While the 150th anniversary of the Battle of First Manassas (Bull Run) falls in Summer 2011 many opportunities to learn and explore are available now, and being planned through 2015 at Manassas National Battlefield Park and other historical sites involved in the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War.
In 1861, Manassas was the site of the first major land battle of the Civil War, and nearly a year later, both sides met again. The Manassas National Battlefield Park main entrance is located on Route 234, just off Interstate 66. Visitors are invited to begin their tour at the Henry Hill Visitor Center (admission charged), where they can join a daily interpretive program or hike the self-guided 1 mile Henry Hill Loop Trail on their own, which takes them to the Stonewall Jackson statue, the Stone House, and more.
A film, "End of Innocence," orients visitors to the battlefield, and an electronic battle map offers a visual of battlefield movements and military strategies. Other self-guided trails include Stone Bridge, Matthews Hill, Brawner Farm, Deep Cut, Unfinished Railroad and Chinn Ridge.
The park doesn't offer camping facilities, but Prince William Forest Park, 15 miles south of Manassas, does. Dogs and other pets are allowed in the park, but must be kept on a leash that is controlled by a person (not tied to a tree). Picnic tables are available behind park headquarters on Stuart's Hill and at the Brownsville Picnic Area off Groveton Road.
For more information, visit the Manassas National Battlefield Park Web site at www.nps.gov/mana.
For upcoming activities related to the Civil War and Sesquicentennial activities, visit www.virginiacivilwar.org and www.visitmanassas.org.
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