Bundle Up for the Winter Solstice!

The days are getting shorter, colder, and darker over here in the Northern Hemisphere, meaning that winter is rearing its frosty head as summer makes it warm descent in the Southern Hemisphere. As we prepare for the holiday season, while bundling inside our jackets and stuffing gloved hands into pockets, we have to throw some acknowledgement toward the winter solstice, which falls on December 22.

The sun during the winter solstice.

Image: http://apod.nasa.gov/

The winter solstice is the shortest day and longest night here in the North due to the way the Earth tilts on its axis. The solstices have been a point of celebration in the past, and there’s no reason to let the tradition go now. Often the winter solstice was used to guide mating animals as well as monitor winter crop reserves. There were also many cultural traditions that came from it, such as Stonehenge and Newgrange where the primary axes of both align with the winter solstice sunrise.  Here are some state park events you can attend to give winter a warm welcome.

Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, North Carolina

Head to the Sunset Overlook on December 22 at 5 p.m. to watch the sun set on the shortest day of the year! Park officials will discuss the relationship between the sun and Earth, basic astronomy, and space weather. Plus you’ll get to see some pretty astounding views during it.

Find more info here.

Devil’s Lake State Park, Wisconsin

People around a campfire in the winter.

Now doesn’t that look cozy? [Image: http://www.tagishwildernesslodge.com/]

Warm up alongside a crackling campfire and roast some marshmallows to celebrate the arrival of the winter solstice. Is there anything better than huddling close to your friends and loved ones while telling campfire stories on the first day of winter? The answer you’re probably looking for is, “No,” so make sure to be there on December 19.

Find more info here.

McKinney Falls State Park, Texas

A lunchtime celebration around a campfire on December 20 is the perfect way to welcome winter to the North! You’ll get your fill of wintertime stories plus join the rangers as they burn a yule log. Seasonally appropriate and lots of fun!

Find more info here.

Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve, New York

The longest night of the year is a great time to learn about nocturnal animals, which is exactly what you can do at Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve! The event runs from 5 p.m. until 6:30 p.m on December 22.

Find more info here.

Lake Perris State Recreation Area, California

People dressed in costumes ice skating.

It’s the winter solstice—let’s get weird. [Image: https://www.liveriga.com/]

State parks are great for kids to learn and explore at, which is exactly what they can do at the Ya’i Heki’ Regional Indian Museum on December 19. The event is for children ages 7–12, and will help them learn all about the first day of winter.

Find out more info here.

Hopefully these events have you ready to don your winter clothes and head out to a local park in search of a solstice celebration. Once you get there, make sure you use your Pocket Ranger® mobile apps to help you explore more!

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