National Parks Service celebrates 100th Birthday

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ST. LOUIS, MO(KTVI)- The National Park Service is celebrating its birthday, officially turning 100 years old today! A centennial celebration is what was on hand this morning at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Construction on the Arch grounds continues, but another part of the park opened to the public today.

The Luther Ely Smith Square, the little park between the Old Court House and the Gateway Arch was the site of the commemoration ceremony.

There was a reason to celebrate, and park rangers brought their instruments to prove it. It wouldn`t be a birthday party without a cake, or cupcake, or one thousand free cupcakes from Sarah`s Cake Stop and Destination Desserts. But the National park service is serious about engaging visitors to the gateway arch and more of the national parks.

Fredbird on hand to lend a hand in constructing a tiny arch.

This is the centennial celebration so the park service formed a band that`s play a U.S. tour of sorts, at places like Yosemite and the Grand Canyon and in New Orleans, Louisiana. And today, the Jefferson national expansion memorial, just one of 413 national parks celebrating nationwide.

"But of course we only have 59 true national parks," says Rick Ziino, U.S. National Park Ranger. "The rest are different designations, lake shores. So they're crown jewels. Some are diamonds, rubies and emeralds."

"We are the national park centennial band celebrating 100 years the best way we know how through music," says Matt Hampsey, of New Orleans Jazz National Park.

The Centennial Band made up of park rangers and regular musicians will hold a free concert at the Old Courthouse this Saturday August 27th and Sunday the 28th.