KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. - After a 16-day shutdown, owing to the financial standoff that affected the National Park Service as a whole, Valley Forge National Historical Park removed traffic cones, unlocked gates, disposed of closure signs and once again welcomed visitors to its 3,500 acres.

Nowhere was that news more evident than in the electronic billboards that flashed the cheery news to early morning commuters and visitors: Welcome back! We missed you!

"We are open, and it is exciting to be back to work," says Park Superintendent Kate Hammond. "We are thrilled to be here."

In celebration, the Park is hosting a Welcome Back Weekend this Saturday and Sunday, October 19-20. Guests may enjoy:

  • The full array of touring options, including by trolley (11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday) and bicycle (10:30 a.m. Saturday). The trolley tour is being discounted 10%.
  • A photography workshop beginning at 8 a.m. at the covered bridge (info, contact: Jeff Coates, 610.783.1009)
  • Storytellers at Washington's Headquarters and the Visitor Center
  • Ranger-led walks
  • Renovated entrance to the Visitor Center, sporting new walkways and plantings
  • A stunning display of leaves in gold, orange, russet, and crimson

As always, admission to the Park is free.

"We are happy to be able to welcome the American people to their National Park," concludes Hammond.

The Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau, Ltd. is a nonprofit, membership-based sales and marketing organization that actively promotes the Valley Forge area and Montgomery County, Pa., as a convention site and leisure visitor destination by encouraging patronage of its 300-plus member hotels, restaurants, attractions and services. The Bureau's website serves visitors, meeting planners, tour operators and residents, as well as hosting The Pursuit, a twice-weekly blog.

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