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December 21st 2017 - January 3rd 2018

by Pam & Michael Davison

The Holidays are here and the New Year is right around the corner! We hope you are enjoying the season with friends, family and parks.

They will celebrate the first day of Winter with the Annual Solstice Celebration Lantern Walk through Hillsborough Thursday evening. Click through for information on the LED lanterns and this years new addition of bells.

Falls Lake says Happy Holidays to You and the Birds Saturday, December 23rd. Head to the park to make bird feeder ornaments to decorate a tree in the park with a wildlife friendly decoration. Come back December 31st to learn about the Animals of Falls Lake.

Come out Thursday or Friday, December 28th & 29th to explore the northern portion of Jordan Lake with a Ranger as you enjoy Winter Wonders.

Join Blue Jay staff Saturday, December 30th for an outdoor adventure hunting winter plants and trees that are Green and on the Scene.

Celebrate the last day of the year with an invigorating 2.2 mile hike at Occoneechee Mountain Sunday, December 31st.

Free Fun at Triangle Musuems

If you have visitors in for the holidays and are looking for fun ways to get out of the house, remember that several of our Triangle Museums offer free admission.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences offers free admission along with several free activities throughout the day including the hands on Discovery room and Meet the Animals.

The Museum will present Shorts from Jackson Hole, a selection of films from this year's Jackson Hole Film Festival on Wednesday night, December 27th. Click through for the four featured films.

The Museum stays open late every Thursday evening for a Science Cafe. This week's Science Cafe's topic is the Internet of Things, a discussion of what it means to live in a networked society. December 28th's Science Cafe will cover Collected Curiosities, peek into some of their 4 million specimens covering 140 years of collecting.

Final Friday on December 29th at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will feature the film Big Hero 6 along with a wide variety of hands on science stations for the whole family.

Right across Bicentennial Plaza, the North Carolina Museum of History offers free admission to both the museum and their special exhibit North Carolina and World War I which runs through January 6th. They have a wide variety of interesting and interactive exhibits. My favorite is the amazing display of North Carolina history from early native settlements through colonization, wars and the civil rights movement. The special exhibit on World War I features 500 artifacts, period photography, a trench diorama, historical film footage, educational interactive components, and video re-enactments.

The North Carolina Museum of Art boasts two gallery buildings and an art trail on a 164 acre campus. Admission is free and every weekend, you are invited to join them for Meet Your Museum Tours and Weekend Family Friendly Tours. Take your kids to the desk at the West Building and check out an "Art in a Tote." Its a fun guided scavenger hunt through the galleries with activities and games to play along the way.

Every Friday evening, they offer Iris after Dark, a evening experience of small plates, extended wine and beer and music.

The City of Raleigh Museum works to collect and care for artifacts, curates exhibits, and provides educational programing that highlight and interpret Raleigh"s history and heritage. Their admission is free (they do gladly take donations). In addition to lots of fun Raleigh artifacts and maps, they often maintain a couple of temporary exhibits.

Marbles Kids Museum does have a $7 admission fee but, its a fabulous destination if you have a house full of kids and its too cold to go outside. The whole museum is hands on, interactive fun! On Thursday afternoons, they offer $2 Admission and extended hours. From December 22nd through January 1st, you can join them for Winter Wonder Weeks and make Fuzzy Fibers, spend some Twinkle Time, and do some Polar Painting.

Enjoy the Winter Sunshine at a Park

Wake County Park has two fabulous historic parks in addition to several parks for active and passive recreation. Historic Yates Mill County Park is a fully restored grist mill. You can learn about the history of the mill in the education center as well as explore the wildlife that lives around the mill pond.

From December 21st to 23rd, the Discovery Table at Yates Mill will delve into how cultures around the world celebrate the Winter Solstice. Field School on December 22nd will give you a glimpse into the Ingalls' Long Winter. From the 29th to the 31st, they will host an Art in the Park project making paper snowflakes. On January 2nd, their Discovery Table will explore New Year Celebrations around the World.

Historic Oak View County Park is a 19th century historic farmstead with a mission to interpret the agricultural heritage and rural history of North Carolina through educational programs, special events, and exhibits. This park offers more than 165 years of farm history combined with recreational opportunities. There is a visitors center with exhibits on agriculture, a cotton barn with exhibits on the cotton gin and the boll weevil, a restored historic home, summer kitchen, tennant farmers home, cotton field, gardens, a fishing pond, pecan groves and even some live goats.

Get Your First Night Raleigh Button

If you want to bring in the New Year with a blast, Downtown Raleigh is where you will want to be! First Night Raleigh 2018 actually includes two celebrations. The DIY Festival will be held from 2:00pm - 6:00pm culminating with a People's Procession, music by the Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble and Cane Mill Road and an Early Countdown at 7:00pm complete with acorn drop and fireworks. The First Night Raleigh 2018 evening entertainment offers something for everyone and culminates with a concert by Holy Ghost Tent Revival and Cane Mill Road and a midnight countdown highlighted by the famous Raleigh Acorn Drop and Fireworks! Both celebrations feature a wide variety of Out of this World entertainment from a ferris wheel, the the Fayetteville F5 amusement ride, theater, comedy, music, dance performances and interactive activities. Click through for the schedule of events and performers as well as information about admission buttons.

Ring in the Noon Year with kids at Marbles at 12:00 noon. Regular admission applies New Years Eve.

Start 2018 Off with a Hike

Each year on January 1st, the Eno River Association sponsors a fun-filled afternoon of guided hikes, refreshments and merriment. This year, the New Year's Day Hike will offer two hike options, a 4-5 mile hike and a shorter, 2 mile route. There will be something for everyone, so come one, come all and enjoy New Year's Day at the Eno!

William B. Umstead State Park is hosting a four mile hike on the Company Mill Trail to celebrate the new year.

Raven Rock State Park hosts an easy 2.6 mile, two-hour First Day Hike to discover some of the natural wonders of this prominent landmark.

Come New Years Day and join a park ranger for a scavenger hunt and hike on the Rolling View Track Trail at Falls Lake State Recreation Area. The hikes will be held at four times throughout the day.

Come on out to Jordan Lake for a First Day Hike and enjoy a beautiful hike with a ranger to the New Hope Overlook.

Cary will host their annual Kwanzaa Celebration on Friday, December 29th Downtown Cary. The theme for this year's celebration is "Peace, Love and Respect...For Everybody" and will feature a performance by the children"s dance group, Kuumba Dance Company.

The State Fairgrounds will host the Raleigh Indoor Holiday Classic December 28th through the 31st. Come get a front row seat to the hunter jumper horse show.


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