On a hot, sunny day last April, 11-year-old Helene Prestandrea gazed out over the vast landscape of the Grand Canyon. She couldn’t believe her eyes.
“I had seen photos, but actually being there was totally different,” Helene recalls. “I was in awe of how beautiful it was.”
About 6 million people visit the landmark in northern Arizona each year. That number is expected to go up this year, as Grand Canyon National Park celebrates its 100th birthday.
On February 26, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson signed a law creating the national park. That means much of the canyon will be protected for generations of visitors like Helene.
Here are five things to know about this natural wonder.