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Grand Canyon celebrates 100th birthday as national park

Posted at 7:56 AM, Feb 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-26 10:56:27-05

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. (AP) — The Grand Canyon is celebrating its 100th birthday as a national park.

Visitors can get into the iconic park free Tuesday for the celebration that includes children's choirs, cultural demonstrations and cake.

The park was protected as a game reserve and national monument before being designated a national park on Feb. 26, 1919. Now, more than 6 million visitors a year peer deep into the gorge, navigate river rapids, hike trails and camp under the stars.

Centennial events begin mid-morning Tuesday.

A fourth-grade class from the Grand Canyon School will lead a Happy Birthday sing-along. Sunni Dooley will tell Navajo winter stories later in the day.

Before Grand Canyon became a national park, the land was home to and visited frequently by Native American tribes.