes place on June 12 in honor of the park’s 100th anniversary. Costume contests, themed workshops, specialized tours and much more await at this Roaring ‘20s party.
► Among the park’s notable elements is being one of the most pet-friendly in the NPS system. In honor of a century full of furry visitors, the park will be hosting BARK Ranger Day on July 3. The day includes demos, workshops and more, and wraps up with a special parade of pups down the Grand Promenade.
► Junior Rangers of all ages are invited to Junior Ranger Day on August 7 for a chance to earn a commemorative centennial badge. The day includes guided hikes, workshops and hands-on activities for the whole family.
FALL & WINTER
► The celebration continues on September 18 with the Thermal Springs Festival. Families will have the opportunity to learn all about the foundation of Hot Springs National Park and experience behind-the-scenes water tours, interactive demonstrations and more.
► In true spooky season fashion, the mysteries of the park can be explored on October 16 with Archaeological Day. This family-friendly event will offer insight into the role archaeologists play in the park along with archaeological displays and games to solve some of its mysteries.
► Park Rx Weekend arrives on November 13 for a public health fair. Health and wellness are the primary focus of this event, where attendees will be inspired through scheduled walks, yoga classes, runs and much more.
► The celebratory year rounds out in December with the final monthly photo contest and last chance to complete the Iron Ranger Challenge.
Details may change after publication due to ever-changing COVID-19 safety guidelines or weather-related issues. Visit nps.gov for the latest.
Sources: Hot Springs National Park and Visit Hot Springs