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December 21st 2018 - January 2nd 2019

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.

Free Fun at Triangle Museums

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 stays open late every Thursday evening for a Science Cafe. December 27th's Science Cafe will be a New Years Science Celebration.

Final Friday on December 28th at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will feature the film Wall-E 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, special drinks 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 $3 Admission and extended hours.

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 20th to 23rd, Yates Mill will be celebrating the Shortest Day. Come explore how cultures all over the world celebrate this day with music, food, and festive good cheer. Take a walk with a naturalist to explore the Winter Wonders Saturday morning or come to the park anytime from December 27th-30th for some Paper Snowflake fun.

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.

Celebrate the first day of winter Friday night on the American Tobacco Trail by taking a Full Moon Hike down the Trail to the Beaver Creek Bridge.

Learn your way around Winter"s Constellations, enjoy hot cocoa, and learn about the mysterious night sky Friday night at Crowder County Park.

Blue Jay Point County Park will be hosting another Serious Skills for Adults on Winter Wonders Saturday, December 29th, Also on the 29th, Bring the whole family to the park to learn Winter Tree ID and be part of an amateur photography contest.

The Triangle's State Parks are still hosting hikes and events through the holidays. Join Occoneechee Mountain Friday, December 21st for an afternoon Solstice Hike.

Eno River State Park invites you and your dog to join them for a December Hike Saturday morning. On Sunday, join a park ranger for a Historic Holiday Sing-A-Long or take a Silent Hike. Come back Saturday, December 29th for 1.5-mile hike along a portion of the Buckquarter Creek Trail. End 2018 with a hike along a portion of the Mountains to Sea Trail on December 30th or take a Last Day Hike on the 31st.

Take a nature walk, receive your own Nature Journal and record your thoughts and observations as we start a new year at Prairie Ridge Ecostation Sunday, December 30th.

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 2019 actually includes two celebrations. The DIY Festival will be held from 2:00pm - 6:00pm culminating with a People's Procession, music by the Boulevards and Diali Cissokho and Kaira Baand an Early Countdown at 7:00pm complete with acorn drop and fireworks. The First Night Raleigh 2019 evening entertainment offers something for everyone and culminates with a repeat concert 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 Down Draft 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 2019 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 hike that will combine beautiful scenery with some history about the park and the community that once lived there.

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 hike will be held at twice.

Come on out to Jordan Lake New Years Day for a morning hike on the Blue Loop Trail or an afternoon hike on the Old Oak Trail.

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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