Created in 1948, the park's mission is to commemorate the 1539 expedition of the Spanish Conquistador Hernando de Soto and his impact on the American Indian societies of the Southeast. The park is open year round and offers many seasonal activities. The highlight of the park's activities during the winter include living history programs and demonstrations at Camp Uzita, a recreation of a 16th Century native village. During the summer, the park operates guided kayak tours in the surrounding water and bays. Park Rangers and staff are on hand to assist visitors in their understanding of this important and controversial historical event. De Soto National Memorial has several youth programs offered throughout the year. One of the more popular programs is Junior Ranger Activity Book which young visitors complete to earn a collectible badge. Activities in the book include navigation and orienteering, observation skills, and hiking. We also offer a Junior Ranger Summer Camp with activities like dip-netting, fishing, and observing items from the environment through microscopes. In addition, the park offers fishing clinics to visitors age 8 and up where they learn about knots, fish ID and regulations, casting, and they have a opportunity to fish. In the winter, the park has living history programs where rangers demonstrate and discuss how the local Native Americans and Europeans on the expedition would have lived and survived off the land and coast. In the summer, the park offers kayak tours to visitors age 8 and up and offers a unique perspective from the water looking inland. We also welcome volunteers of high school age who are working towards community service hours for scholarships.