Free Entrance to Florida State Parks on Veteran’s Day

The Florida Department of Environmental ProtOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAection is celebrating Veterans Day with free park entry for everyone at state parks* on Monday, Nov. 11. The Florida Park Service encourages residents and visitors to celebrate veterans and active military personnel by bringing them to one of the 171 state parks and trails to enjoy outdoor activities.

“Veterans Day offers a wonderful opportunity to spend time with a veteran,” said Donald Forgione, Director of the Florida Park Service, “I encourage you to invite a veteran to visit a Florida State Park with you. You can then spend the day hiking, bicycling, picnicking, bird watching or a variety of other outdoor activities.”

As the newest member of the park system, residents will be able to enjoy free entry to Silver Springs State Park in Ocala for the first time. Silver Springs opened as a state park on Oct. 1 after months of renovations to improve facilities and enhance water quality and the environment. The Museum and Environmental Education Center ($2 per person) and the glass bottom boats tours ($9.99 per person) will be available for visitors.

Florida State Parks also preserve an abundance of historical and cultural sites that honor the nation’s fallen service members. In Apalachicola, visitors can pay respect to Vietnam Veterans at Orman  House Historic State Park‘s Three Servicemen Statue, a bronze replica of the Vietnam memorial statue in Washington, D.C. For Veterans Day, several parks are hosting special events, including Fort Clinch State Park in Fernandina Beach, which is hosting the History of the American Soldier event and Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs State Park in Homosassa, where volunteers are organizing a gift drive project for soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

In October, the Florida State Parks System won its third Gold Medal of Excellence from the National Recreation and Parks System. This makes Florida the first three-time gold medal award recipient. Since 1935, the Florida Park Service has provided recreational activities, while preserving, interpreting and restoring natural and cultural resources.

 For more information on state parks in your area, visit the Florida State Parks website or download the Florida State Parks Pocket Ranger® app, which is available on iTunes and Android Market by searching “Florida Pocket Ranger” and is identified under ParksByNature Network. It is also available on PocketRanger.com and is formatted as a Mobile Website: http://fl.pocketranger.com.

*Free day time entry to any state park except Skyway Fishing Pier State Park

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