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Of all of the Civil War sites that you can visit throughout the U.S., one of the most well-known and significant ones is Gettysburg National Military Park. That’s because this was a turning point in the historic war with a Union victory, the bloodiest battle of the entire war, and the inspiration for Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.”
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This is a great place to learn through living history programs, join a ranger-led program for all ages, attend a commemorative event, and see the famous Cyclorama oil painting. The park also offers horseback riding, camping, and battle anniversary programs for visitors.
Most first-time visitors start their exploration of this park at the visitor center which is open from 8am or 9am to 5pm or 6pm depending on the season. Here you can pick up a map of the park and ask about tours that are happening that day.
Although there is no fee to enter the park and the visitor center, the museum costs visitors $9 per adults and $7 per youth to explore. There’s also a film, Cyclorama, and museum experience package for a few dollars more per person. For a truly immersive experience, you can take a privately guided tour of the battlefield with a licensed battlefield guide. This experience requires advance reservation and is about two hours long. Visitors can also purchase tickets for car tours and bus tours, for the Eisenhower National Historic Site nearby, and for the David Wills House.
Scouting and youth groups that visit the park are welcome to camp at the McMillan Woods Campground on West Confederate Avenue. The campground is open between April and October, and this is for organized groups rather than family camping. However, the horseback riding trails are family friendly and located throughout the park. The park doesn’t offer guided rides, but there are a few businesses in the area that do, or you can bring your own horse and park at the campground.
Dog lovers will enjoy the fact that this park does allow dogs, but just not in the museum or visitor center. Dogs should always be on a leash, cleaned up after, and never left unattended or in a hot car. Just make sure to check your dog and yourself for ticks because several species live in this region of Pennsylvania and can transmit Lyme disease. Before your visit, check the ranger-led tour schedule and make a point to join a tour because this is the best way to learn about the site and perhaps even see a battle reenactment!
Gettysburg National Military Park Information:
Address: 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, PA 17325
Phone Number: 717-334-1124