Admission free at VNMP for weekend

Published 8:42 am Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Vicksburg’s top tourist attraction will offer free admission this weekend in celebration of National Park Week.

Admission is free Saturday and Sunday at Vicksburg National Military Park as the park services encourages visitors to embrace their new slogan of “Find Your Park.”

“Entrance fees will be waived during the opening weekend only, making it easier for visitors to tour the park and enjoy its significant resources,” Ranger Jake Koch said in a release.

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The Find Your Park initiative was announced earlier this year by National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis as a way to engage visitors leading up to the 100th anniversary of the park service in 2016.

“Our campaign will encourage Americans to ‘Find Your Park’ – to discover a personal connection to a place or a story that provides inspiration or enjoyment, and to then join us in our second century of stewardship of America’s most treasured places,” Jarvis said.

Saturday is also National Junior Ranger Day, and VNMP has a full slate of activities for kids from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the USS Cairo Museum.

“There will be ranger talks, hands-on children’s activates, military drills for the kids, USS Cairo tours and living history weapons demonstrations throughout the day,” Koch said.

The Junior Ranger program works to build a generation of national park patrons by letting youth explore and learn about America’s natural beauty and historic places.

Other fee-free days this year will be Aug. 25, marking the 99th anniversary of the National Park Service, and National Public Lands Day, Sept. 26.

On other days, admission to the park is $8 per non-commercial vehicle.

For more information on upcoming programs, call 601-636-0583 or visit

Commemoration of Civil War events continues April 24 when Koch will present a program on the 150th anniversary of the SS Sultana’s departure from Vicksburg.

The ill-fated boat left Vicksburg April 24, 1865, packed with passengers, most of whom had been Federal soldiers that were taken as prisoners of war. The Sultana exploded outside of Memphis three days later killing an estimated 1,800 people in the worst maritime disaster in American history.