Hot Springs National Park’s 100th anniversary kicks off a year of celebration

Local News

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Hot Springs National Park is celebrating an anniversary as it turns 100 next week.

It happens on March 4, and to celebrate this milestone anniversary, the City of Hot Springs will deliver an official proclamation via horse-drawn carriage declaring March 4th as “Hot Springs National Park Day.”

The Friends of Hot Springs National Park will provide birthday cupcakes from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm on the front porch of the Fordyce Bathhouse (the park Visitor Center – 369 Central Ave.) Residents and visitors alike can also take their photos in a birthday-themed photo booth while they are there. 

The park will release a special anniversary video on social media in conjunction with the event at the Fordyce. For everyone’s safety, facemasks are required on federal lands and visitors are reminded to maintain social distancing wherever possible.

Congress created Hot Springs Reservation to preserve the thermal springs for public use and enjoyment in 1832, approximately 84 years before the creation of the National Park Service, making it among the oldest federally protected sites. 

Congress changed the name from Hot Springs Reservation to Hot Springs National Park on March 4th, 1921, making Hot Springs the 18th national park in the country.  

The thermal springs in Hot Springs National Park were the first, and continue to be, the only federal controlled hot springs in the United States to be managed for both public health and consumptive use. Nearly 1.5 million visitors each year have the opportunity to fill their vessels with thermal spring water, hike the trails in the park, walk along Bathhouse Row, imagine the heyday of the American Spa, and enjoy the best that Hot Springs has to offer.  

In the last 100 years, Hot Springs National Park has been a refuge and a place of healing for all of those who have come to seek relief. “The American Spa,” as Hot Springs National Park has been known, continues to be a place for all Americans to come and enjoy the 4,400-year-old thermal spring water that emerges from 47 springs at the base of Hot Springs Mountain. Everyone from Jazz musicians, civil rights leaders, baseball players, former presidents, and veterans of war, and others have come to “quaff the elixir” in this last century.  

The March 4th anniversary kicks off a series of planned individual, online and in-person anniversary events. On March 6th the Mid-America Science Museum will host a “Build Your Own Bathhouse” event where participants will have the opportunity to create their own bathhouses out of cardboard. Learn more about the architecture of the Bathhouses and take the opportunity to design your own version from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm at Mid America Science Museum, 500 Mid America Blvd.  For more information about the bathhouse build, please contact Mid-America Science Museum directly at (501) 767-3461.

Other planned centennial events this year include a park-wide BioBlitz in May, a 1921-themed Block Party in June, a B.A.R.K. Ranger Day celebration in July, a Junior Ranger Day celebration in August, a Thermal Springs Festival in September, an Archeology Day celebration in October, and a Park Rx weekend in November.

While the park is looking forward to hosting in-person events as the year progresses, events and details are subject to change as necessary for the safety and well-being of the community.

Updates about all upcoming events will be posted on the park’s website and social media accounts.

For questions or additional information about the centennial, please contact Hot Springs National Park at (501) 620-6715 or visit the park online at www.nps.gov/hosp  

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