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December 15th - December 21st 2011

by Pam & Michael Davison

With all the excitement of the Holidays, you might think the parks, recreation centers, museums and cultural centers are done for the year. I am excited to tell you that there are still plenty of fun activities to join in on this weekend.
I encourage you to take a moment from the excitement of the Holidays and enjoy the peace that parks offer this time of year. There is something special about the warm sunshine on a crisp winter day and all the sounds that winter brings. Listen for a scurrying squirrel or the chirps of a cardinal. Its times like these that melt away stress and allow you to take on whatever challenges the rest of the day may bring.

Holiday Events

Mordecai Historic Park continues to host Santa's Trolley again this weekend. Help Holly the Elf find Santa by jumping on board this special trolley tour. Families will tour Raleigh with Holly as their guide, and make a special stop to get a taste of Santa's favorite treat. Make sure to get reservations ahead of time because this event always sells out.

The Natural Science Center of Greensboro has put a Holiday twist on their laser shows. Laser Holidays shows daily through the 24th with special evening shows on the 23rd. The show features sights and sounds from your favorite Holiday classics.
Visit the Raleigh City Museum to learn more about customs from holidays past. Holiday Customs in Raleigh will display artifacts and facts from celebrations of Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years from the 1850s-1950s in Raleigh on Saturday afternoon.
The Wonderland Express will continue to run at the Museum of Life and Science. Watch as model trains journey through a snowy Carolina, traversing mountains, crossing bridges and disappearing through tunnels. Bells ring and whistles blow as trains chug along the Blue Ridge Parkway and journey to popular landmarks such as Kitty Hawk, the State Capitol Building and Jennette's Pier. With more than 340 feet of track winding in and out of hills and valleys, this 2,200-square-foot, indoor holiday exhibition is sure to delight all ages.
As a special addition to their Friday night Art in the Evening, the North Carolina Museum of Art invites you to bring your kids in their pajamas, and let them stay up late for Holiday Family Friday! In addition to Santa, your kids can create seasonal art in the studios, learn about holiday celebrations across the globe, take a story tour, and enjoy live music performances.
Fun Things to do Inside

Come join Marbles Kids Museum for FutureVet on Saturday. The workshop gives kids the chance to explore careers in pet health, meet a therapy dog and graduate with a FutureVet certificate. Come back Sunday for Science Solvers All About Ants. Tuesday night is also Target $2 Tuesday Night at Marbles.

The North Carolina Museum of Art welcomes you to join them for Family Fun Saturdays and Weekend Family Tours of the Dutch Collection. Saturday afternoon, the Museum also invites you to enjoy a lecture by Dr. Shelley Perlove, a Professor of Art History, entitled Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus.
The North Carolina State Fairgrounds will be hosting a Sportscard and Sports Memorabilia Show.
Parks Offer Outdoor Activities This Weekend

Bundle up, bring the hot chocolate and come out to Eno River State Park Thursday night to enjoy some Winter Stargazing. There will be a short indoor presentation on constellations before you head outside. Come back Saturday morning for some Birdwatching.

The leaves are all gone, but how can you tell trees apart in the winter? Come on out to the American Tobacco Trail Saturday afternoon and take a closer look at Terrific Trees as you explore the bark and buds and make a craft using pressed leaves.
Catch up with the Ranger Roaming around Big Lake. He will be out for an hour or so, with the spotting scope looking for wildlife on and around the lake at Umstead State Park. Umstead Park will also have a Winter Tree ID program on Sunday.
Usher in the winter solstice with a grilling good time at Crowder District Park Wednesday night for Crowder by Night.
Raleigh's Winterfest Ice Rink is open for some holiday fun. Click through for the details. Bundle up Sunday and head Downtown for a Sledding Sunday. will create a winter wonderland with sledding ramps to enjoy.
Historic Yates Mill Pond County Park invites you to participate in the Annual Audubon Society Winter Bird Count.
Come, learn about Occoneechee Mountain's geologic wonders and explore the pyrophyllite quarry with a real geologist on a guided Geology Hike.
Enjoy a guided Nature Hike of the Old Oak Trail at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area Saturday afternoon.
Take a Discovering Deer Walk Saturday at West Point on the Eno and learn how deer survive in an urban environment while you look for evidence of deer throughout the park. Sunday, they invite you to join them when they explore how the natural world has made Winter Preparations.
Winter is an excellent time to canoe Lake Crabtree. Learn about the park's history, wildlife and other interesting features on a Winter Canoe Hike.





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