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You can visit Split Rock Lighthouse (and state parks) for free Saturday

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If you've been meaning to visit Minnesota's North Shore and tour Split Rock Lighthouse, Saturday's the day to do it.

It's the annual open house at the historic site. According to the Minnesota Historical Society, people will be able to tour the light station, keeper's house, and fog signal building.

People can also stop by the visitor center to see exhibits on North Shore tourism, learn about the commercial fishing industry and watch a film about the early shipping industry on Lake Superior.

The open house will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

It usually costs $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and college students, and $6 for kids 5 - 17.

About Split Rock Lighthouse

The historic structure was built after some strong winds in 1905 caused shipwrecks, the Historical Society says.

The storm damaged 29 ships.

So in 1907, Congress appropriated $75,000 for a lighthouse and fog signal. Construction was finished in 1910.

It operated until 1939 – when the U.S. Coast Guard took command.

Then in 1969, the lighthouse closed. By then, navigational equipment had advanced enough that the station was obsolete.

By 1971 the state had obtained the landmark and a few years later turned it over to the Minnesota Historical Society. It's since been restored to its 1920s appearance.

The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2011.

And earlier this year, Minnesota lawmakers announced a $68,000 grant for the Split Rock Lighthouse.

The money will help with long-term management and preservation.

National Get Outdoors Day

Saturday is the 9th annual National Get Outdoors Day (Go Day). It is meant to encourage healthy, active living.

To honor it, Minnesota's 75 state parks and recreation areas are offering free admission all day.

In fact, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says many parks have fun activities – like geocaching, kayaking, camping – planned to get you started.

To see a full list of events, click here and scroll down to the events calendar.

After all, there's a state park within 30 miles of most Minnesotans, according to the DNR.

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On July 31, 1910, the Split Rock Lighthouse in Two Harbors opened on Minnesota's North Shore. Why was it built? A) To increase tourism north of Duluth. B) To serve as the perfect background subject for artists and photographers. C) As a response to a 1905 storm that sank dozens of ships on Lake Superior. For the answer, click on the headline above...

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