Fairfax County Park Authority December Calendar of Events

Through Thursday, December 31 – except Tuesdays

Festive Sully

Experience the main house at Sully Historic Site decorated for a 19th century season of celebration, and relive the 1885 holiday memories of a young Sully visitor seeing the tree decorated in Victorian splendor. The house is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, except Tuesdays. Reservations are required for groups of 15 or more. The cost is $7 for adults, $6 for students, $5 for seniors and children. For more information, call 703-437-1794703-437-1794.

 

Wednesdays, December 2 & 16

Pohick Puddle Jumpers

The youngest nature lovers can now become Pohick Rangers at Hidden Pond Nature Center. Children age three to six can be part of this season’s exploration of the natural world, hands-on and up close from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Indoor and outdoor activities will include investigation of the Pohick Stream Valley or areas surrounding the pond. Topics vary weekly. The cost is $7 per child. For more information, call 703-451-9588703-451-9588.

 

Wednesday, December 2 & Sunday, December 20

Technology Tour at Walney

Join Ellanor C. Lawrence Park historians and learn about the types of technology the Machen family used to improve their lives in the 1800s. In this new and exciting walking tour from 2 to 3 p.m., see the changes the Machens made to the land and the types of technology we use in its place. The tour is suitable for those ages six to adult. The cost is $5 per person. Call 703-631-0013703-631-0013.

 

Fridays, December 4, 11 & 18

Rockhounders – Fall Series

The popular summer camp at Hidden Pond Nature Center is now a fall series for children ages 6 to 12. This hands-on approach to geology includes rock/mineral classification, plate tectonics, fossils and collecting. Sessions meet from 4:30 to       5:30 p.m. Topics vary each week. The cost is $7 per child. For more information, call 703-451-9588703-451-9588.

 

Saturday, December 5 & Sunday, December 6

Burke Lake Winter Wonderland

Celebrate the season with a train ride on the Holiday Express at Burke Lake’s Winter Wonderland. Enjoy a tour on the U.S.S. Reindeer, take a spin on the Carolers Carousel, experience the Snowman’s Wagon Ride, play Gingerbread Man’s Golf, or warm yourself by the fire and toast s’mores. Visit with Santa, enjoy hot chocolate, spiced cider and candy canes. Passes can be purchased in advance for $15 through December 4; $20 at the gate until 2 p.m. Buy one or more items at a time on the day of the event until 2:30 p.m. or while supplies last. Call 703- 323-6600703- 323-6600.

 

38th Annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Show

Shop at one of Northern Virginia’s largest holiday shows, and find the perfect gift for everyone on your list at Audrey Moore RECenter. Top-quality handmade arts and crafts will be offered by nearly 120 of the area’s finest artisans. Admission is $2 per person; children ages 12 and under are free. Door prizes will be awarded. Shop from 9 a.m. to    4 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. For information, call 703-321-7081703-321-7081.

 

Saturday, December 5

Children’s Holiday Shopping

Children get to do their own gift shopping during the annual Children’s Holiday Shopping Day at Frying Pan Farm Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers help children shop for everybody on their holiday list. The Country Store stocks many unique items in all price ranges. Free wrapping assures surprises for family and friends. No reservations are required. Meet at the Old Floris School House. For more information, call 703-437-9101703-437-9101.

 

Winter Wreath Workshop

Create a beautiful, winter wreath after Green Spring staff demonstrate the dazzling possibilities. Greens, forms, ribbon and cones are included in the $25 supply fee. The Green Spring Gardens workshop runs from 10 a.m. to noon, and is designed for those 14 and older. The cost is $38. Please register for both the program and supply fee. For more information, call 703-642-5173703-642-5173.

 

Holidays on the Home Front

Growing up in the WWII era was hard. Families sent care packages and letters to soldiers, planted victory gardens and helped ration food through creative recipes.  Plant a seed for a victory garden, write a letter to a soldier, make a 1940s-era ornament and learn about ration recipes at this event at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park from 2 to 4 p.m. The cost is $12 per person, and the program is designed for those ages eight to adult. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult. For more information, call 703-631-0013703-631-0013.

 

Christmas Treasure Hunt, Santa & Fun

Gather holiday treats, go on a treasure hunt and earn a special prize at Sully Historic Site from 1 to 3 p.m. Make ornaments for your ‘critter friends’ and yourself, and relax with refreshments. This event is designed for those five and older. The cost is $5 for adults and $10 per child. Weather-permitting take a ride on the Santa Express trackless train for an additional $3. Call 703-437-1794703-437-1794.

 

Winter Wonder Campfire

Bundle up and discover how animals acclimate for surviving winter at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Meet some exhibit animals and find out their strategies. Enjoy s’mores by the campfire. This program is for age four to adult and runs from 5 to 6 p.m.The cost is $6 per person. Call 703-631-0013703-631-0013.

 

Dr. Seuss: If I Ran the Nature Center…

What if Dr. Seuss wrote about running a nature center instead of a zoo? What would you do? Create your own book at Hidden Oaks Nature Center and find out how local wildlife has fantastical abilities, too. The program runs from 2 to 3:15 p.m. and is designed for ages four to adult. The cost is $7 per person, and children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call 703-941-1065703-941-1065.

 

Leave No Trace Awareness Workshop

Participants receive introductory training in the Leave No Trace outdoor skills and ethics program, which is applicable to all outdoor enthusiasts and all environments. This workshop at Riverbend Park runs from 9 a.m. to noon, and topics include the underlying concept of minimum impact recreation and the seven principles of Leave No Trace. The workshop is designed for those ages 8 to 16. The cost is $10 per person. For more information, please call 703-759-9018703-759-9018.

 

Campfire Saturdays: Royal Lake-Fall

Bring the family to an evening campfire from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Royal Lake.  Explore the woodlands and lakefront spots where wildlife hides and resides, guided by a naturalist.  Programs end with a cozy campfire and s’mores. Topics vary each week. This program is for participants age three to adult. The cost is $8 per person. Meet in front of the tennis courts. Call 703-451-9588703-451-9588.

 

Sundays, December 6 & 13

Christmas at the Farm

Enjoy a special holiday visit and take a wagon ride with Santa through the woods and fields at Frying Pan Farm Park. Activities for those two and older include a holiday craft, cookie decorating and puppet show. The hour-long program runs at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day. The cost is $8 per person. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult. Dress for the weather. For more information, please call 703-437-9101703-437-9101.

 

Sunday, December 6

Deck the Halls

Tour the house at Sully Historic Site with a focus on holiday decorations — the history, style and materials. Create your own wreath to take home using cuttings from the historic property, and before you leave, enjoy hot cider and cookies. The program is designed for those ages 12 to adult and runs twice – from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 to  4 p.m. The cost is $20 per person. For more information, call 703-437-1794703-437-1794.

 

Brownies and Birds

Teens and tweens enjoy a brief presentation at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park on varying topics about wild birds while munching on some brownies. A naturalist then leads a hike to varied habitats to search for wild birds. The event runs from 2 to   3:30 p.m., and is just right for those age 11 to 17. The cost is $7 per person. Dress for the weather and bring binoculars, if you own a pair. For more information, call 703-631-0013703-631-0013

 

Stream Side Salamanders

Yes, even in winter we can find salamanders at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Northern dusky and two-lined salamanders are active all year, so join us for a hike to a nearby stream from 1 to 2 p.m. to search for salamanders. This program is right for participants age eight and older, and the cost is $5 per person. For more information, about the program call 703-631-0013703-631-0013.

 

Making Nature Gifts Workshop

Parents can enjoy shopping at the mall from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. while their children, ages five to ten, make gifts and wrap them for their families at Hidden Oaks Nature Center. The kids will also enjoy a range of activities from meeting live animals, to watching 16mm movies, to seeing a puppet show. Bring a snack. The supply fee is included in the $15 cost per child. For more information, call 703-941-1065703-941-1065.

 

Gardeners’ Holiday: Puppet Show and Open House

Treat yourself to a day of holiday fun at Green Spring Gardens from noon to 4 p.m. There’s a little something for everyone: See holiday decorations and seasonal displays, enjoy holiday music, stroll the gift shop and more. Please register in advance for the puppet shows at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The cost of the show is $3 per person.  This festive day is for gardeners of all ages, individuals and families. For more information, call 703-642-5173703-642-5173.

 

Mondays, December 7 & 14

Little Acorns-Fall

Preschoolers two to three years old and their accompanying adult begin sharing nature’s wonders in this interactive class at Hidden Oaks Nature Center. Experiences include finger plays, stories, activities and, weather permitting, an outdoor exploration. Dress for the weather! Sessions run from 9:45 to 10:30 a.m. and 11 to 11:45 a.m. The topic on December 7 is Wiley Woodpeckers, and on December 14 the topic is Animals Getting Ready for Winter. The cost is $6 per child. For more information, call 703-941-1065703-941-1065.

 

Mondays, December 7 & 21

Nature Quest-Fall

Be a part of the long-running naturalist program at Hidden Pond Nature Center that’s designed for explorers age three to seven. From field to stream and everything in between, children learn about many local animal species, hands-on and in the field from 10 to 11 a.m. Topics vary each week. The cost is $7 per child. For more information about this program call 703-451-9588703-451-9588.

 

Thursday, December 10; Friday, December 11; and Sunday, December 13

Candlelight Tea: A Plum Pudding Christmas

Come to Green Spring Gardens and learn about the famous and often misunderstood Christmas pudding – also known as plum or figgy pudding – that generations of carolers have demanded. Enjoy a serving of this ancient and delicious tradition of the British Christmas table and take home a festive favor bag. The program runs from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and includes a traditional English tea served in the 1784 historic house. This program is suited to those ages 13 to adult. The cost is $45 per person. Reservations are required. For more information, call 703-941-7987703-941-7987.

 

Thursday, December 10

Kids Korner-Fall

Preschool children three to six years old explore nature or history once a month from 1 to 2 p.m. at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. An outdoor activity and a craft are included, in the fun and topics vary each month. The topic in December is butter. Children must be accompanied by an adult. The cost is $5 per child. For more information about the program please call 703-631-0013703-631-0013.

 

Saturdays, December 12 & 26

Flying Squirrels: Gliding in Tonight

Join the naturalist calling in these amazing gliders of the night and look for flying squirrels at roosting boxes near the Hidden Oaks Nature Center from 5 to 6 p.m. Learn how you can encourage flying squirrels to visit your yard. This program is appropriate for participants age four to adult. The cost is $6 per person. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult. For more information, call 703-941-1065703-941-1065.

 

Saturday, December 12

Holidays at Walney Farm

Celebrate the winter holidays with the Machen family at Walney Farm at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Learn about the gifts and foods of an 1850 Virginia farm. Create your own historic holiday ornament. Enjoy hot apple cider and baked treats. This holiday celebration runs from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and is for those two to adult. The cost is $8 per person. For more information, call 703-631-0013703-631-0013.

 

Caroling Wagon Ride & Campfire

Oh, Cedar Tree! Join us in song and exploration on a wagon ride through the cedars at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. These evergreen trees are a part of Virginia holiday festivities and wildlife winter survival. Warm up and roast marshmallows at the campfire. Wagon rides depart at 2:30, 3 and     3:30 p.m. This event is appropriate for participants age two to adult. The cost is $3, and children must be accompanied by a registered adult. For more information, call 703-631-0013703-631-0013.

 

Holiday Horse Drawn Hayrides & Campfire

Enjoy holiday music and merriment on a horse-drawn wagon ride through Lake Accotink Park. Warm up with seasonal treats available for purchase at our snack bar, and settle in to share stories around a toasty campfire. Also visit with Santa and tell him what’s on your wish list. Dress for the weather and plan on a brisk walk from the parking lot.  Horse-drawn hayride seating is limited. A tractor-pulled wagon will be available once seats on the horse-drawn wagon are sold out. Hayrides start at noon and run every 20 minutes until 3 p.m. The fee of $12 per person includes a seat on the horse-drawn wagon and a visit with Santa in the pavilion. Children two and under are free with a paying adult. For more information, please call 703-569-3464703-569-3464.

 

Saturday, December 12

Civil War by Candlelight

Experience a Civil War Christmas as Confederate soldiers cook dinner in the field and fire the Christmas guns at Sully Historic Site. Family members five and older can enjoy music by Evergreen Shade, make a 19th century holiday decoration, and sample hot cider and homemade cookies. Tours begin at 4:45 with a new tour starting every 15 minutes. The last tour starts at    7 p.m. Please register online. The cost is $10 per person.  For more information, call 703-437-1794703-437-1794.

 

Holiday Ice Skating Show Returns to Mt. Vernon REC

Watch talented figure skaters show off their moves at Mount Vernon RECenter’s Holiday Ice Show. The RECenter’s most experienced skaters, as well as beginners of all ages, will perform from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Admission is free for this popular neighborhood event. Mount Vernon’s ice rink is the only publicly-owned ice arena in the area and plays host to public skating sessions, hockey leagues, camps and  “cool” parties For more information about this facility, please contact Carl Kirtley at 703-768-3224703-768-3224.

 

Stargazing

Enjoy a stroll along the shores at Burke Lake from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and learn about the constellations, their stories and other night-sky features. Our astronomical naturalist identifies the stars for you and has some telescopes on hand for you to try out. The program concludes with a campfire. S’more ingredients are provided, and hot dogs are welcome. This event is for ages three to adult. The cost is $8 per person. Children must be accompanied by a paid, registered adult. Call 703-323-6600703-323-6600.

 

Boardwalk Astronomy

What’s new in the night sky? Join naturalists at Huntley Meadows Park as they take you on a tour of constellations, comets and other current events happening in the heavens above from 6 to         7:30 p.m. This event is appropriate for participants age 12 to adult. The cost is $6 per person. For more information, call 703-768-2525703-768-2525.

 

Astronomy Festival

Come to the Astronomy Festival at Riverbend Park from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and enjoy activities including guided stargazing and looking through a telescope. Gather ‘round the campfire to hear ancient stories about the constellations and participate in other activities and games throughout the evening. Hot chocolate and snacks will be available for purchase. This event will be canceled in case of rain or snow. The cost is $6 online and $7 at the door. Call 703-759-9018703-759-9018 for information.

 

Ride the Holiday Train at Lake Fairfax

Take a ride on Resources Railroad Engine #62.  Santa stops by the park to visit with you.  See the lighted Christmas tree and inflatable seasonal decorations, and make a holiday project to take home. Gather around the campfire to hear holiday music and enjoy warm drinks and treats from the food vendor. This event runs from noon to 6 p.m. and is ideal for those ages three to adult. The cost is $10 per person. For more information about this program , call 703-471-5414703-471-5414.

 

Family Fun: Holiday Craft Party

Join us from 1 to 3 p.m. for an afternoon of holiday crafts and activities in our festive Horticulture Center at Green Spring Gardens. Make custom greeting cards and create nature-inspired ornaments to give or display. Listen to stories of celebrations around the world as you enjoy tea and cookies. This party is for participants age five to adult. The cost is $12 per person. All participants must register. For more information,  about this program please call 703-642-5173703-642-5173.

 

Santa at the Mill

Enjoy old-fashioned family holiday fun at Colvin Run Mill. Visit Santa in the mill, and see the Christmas tree trimmed with Victorian decorations. Join the costumed 49th Virginia Volunteer Infantry caroling around a bonfire. Roast marshmallows, and make a family craft. This event runs from 3 to  6 p.m. and is ideal for those ages three to adult. The cost is $5 per person, and no reservations are required. For more information, call 703-759-2771703-759-2771.

 

Sunday, December 13

Christmas in the Time of Jane Austen

See how the traditional 12 days of Christmas were celebrated at the turn of the 19th century at Sully Historic Site.  Elegant dancing, rich foods and travel made the season exciting. Learn the latest dance steps, make a holiday decoration, and take home a recipe for a “great cake.” See cooking in the open hearth and sample sugar cakes and cider. These tours are designed for participants age five to adult. Tours begin at 4:45 with a new tour starting every 15 minutes. The last begins at  7 p.m. Please register online. The cost is $10 per person. For more information, call 703-437-1794703-437-1794.

 

Workshop: Pinecone Wreath

Fashion a wreath of mixed pinecones and nuts at Green Spring Gardens that will add rustic charm for the holidays and last for years. Designer Chuck Mason will lead you through the project from 2 to  4 p.m. and show you how to display the wreath indoors or on your front door. The cost of this workshop only for adults is $38, and there is a $25 fee for supplies. Please register for the program and supply fee. For more information, please     call 703-642-5173703-642-5173.

 

Hands-on History

Drop off your children at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. and let them travel back in time with a costumed interpreter to explore the lives of 19th century children. Various activities include games, penmanship, washing clothes and making a food item such as butter, ice cream, cheese or applesauce. This event is right for kids age four to nine. The cost is $12 per child. For more information, call 703-631-0013703-631-0013.

 

Squirrel’s Nutcracker Tea Party

Enjoy the sounds of the season at Hidden Oaks Nature Center as your family enjoys a puppet show starring a gray squirrel who dreams of a nutcracker. Learn some fun facts about this most common and curious creature as you sip sugarplum tea and munch gingerbread treats at the sit-down tea. The tea party runs from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. and is just right for everyone ages four to adult. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult. The cost is $15 per person. For more information, call 703-941-1065703-941-1065.

 

Tuesday, December 15

Animal Feeding at the Nature Center

It is dinner time at Hidden Pond Nature Center, and worms and insects are on the menu.  Help our naturalist care for and feed the nature center’s animals from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. This program is suitable for participants three to adult. The cost is $5 per person. For information, call 703-451-9588703-451-9588.

 

Wednesday, December 16

Nature Tots: Fall

Bring your two- or three-year-old to explore nature through sight, sound, smell and touch at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. The program runs from 10:15 to 11 a.m. and includes indoor and outdoor activities. The topic for December is the five senses. An adult must be able to participate with children. The cost is $4 per child. Please call 703-631-0013703-631-0013 for info.

 

Saturday, December 19

Victorian Candlelight Tour

Participants five and older will enjoy Victorian-era traditions as you meet Sully’s Santa, hear a reading of A Visit from St. Nicholas and see the Christmas tree decorated according to an 1885 memory. Make a tree decoration based on a Victorian original, see Sully’s own puppet show and enjoy cider and sugar cakes.  Tours begin at 4:45 with a new tour starting every 15 minutes. The last tour begins at 7 p.m. The cost is $10 per person. Please register online. For more information, call 703-437-1794703-437-1794.

 

Animal Scientists

Drop-off your six to ten-year-old child for an hour of animal adventure and fun at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Whether hiking the forest, examining pond creatures, or meeting exhibit animals, children investigate and discover first-hand animal biology, adaptation, habitats and roles in the larger ecosystem from 3 to 4 p.m. Feel free to repeat the program as specific topics vary. The cost is $5 per child. For more information, call 703-631-0013703-631-0013.

 

Saturday, December 19

65th Anniversary Party and Puppet Show

Our 65th anniversary wraps up with FREE a Holiday Party and Puppet Show at the Visitor Center at Frying Pan Farm Park, beginning at 10 a.m. See the “Crooning with the Critters” interactive musical puppet show at 10:45 a.m., pet live farm animals outside,  meet officials and enjoy hot cocoa, cider and cookies inside.  The event is free however  donations will support Frying Pan Farm Park summer camp scholarships. For more information, call 703-324-8662703-324-8662.

 

Feeding Day

Join a naturalist and youth volunteers as we demonstrate how we feed our site display animals at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park from 2 to 3 p.m. You can make a birdfeeder to take home and use. Search for worms and insects, and assist in serving dinner. The program is suitable for those ages two to adult. The cost is $5 per person. Please register an adult with your child. For more information, call 703-631-0013703-631-0013.

 

Owl Outing

These nocturnal raptors are pair-bonding and looking for nesting sites this time of year. You can prowl Huntley Meadows Park from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. to listen for and learn about our local owls, and possibly see a barred owl. Meet at the Visitor Center. Dress for the weather and standing off trail. This program is for adults, and the cost is $7 per person. Call 703-768-2525703-768-2525 for information.

 

Campfire Saturdays: Lake Accotink – Fall

Join us at Lake Accotink Park for an evening campfire for the whole family from 7 to 8:30 p.m. You can explore the woodlands and lakefront spots where wildlife hides and resides, guided by a naturalist. Programs end with a cozy campfire, and s’mores are provided. Topics vary. Meet at the marina. The cost is $8 per person. For more information, call 703-569-3464703-569-3464.

 

Tuesday, December 22

Winter Wonderland Puppet Show

Bring your holiday guests and join master puppeteer Bob Brown in a holiday production of Winter Wonderland at Frying Pan Farm Park. Join the lively marionettes as they frolic in a magical winter wonderland of snow. After the show, stroll the Park and visit our animals or shop at the Country Store. The 40-minute show runs at 10 and 11:30 a.m. This event is ideal for those ages two and older. The cost is $5 per person, and children must be accompanied by a paid, registered adult. For more information, call 703-437-9101703-437-9101.

 

Wednesday, December 30

Holiday Concerts

In their annual holiday visit to Sully, IONA treats its audience to traditional Celtic music blending songs, dance turns and aires in a lively and entertaining presentation. The performance features multiple fiddling styles, dynamic dancing, driving percussion and strong vocals from all the Celtic nations. Shows will be held at 1 and 2 p.m. A house tour is included in the $12 cost, and refreshments will be served in the 18th century kitchen. Seating is limited. The program is ideal for those ages five to adult. For more information, call 703-437-1794703-437-1794.

 

Thursday, December 31

New Year’s Eve Fireside Movie at the Mill

Dorothy Radford remade Cabell’s Mill into a community gathering place in the 1930s. Ring in the New Year early at the mill and learn more about this intriguing woman. Enjoy pizza, popcorn and a crackling fire as you watch the child-friendly 1939 animated movie Gulliver’s Travels. Finish the evening with a toast of sparkling cider. The event is appropriate for participants age four to adult and runs from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The cost is $8 per person. Please register an accompanying adult with children. For more information, call 703-631-0013703-631-0013.

 

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