What National Parks & Museums Might Be Closed During the Shutdown

government shutdown, National Park Service, national monuments, Smithsonian, meeting tips
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History; Photo Credit: Roberto Nickson/Unsplash

As we enter yet another week of the partial government shutdown, planners are wondering exactly how it will affect meetings as well as the destinations in which they’re holding their meetings.

Airport wait times and fewer air traffic controllers are causing concerns over group travel plans, but another concern is equally, if not more, important: the closing of national parks, museums and other fun attractions around which you may have planned your entire meeting. These venues could be completely closed until the stalemate over what to do about Pres. Trump’s border wall plan is lifted.

Here’s the lowdown on what’s open and what’s closed during the shutdown.

National Parks Service

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The National Parks Service (NPS) reports 387 closures out of the 737 national parks; however, not all of those are related to the government shutdown per se, and the NPS website clearly states that it “may not reflect current conditions.” Regardless, if you planned an outing to a national park or are meeting in one, it’s important to check what’s open and what’s not.

While some of the more popular national parks—the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone, for instance— are open (due to state funding or nonprofit backing), you can expect staff shortages and certain facilities to still be closed in the interim. And remember, if you call a national park phone number and don’t get an answer, that in itself may be an indication that it’s closed.

National Monuments

There’s not as clear of an answer as to what national monuments or historic sites are open or closed, so it’s best to contact the monument individually. For now, Alcatraz Island, Ellis Island and Mount Rushmore remain open, while St. Louis’ Gateway Arch and Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are closed, reported “Money” magazine.

National Museums

The same rule of thumb that applies to the national monuments applies to the national museums. A lot of it is on a case-by-case basis. But in Washington, D.C., for instance, all 19 of the Smithsonian museums and galleries as well as the National Zoo are closed.

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