Calaveras Big Trees State Park will hold the grand opening of its new Visitor Center on May 24 during Memorial Day weekend. The new Visitor Center features a variety of exhibits and artifacts that display some of the local history of California.
“This is a very interactive and educational Center, and will definitely enhance our visitor’s experience to the park,” said Park Superintendent Gary Olson. “The event is especially significant, given that State Parks is commemorating our 150th anniversary this year, giving us a chance to connect the people of California to their parks, and also reflect on the wonderful history and legacy of our State’s parks.”
The new Visitor Center now houses Native Californian cultural artifacts and animal displays amongst information spanning from the discovery of the North Grove to the impacts of fire. Wild bird sounds can be heard from the center of the museum while visitors locate animals around the display. A new film focusing on the origin of California State Parks and Calaveras Big Trees can be viewed in the movie theater.
The grand opening of the Visitor Center will begin at 11 a.m. on May 24. Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, the center will be open for visitors and the park will host several special walking tours, children’s activities and a wild animal presentation in the campfire center.
Beginning at 12:30 p.m. and leaving every 15 minutes, visitors will have the option of taking one of several different walking tours. California State Park staff, park docents and other groups will cover varying topics during the one hour tours. Visitors should go to the Warming Hut to meet for tours following the ribbon cutting ceremony.
From 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. the park will host a family activity — “150 Years of Games” where park docents and staff will engage visitors with games, such as 1800’s era “Graces” and bubbles to today’s games like Twister and Ladderball. At 2 p.m. there will be a special showing of “California Forever” in Jack Knight Hall, a film that tells the story of the history and development of California State Parks. At 3 p.m., a special live animal presentation by “Wild Things” in the campfire center will be sure to thrill everyone while learning about these magnificent creatures.
A barbeque lunch sponsored by the Calaveras Big Trees Association will be available for purchase throughout the afternoon.
All events and activities are free with paid park admission. For more information, contact Calaveras Big Trees State Park at 795-2334 or visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=551.