Gettysburg National Military Park | VISITOR CENTER

Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Military Park

Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Military Park

GENERAL INFORMATION

The Gettysburg National Military Park’s Visitor Center is owned and operated by the Gettysburg Foundation, not the National Park Service. The National Park Service has its own information desk inside, but most of the space is taken up by the Gettysburg Foundation’s ticket desk, book and souvenir store, café, and lobby exhibits.

Gettysburg Foundation ticket desk inside the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center

Gettysburg Foundation ticket desk inside the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center

No backpacks are allowed inside the Visitor Center unless they contain essential medical equipment or items required for infant care. Camera bags are allowed. There are security guards at the entrance, and you and your belongings are subject to being searched, so leave your guns, bombs, drugs, and spray paint at home.

National Park Service information desk at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center

National Park Service information desk at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center

OPERATING HOURS

The Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center is open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM, except when closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The facility closes at 1 PM on Christmas Eve. Keep in mind that times can always change, so before heading to the park be sure to check the National Park Service’s official Operating Hours and Seasons web page for the latest schedule.

Lobby area of the Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Military Park

Lobby area of the Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Military Park

PARKING

There are three parking lots for guests and one staff parking lot at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center. Parking Lot #3, the first that you come to on the west side (Taneytown Road entrance), is the farthest away—up to a .3 mile walk. The first on the east side (Baltimore Pike entrance) is the RV and Bus Parking Lot—also up to a .3 mile walk. The main parking lot is Parking Lot #1, which is the third lot from the west entrance / second from the east. In addition to being the closest to the Visitor Center, it has nearly three dozen handicap-permitted spots. Keep in mind that you still have a long walk if you end up in the back of the parking lot.

Parking Lot #2 is for staff, and it is also where the battlefield tour buses pick up tour participants.

AMENITIES

  • National Park Service information desk where you can pick up free park brochures and other information
  • Gettysburg Museum, Film, and Gettysburg Cyclorama (fee)
  • Purchase tickets for a guided tour of the battlefield by bus or schedule a personal battlefield guide to accompany you in your own vehicle
  • Café
  • Restrooms
  • Large gift and book store
Book and souvenir store at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center

Book and souvenir store at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center

CAFÉ

Cafe at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center

Café at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center

A café inside the Visitor Center serves hot dogs and a limited number of hot sandwiches, pre-packages snack foods, and drinks. Prices are reasonable.

GETTYSBURG FILM, CYLORAMA, AND MUSEUM

Exhibit at the Gettysburg Museum in Gettysburg National Military Park's Visitor Center

Exhibit at the Gettysburg Museum in Gettysburg National Military Park’s Visitor Center

While entry into the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center is free, there is a fee for the Gettysburg Museum, the film A New Birth of Freedom, and the Gettysburg Cyclorama presentation. Tickets can be purchased at the Gettysburg Foundation’s ticket desk inside the Visitor Center or in advance on the Foundation’s Film, Cyclorama, and Museum Experience web page (you can also get prices on this page). You have the choice of a museum ticket only ($12.75 for an adult at the time of the writing) or a ticket that includes all three attractions for $6 more. Because the Visitor Center is not a National Park Service facility, National Park Passes of any kind are not valid for ticket purchases or discounts off standard pricing. There is a $1 discount for AAA members and active military personnel and veterans (must show your membership ID).

Tickets for the museum are good for entry anytime. However, you must choose a show time for film and cyclorama tickets. Keep in mind that these are time-consuming attractions, so be sure you have at least two hours to spend before purchasing tickets. The film and cyclorama presentation take about an hour, and if you aren’t willing to set aside at least an hour for the museum, you are just wasting your time and money. A Civil War buff could spend five hours or more in the museum. The museum ticket is good all day, so if you want to take a break and come back later, you can do so. I highly recommend purchasing a ticket for all three attractions if you really want to learn about the Battle of Gettysburg. Having some knowledge of the battle will go a long way in helping you understand what you are seeing once you venture out to explore the actual battlefield.

See the following web pages here on National Park Planner for detailed information on the Gettysburg Film, Cyclorama, and Museum Experience:

Gettysburg Museum

Gettysburg Cyclorama and Film

Gettysburg Cyclorama program at Gettysburg National Historical Park

Gettysburg Cyclorama program at Gettysburg National Historical Park

SCHEDULING YOUR TIME

The only relevant amount of time spent at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center is time spent at the museum, cyclorama, and film. Plan to spend a minimum of two hours if you purchase a ticket for these attractions. As for the Visitor Center itself, you can ask a park Ranger about what there is to see and do at the park, pick up a park brochure, purchase gifts and books in the souvenir store, have a bite to eat in the café, purchase a ticket for a bus tour of the battlefield, or schedule a personal guide to accompany you on a tour of the battlefield in your own vehicle. Since the Visitor Center can be crowded, I suggest allotting a minimum of a half hour just to get information and schedule tours.

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Last updated on October 28, 2022
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