2011 National Parks Holiday Celebrations

‘Tis the season! From Alaska to Georgia, there are countless holiday activities to enjoy in America’s national parks. Today, the National Park Foundation, the official charity of American’s national parks, revealed some of the not-to-be-missed holiday festivities to check out this season.

Each year, the National Park Foundation and National Park Service kick-off the holiday season in Washington, D.C.’s President’s Park with the National Christmas Tree Lighting. This year, the National Christmas Tree Lighting can be seen LIVE December 1 at www.thenationaltree.org beginning with the pre-show at 4:30 pm ET. However, in addition to this 89 year-old tradition, there are a plethora of outstanding events national park visitors around the country can participate in.

Alaska – Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park: December 2, 2011, join in the holiday cheer with performances by local talent, sing along carols, stories, poems and refreshments at the Yuletide Christmas Concert in the National Park Service Auditorium.

Colorado – Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site: December 2 and 3, witness the joys, pleasures and pastimes of the 1840s at an isolated trading post with candlelight tours of the fort.

GeorgiaFort Pulaski National Monument: Work off that turkey dinner at the Thanksgiving Field Day. On November 27, Fort Pulaski will commemorate the 149th anniversary of the Grand Thanksgiving Fete and Festival of 1862 by recreating the 48th New York Infantry first Thanksgiving in the fort with activities for all ages including foot, sack and wheelbarrow races, demonstrations and a Civil War garb burlesque parade.

IndianaIndiana Dunes National Lakeshore: On December 10, visitors can take part in Holiday Traditions in the Dunes including activities in four different park locations, tree decorating and a live performance from Nordic Kids.

Iowa – Herbert Hoover National Historic Site: December 2 through December 4, the birthplace of Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States, will host “A Christmas Past” events.

Louisiana – Cane River Creole National Historical Park: Stop by the Magnolia Plantation Overseer’s house on December 10 for Christmas crafts and live music by the LaCour Trio. The whole plantation complex will be open for self guided tours.

Missouri – Jefferson National Expansion Memorial: Come out and enjoy the 2011 Historic Holiday Traditions Weekend Series on December 3, December 10 and December 17. The Historical Old Courthouse will feature music and activities that will take place in the rotunda, which will be adorned beautifully with Victorian decorations. Complimentary cookies and juice will be served during all weekend events.

Montana – Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site: On December 4, explore the elegant Kohrs’ family ranch house. It will be decorated to reflect a Victorian Christmas.

Nebraska – : Homestead National Monument of AmericaFrom November 25 through December 31, the Winter Festival of Prairie Cultures celebrates the winter traditions of people who lived on the Great Plains during the homesteading era.

New Mexico – Petroglyph National Monument: On November 26, visitors can celebrate the beginning of the 2011 winter season at a Holiday Open House at the Visitor Center. Light holiday refreshments will also be served. A traditional horno oven Pueblo Indian bread baking demonstration will take place.

New York – Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site: Visit the Vanderbilt Mansion from November 25 to December 21 to view the holiday decorations; or kick off the holiday season at the special Holiday Open House on December 4.

Ohio – Cuyahoga Valley National Park: Journey to the North Pole on The Polar Express Children’s Holiday Train November 17 through December 20. Enjoy hearing a reading of The Polar Express en route to the North Pole. Passengers are encouraged to wear their pajamas. Cookies and hot chocolate are served.

Pennsylvania – Steamtown National Historic Site: Join in the merriment and festivities aboardthe steam-powered “Holiday Express” rides to Moscow, Pennsylvania on November 23, 24 and December 1. Enjoy holiday songs, stories and other fun activities for the childrenat both the former passenger station and freight depots.

Utah – Golden Spoke National Historic Site: From December 28 – 30, visitors can take part in the annual Winter Steam Festival and watch one of their locomotives in action, as well as at rest in the same spot where the transcontinental railroad was completed over 142 years ago.

WashingtonFort Vancouver National Historic Site: Friday evenings through mid-December visitors take park in a guided lantern tour through the Fur Store, the Counting House, and Bake House. You will learn what activities would have occurred once the sun set at Fort Vancouver

Washington, D.C. The White House and President’s Park: After kicking off the holiday season with The National Christmas Tree Lighting on December 1st, visitors are invited to Santa’s Workshop to meet Santa and his elves and enjoy holiday music performances throughout the month of December.

For more information on these and any other events happening in America’s national parks, please visit www.nps.gov.

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