This Veterans Day, many restaurants, organizations and businesses are hosting activities or offering discounts to active and retired service members as a way to show appreciation for their service. Even though Veterans Day is Tuesday, Nov. 11, some activities and discounts are starting as early as Nov. 7. To help you decide what to do this weekend and where to eat next Tuesday, we've compiled a list of the main attractions and deals not to be missed.
National Veterans Day Ceremony: The Veterans Day ceremony will take place at Arlington National Ceremony and will begin at 11 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A parade of colors by veterans organizations will follow in the Memorial Amphitheater.
National Parks: In honor of Veterans Day, over 100 National Parks are offering free admittance to everyone on Nov. 11, 2014.
The Concert for Valor: Sponsored by HBO, Starbucks, and CHASE, The Concert for Valor will broadcast live from the National Mall at 7 p.m. on Veterans Day. Artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Carrie Underwood and Metallica will perform.
SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment: Veterans can receive half price tickets to various SeaWorld Parks when they are purchased now through Nov. 11, 2014. Tickets must be used by Dec. 21, 2014.
2014 Columbus Veterans Day Parade: Sponsored by the Military Veterans Education Foundation (MilVets), the Veterans Day Parade will begin at noon on Friday, Nov. 7 at the Nationwide Plaza on N. High St. It will head south on High St., turn west on Broad St. and end at the Veterans Memorial. The parade will feature local school bands, ROTC units, veterans groups, community groups and Santa. Don't forget to bring a toy to donate, as Santa and the Marines will be collecting for the Toys-for-Tots program.
Chillicothe VA Medical Center: The Chillicothe VA's Veterans Day parade will start at noon on Saturday, Nov. 8. Before the parade, military and patriotic displays will take place at Building 9, with free hot dogs and soda served from 10:30 a.m. until 12 p.m. On Nov. 11, the VA will present a formal Veterans Day ceremony in Building 9, with music and appearances from local military units.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium: All veterans, active duty service members, and their families will receive free admission to the Zoo on Veterans Day when proof of service is presented to the ticket window. The $8 parking fee will still apply.
Dayton VA Medical Center: The Dayton VA welcomes all veterans to join their "Celebrating Veterans Together!" event on Nov. 11. Activities include a pancake breakfast, Bingo, and lunch from Skyline Chili.
Newport Aquarium: From Nov. 8 - Nov. 11, 2014, veterans can receive free admission when proof of service is presented to the admissions staff.
Pro Football Hall of Fame: Veterans, active duty service members and a guest, as well as Gold Star Families and Blue Star Mothers, can receive free admission on Saturday, Nov. 8, in addition to a 10% discount in the museum store.
Restaurants offering free meals*: Appelbee's, Bar Louie, B.J.'s, Bob Evans, Champps, Cheeseburger in Paradise, Chili's, California Pizza Kitchen, Denny's (unlimited pancakes until 2 p.m.), Friendly's, Golden Corral, Max & Erma's, McCormick & Schmick's, Olive Garden, Rusty Bucket & Tavern, Texas Roadhouse (free lunch), Tim Hortons (free donut), Shoney's.
*It's recommended to call ahead to your local restaurant, as not all locations may be offering Veterans Day specials, or some may be offering limited menu items. Offers are valid when proof of service is presented.
Retailers offering discounts: Bath & Body Works, Big Lots, Build-A-Bear, Dollar General, Great Clips, Home Depot, JCPenney, Lowe's, Massage Envy, Sleep Number.
This list is merely an overview of the major events, discounts and activities veterans can enjoy on Veterans Day. For a comprehensive list, visit http://www.military.com/.