Centennial Press Kit

A cartooned bathhouse with "Hot Springs National Park, 100, 1921-2021" underneath it in an art deco, Blue, black, and gold color scheme

Hot Springs National Park, Centennial 2021

This page is dedicated to the media - whether you write articles for newspapers, magazines, or television, produce stories for news shows or documentaries you should find these resources helpful.

Below you'll find links to background information on the park, images, frequently asked questions, a historical timeline, and other useful information in writing about Hot Springs National Park's centennial celebration.

Should you have more questions or would like to speak to us directly, please feel free to reach out.

 
Image collage of the Park depicting the thermal springs, water jug fountains, overlooks, trails, and rolling hills.
Collection of images of Hot Springs National Park. Top left, the Hot Water Cascade. Top middle, the Grand Promenade. Top right, an overlook at the top of Hot Springs Mountain. Bottom left, aerial view of Hot Springs. Middle, view of Bathhouse Row. Bottom middle, Gulpha Creek at the Gulpha Gorge campground. Bottom right, water jugs at the thermal fountain.

NPS Image

 

About the National Park Service
Since 1916, the National Park Service has been entrusted with the care of our national parks. With the help of volunteers and partners, we safeguard these special places and share their stories with more than 318 million visitors every year. However, our work doesn’t stop there.

We are proud to work with Tribal Partners, local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individual citizens in revitalizing our communities, preserving local history, celebrating local heritage, and creating close-to-home opportunities for kids and families to get outside, be active, and have fun.

Taking care of the national parks and helping Americans take care of their communities is a job we love, and strive to accomplish with your help and support.

Our Mission
The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.

Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook and Twitter.

About Hot Springs National Park
Located about 50 miles southwest of Little Rock, Hot Springs National Park preserves and protects the 47 thermal springs that form the heart of the 5,500- acre park. The park’s forested hillsides surround the city’s downtown area where urban meets wild. Throughout history, a visit to the hot springs was designed to treat not just the body, but the mind as well - an experience more than 1.5 million visitors each year still enjoy. Created as Hot Springs Reservation by Congress in 1832, the area became Hot Springs National Park in 1921. Once among the most visited health and wellness resorts in the United States, visitors to the national park can soak in the thermal waters, drink spring water from the fountains, and hike densely wooded slopes - all just steps away from downtown Hot Springs.

Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987, Bathhouse Row includes eight bathhouse buildings along Central Avenue. It is the most heavily visited part of the park. This area encompasses 6 acres of landscaped lawns, iconic Magnolia trees, fountains, a formal staircase entrance, a walkway in front of the bathhouses, and a Grand Promenade behind the bathhouses.

The Fordyce Bathhouse is home to the park’s visitor center and museum and located in the Lamar Bathhouse is the Bathhouse Row Emporium, while the Maurice Bathhouse currently remains vacant. Several other bathhouses, including the Superior (Superior Bathhouse Brewery), Hale (Hotel Hale), Quapaw (Quapaw Baths and Spa), and Buckstaff Bathhouse operate through leases or concessions contracts to serve visitors. The Ozark Bathhouse contains some of the park’s art collection. Volunteers with the Friends of Hot Springs National Park staff it on select weekends.

Hot Springs National Park collects and distributes thermal water to the bathhouses and public fountains. Although most of the 47 springs on the mountainside are capped to prevent contamination, the public can interact with the spring water by bathing in the bathhouses, viewing several display springs, or by collecting it as drinking water from one of the park’s public fountains. Thousands of people come to the park to fill jugs or bottles from the outdoor jug fountains that provide the water free to the public.

The thermal water emerges from springs at the base of Hot Springs Mountain, directly behind Bathhouse Row. Rain enters cracks in the brittle rock formations at the tops of the mountains in the recharge zone and gravity slowly pulls it deep into the Earth. The rock temperature increases with depth and the water is heated to around 160 degrees Fahrenheit. When the water reaches a major fault on the west slope of Hot Springs Mountain, pressure propels it rapidly to the surface, where it emerges at an average temperature of 143 degrees Fahrenheit/62 degrees Celsius. The journey from rainfall in the recharge area to emerging at the springs takes nearly 4,000 years. Recent studies show that a sizable portion of the recharge zone is outside the park, which means it is important to work with partners and landowners in the surrounding area to help protect this vital resource.

Thermal Water Statistics
Temperature: 143 F/ 62 C
pH: 7
Flow rate: about 700,000 gal/day
Minerals present: Silica, Calcium, Bicarbonate, Magnesium, Potassium, Sulfate, Chloride, Iron, Zinc

*Event disclaimer: Events are subject to change, due to COVID-related requirements. Hot Springs National Park encourages everyone to visit the park’s website (www.nps.gov/hosp) and official calendar of events for the most up-to-date information.

Hot Springs National Park will host both year-long events and special, monthly events throughout 2021. From Junior Ranger Celebrations to a Thermal Springs Festival, and everything in-between, there’s something for everybody at the park.

Year-Long Events

Iron Ranger Challenge

To join the Iron Ranger challenge, log 100 miles of biking, walking, paddling, or hiking on any public lands in Arkansas throughout 2021. Once you’ve completed your 100 miles, mail or email the log to Hot Springs National Park and we will send you a commemorative patch and certificate for becoming an Iron Ranger.

Monthly Photo Contests

Our monthly photo contests will be released each month on social media and on our webpage. Participants need only follow the theme for the month, then submit their photos to the park via email hosp_anniversary@nps.gov, or through social media using the hashtags: #HotSprings100 and #HotSpringsPhotoContest. Each monthly winner will be featured on our park’s website banner.

Monthly Events

March

  • March 4th - March 4th marks the park’s official 100th anniversary as a national park. Join us as we celebrate our official birthday with our community partners and others. We will remember the past and look forward to the future for our next 100 years as a national park.

April

  • April 20th - Hot Springs Reservation Day
    To celebrate our 189th anniversary as a federal reservation, Hot Springs National Park will offer guided hikes and specialty tours of the park.

May

  • May 1st - BioBlitz
    Join Hot Springs National Park on May 1st and 2nd and embark on a park-wide journey to document pollinators and flowering plants. This information will be used for a future pollinator project the park will be implementing. Observations will be made via iNaturalist.

    Registration for the BioBlitz begins on May 1st at 8:00am on Arlington Lawn. You will be given a free t-shirt and will be oriented to the project. You will have the opportunity to join a ranger-led group out into the field, or you can choose to make observations individually.

    Individual observations can be made all day on May 1st and May 2nd. Ranger led groups are only available on May 1st at 9:00 am and at 1:00 pm.

    May 1st Schedule:
    8:00 - 8:30am - BioBlitz Registration
    8:30 - 8:45am - Orientation
    9:00 - 1:00 PM - Group exploration #1
    11:00 - 3:00 - BioDiversity Faire at Arlington Lawn
    1:00 - 4:00 PM - Group exploration #2

    Link to the project: Hot Springs National Park Centennial BioBlitz · iNaturalist

July

  • July 3rd – BARK Ranger Day
    Hot Springs National Park is one of the most pet friendly parks in the NPS system. Together with our K9 ranger, Konyak, local pet shelters, stores, and trainers, the park will host a dog-lovers weekend dedicated to embracing the BARK Ranger principles and celebrating our furry companions. Throughout the day there will be demos, workshops for dog owners (and dogs), BARK Ranger swearing-in ceremonies, and will end with a BARK Ranger Parade down the Grand Promenade.

August

  • August 7th - Junior Ranger Day Junior Rangers are the next generation of stewards for our national parks. This family-focused day will be full of hands-on activities, specialized workshops, guided hikes, and collaborations with surrounding agencies and parks. Junior Rangers of all ages will have the opportunity to earn a commemorative centennial junior ranger badge throughout 2021.

September

  • September 18th – Thermal Springs Festival This family friendly event will be an educational celebration of the very foundation of the park: the thermal springs! Designed as a workshop with interactive demonstrations, booths from local agencies, behind the scenes water tours, and other water-based activities, this will be an event to remember and could be the beginning of a new tradition in Hot Springs.

October

  • October 16th - History’s Mysteries: Dig In to Archeology
    Join the park archeology and history team and partner agencies in a day-long event to learn more about history’s mysteries and the role archeologists serve in the park. There will be archeological displays, opportunities to get dirty, hands-on workshops, and games to solve some of the park’s mysteries!
  • October 30th - 1921 Block party
    The roaring ‘20s will be back in full swing downtown and at the Park! Guests are encouraged to dress in their best 1920’s outfits and join in on costume contests and themed workshops. Take specialized tours of Bathhouse Row, enjoy music, play games, and visit participating downtown shops for specials. Let’s party like it’s 1921!

November

  • November 13th - Park Rx Weekend In conjunction with the Spa City Running Festival and the Güdrun Mountain Bike Festival, Hot Springs National Park will host a public health fair. With booths, health information, scheduled walks, rides, runs, yoga classes, movement arts, and all things health and fitness, visitors will be inspired to get moving and bring to life one of the foundations of the parks’ inception: health & wellness.
  • Hot Springs National Park was set aside by Congress as Hot Springs Reservation in 1832, making it one of the oldest federally protected sites to preserve a natural resource.
  • The spring water starts out as rain falling on nearby mountains and takes about 4,400 years to travel roughly 6,000 feet deep into the Earth before reemerging at more than 40 hot springs.
  • Hot Springs NP has thermal and spring water fountains throughout the park, encouraging visitors to take the water home with them.
  • The springs produce between 600,000 and 800,000
    gallons of water each day, and emerge at an average temperature of 143 degrees F/ 62 C.
  • Hot Springs National Park is the second smallest national park in the NPS system after Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis.

1804 - President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the first exploration of the “hot springs of the Washitas” by the Dr. George Hunter and William Dunbar expedition.

1832 - Congress passed legislation to set aside the hot springs as Hot Springs Reservation. It was signed by President Jackson on April 20th, making it one of the first federally protected tracts of land in the nation.

1877 - The first superintendent, Benjamin Franklin Kelley, was assigned to Hot Springs Reservation.

1912 - The Buckstaff Bathhouse opened for business. It is still in operation today.

1921 – Hot Springs Reservation becomes Hot Springs National Park on March 4th.

1922 – Due to limited services in the bathhouses for African American patrons under segregation, other bathhouses were built off of Bathhouse Row. The Woodmen of the Union Hospital and Bathhouse was completed on Malvern Avenue, the first dedicated African American bathhouse. Quapaw Bathhouse was built. The Government Free Bathhouse opened in early March. The Ozark Bathhouse was completely finished in July.

1947 – More than 1,000,000 baths were given in Hot Springs.

1974 – On November 13th, Bathhouse Row and its environs were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

1983 – The Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission designated two areas totaling 300 acres in the park as “outstanding natural area” and listed the Trelease’s blue-green algae as a significant species.

1987 – Bathhouse Row is designated a National Historic Landmark.

2004 – The Artist in Residence program was initiated at Hot Springs National Park. To date, more than 60 artists have participated.

2008 - The Quapaw Bathhouse reopened in July as Quapaw Baths and Spa under a historic lease agreement with the National Park Service.

2009 – The Lamar Bathhouse reopened for use by the park as the Bathhouse Row Emporium.

2010 – The U.S. Mint released the design of a quarter recognizing Hot Springs National Park as the first land that the federal government set aside for preservation. This coin was the first one in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program.

2013 – The Superior Bathhouse reopens as Superior Bathhouse Brewery.

2014 – The Ozark Bathhouse re-opened as the Hot Springs National Park Cultural Center, which is staffed by volunteers on select weekends.

2019 - Hotel Hale opens in the Hale Bathhouse.

2020 – A new bike trail connecting Pullman Avenue to the city’s Northwoods Trail mountain biking network officially opened.

2021 – Hot Springs National Park celebrates its 100th anniversary as a national park.

What makes Hot Springs National Park unique?

  • Hot Springs National Park is among the oldest areas of federally protected land in the National Park System. In 1832, Congress set aside the Hot Springs area as Hot Springs Reservation. This was long before the National Park Service ever existed and long before the protection of Yellowstone National Park. Hot Springs even helped pave the way for Americans to understand the concept of a “nation’s park.” When this land was set aside in 1832, it was with the intent that all could come here and enjoy the thermal springs.

Why is Hot Springs National Park’s centennial anniversary important?

  • Hot Springs National Park is among the oldest areas of federally protected land in the National Park System. In 1832, Congress set aside the Hot Springs area as Hot Springs Reservation. This was long before the National Park Service ever existed and long before the protection of Yellowstone National Park. Hot Springs even helped pave the way for Americans to understand the concept of a “nation’s park.” When this land was set aside in 1832, it was with the intent that all could come here and enjoy the thermal springs.

    For us, our contribution has always been health, healing, refuge, and access to mineral-rich thermal spring water. In the last 100 years our park has grown in size. Some of our Bathhouses have found new uses. People’s reasons for visiting have changed somewhat, and the city around the park has changed. Our national park has experienced wars, fires, and floods. Many things have changed and yet, at the heart of it all, the water continues to flow. The longevity, beauty, and value of the springs have weathered countless challenges and they continue to offer themselves up as a refuge to all who would seek to know them -- today, and for the next 100 years.

    Hot Springs National Park and the City of Hot Springs have grown together over the last 100 years. The anniversary is a time to celebrate YOUR national park. All events are interactive and family friendly

What about the park is the same as it was 100 years ago? What are the most significant changes?

  • 100 years ago, all of the bathhouses on Bathhouse Row were booming as they enticed visitors to come and enjoy the “American Spa.” People traveled from across the United States to take a bath in the thermal waters here. More often than not, people came to seek relief from an ailment or a chronic health issue. Physicians nationwide wrote prescriptions for the baths, instructing their patients to bathe a certain number of times a week, drink a certain amount of the thermal water, and hike certain trails.

    Today, two of the Bathhouses continue to offer baths, and visitors still come here to relax and soak in the thermal water, relieve stress, and enjoy nature on the hiking trails. Regardless of the advances in science and medicine over the years, the thermal water flowing from Hot Springs Mountain still attracts people to seek relief and wellness in its soothing warmth.

How will Coronavirus affect the park’s celebrations?

  • Hot Springs National Park is following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities. Should it be determined that certain events are not feasible in the interest of public health and safety, we will move our celebrations to a digital, accessible platform. We will be posting all updates regarding COVID-19 and our events on the park’s website, nps.gov/hosp and on social media. Updates about the overall NPS response to COVID-19, including safety information, are posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

How can the community get involved in the park’s centennial by volunteering or participating?

  • The park will post event registrations and updates to its social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram (@hotspringsnps). We also will update the park website with upcoming opportunities and links. If you would like more information about volunteering or participating in the Centennial events, contact the Centennial coordinator directly via email at hosp_anniversary@nps.gov.

What about a 2021 Cancellation Stamp for my Passport to Your National Parks®?

  • Hot Springs National Park will have a special Centennial cancellation stamp which can be used in the Passport to Your National Parks®, along with a Centennial Junior Ranger badge for those completing the Junior Ranger program.

Are the events/activities going to be accessible?

  • We strive to make our events as accessible as possible. Should you need additional services, such as an ASL interpreter, please contact us at least two weeks in advance and we will make the necessary accommodations.

Where can I find a schedule of upcoming events?

  • All of the events will be posted on the park’s website in both the “Calendar” and “Centennial” section. Additionally, the events will be shared on the park’s Facebook (facebook.com/hotspringsnps) and Instagram accounts (@hotspringsnps).

Are the events family friendly? Pet friendly? Is there a fee?

  • All of the park’s events are free and family friendly! Several events, like the Junior Ranger Day and Thermal Springs Festival, are geared towards children of all ages. Other events, like BARK Ranger Day, are K9 focused and all well behaved and leashed dogs are welcome to attend. Dogs are not recommended to join groups during the park’s BioBlitz, as they might scare away some of the creatures that we would be trying to document.

What are the can’t miss events?

  • Each of our planned events is certain to be a fun time. We highly encourage you to attend all of them, if possible! All the events are interactive, educational, and full of opportunities to connect with not just Hot Springs National Park rangers, but other park partners as well. If you’ll be traveling from afar and are looking to plan your trip to coincide with certain events, here are our recommendations:

    • For the science lover: the BioBlitz
    • For the history buff: the 1921 Block Party
    • For the ranger aficionado: the Junior Ranger Day
    • For the dog lover: BARK Ranger Day
    • For the water enthusiast: Thermal Springs Festival
    • For the archeologist: Archeology Day
    • For the health-focused: ParkRx Day

Are there any events/activities for school groups/scouting groups.? Does a large group need to sign up in advance?

  • Several of our events are well suited for school groups and scout troops. The BioBlitz, Junior Ranger Day, Thermal Springs Festival, Archaeology Day, and ParkRx all have strong interactive and educational components. We would be happy to work one-on-one with your team lead to determine the best event for your group. Large groups are not required to sign up in advance, unless they will be attending the BioBlitz in May. Please note, however, that we will adhere to current COVID-19 restrictions for all events in the interest of public safety. For more information, please reach out to our Centennial coordinator at hosp_anniversary@nps.gov.

I have an idea to celebrate the park’s centennial, who should I contact?

  • Please reach out to the park’s Centennial coordinator at hosp_anniversary@nps.gov.

Are there hiking/biking/paddling opportunities in the park? What are some other locations for these?

  • Hot Springs National Park has 26 miles of hiking trails in the park. With the recent addition of the Pullman Trail, the only trail in the park that allows bicycles and connects to the city’s world-famous Northwoods Trails, we now also have mountain biking opportunities available. For paddling and other hiking opportunities, there are several state parks in close proximity to Hot Springs National Park such as Lake Catherine State Park, Lake Ouachita State Park, and DeGray Lake Resort State Park, as well as the Ouachita National Forest.

Is there a fee to enter the park? Does the park sell the America the Beautiful National Park Passes?

  • Hot Springs National Park is one of the national parks that does not have an entrance fee. It is free to visit the park any time of year. America the Beautiful passes are available for purchase at the Bathhouse Row Emporium, located inside the Lamar Bathhouse.

Where can visitors stay in the area?

  • Hot Springs National Park is located in the heart of the City of Hot Springs, so places to stay are plentiful. If you’d like to stay in the park you can stay at Gulpha Gorge campground which has 40 sites with water and electricity. For more information, please visit our website at https://www.nps.gov/hosp/planyourvisit/eating-sleeping.htm.

Where can visitors park to visit the park or attend an event?

  • Parking is available on Central Ave., along Reserve Ave., and along Fountain St., surrounding Bathhouse Row. RV parking is available at 629 Central Ave. in the Hill Wheatley Plaza. The City of Hot Springs has a free parking garage located downtown at 128 Exchange St.

What does the park envision for its next 100 years?

  • Looking ahead, we hope to continue the National Park Service mission to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The thermal springs operate on a 4,400 year cycle, and we will work with our community to protect them for our children and our grandchildren. Long-term thinking encourages us to set high priority goals for providing education, being proactive in our water quality monitoring, and working closely with local, state, and federal agencies and private landowners to protect the recharge zone. We have a lot to be proud of in the work that we’ve accomplished thus far, and even more to look forward to.
All of the park's news releases can be found, here.
Hot Springs National Park maintains both a Facebook page and an Instagram page.


 
 
A woman stands under a tent, behind a table with a children in front of her as she demonstrates.

Centennial Events

See what's happening all year long at Hot Springs National Park to celebrate the Centennial!

A woman paddling in an orange kayak with rolling hills behind her.

Iron Ranger Challenge

Hike, bike, swim, paddle, or walk 100 miles on Arkansas Public Lands for a chance to claim your Iron Ranger title!

Bright pink azalea bushes line a sidewalk leading up to a large stone staircase with an fountain.

Centennial Photography Contest

All year long Hot Springs NP will be hosting a monthly photography contest. Learn more about the themes, rules, and how to enter!

Thermal pool with green algae

Experience the Water

Learn about the various ways that you can experience the thermal springs in the Park.

Last updated: July 22, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

101 Reserve Street
Hot Springs , AR 71901

Phone:

(501) 620-6715

Contact Us