December 2012 Calendar for Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites

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December 2012 Events – Divided By Region

NORTHERN GEORGIA

 

Festival of Trees

Saturday, December 1 through Saturday, December 8, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Unicoi State Park and Lodge – Helen

View beautifully decorated trees throughout Unicoi Lodge, and then enjoy a meal in our cozy restaurant. This event is sponsored by the White County Chamber of Commerce. $5 parking. 800-573-9659 ext. 305. 

 

Pulmonary Fibrosis 5K Run/Walk

Saturday, December 1, 9 a.m.

Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge – Dawsonville

Runners and walkers can join this fundraiser in honor of Victor Maret to help find a cure and raise awareness for Pulmonary Fibrosis. Register in advance. $25 plus $5 parking. (888) 222-8541. 

 

Geo-caching Adventure

Saturday, December 1 through Sunday, December 2, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Cloudland Canyon State Park – Rising Fawn

You’ve heard of it, you’ve considered trying it, here is your chance. Find out how Geo-caching works and what you need to get started then try out a few sample caches hidden in easy location. When you’re ready for more, get the info for the official state park cache. $5 parking. (706) 657-4050.

 

Spice Up the Holidays for your Health

Saturday, December 1, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Smithgall Woods State Park – Helen

Enjoy the aroma of cinnamon wafting from a pot of apple cider. Explore traditional and modern uses of common holiday spices like cinnamon and ginger for medicinal purposes. This class is a treat for the senses. Take home a tea preparation for yourself or a gift. $20 if paid before November 17 or $25 after. $5 parking. (706) 878-3087. 

 

Deck the Halls

Saturday, December 1, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Unicoi State Park and Lodge – Helen

This holiday celebration includes making holiday crafts, hayrides (weather permitting) and live music in the beautiful decorated lodge. $5 parking. 800-573-9659 ext. 305.

 

Christmas Candlelight Tour

Saturday, December 1, 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

New Echota Historic Site – Calhoun

Luminaries will light the pathways, traditional decorations will welcome visitors to the historic buildings and Christmas carols, hot apple cider, refreshments and Christmas cheer will kick off the holiday season at the historic Cherokee Capital. Grab your candle lantern and dress for the weather as we welcome in the holiday season. 3/4 mile walk required to see all buildings. $5-$7. (706) 624-1321.

 

Toy Trot 5K Trail Run/Walk

Saturday, December 1, 2 p.m.

Fort Yargo State Park – Winder

This 5K Run/Walk race is being held by Walton-Barrow Board of Realtors to benefit the “Shop With A Cop” program for needy children. Race/Walk start at 2pm. Contact Donna Sanders 706-215-3893 or DonnaSanders05@bellsouth.net $5 parking. (706) 215-3893.

 

10K and 5K Trail Running Race

Saturday, December 1

Victoria Bryant State Park – Royston

Lace up your shoes and join this race. Register at www.dirtyspokes.com. $5 parking. (706) 245-6270.

 

Christmas Open House

Saturday, December 8, 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge – Dawsonville

Enjoy musical performances and meet our visiting artists. Kids can join the park’s volunteers in the craft room to make seasonal ornaments to take home. View gingerbread house creations and vote for your favorite. Get cozy by the fire and visit with Santa, then wind down with a holiday story or two. $5 parking. (706) 265-1969.

 

Christmas for Travelers

Saturday, December 8, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Travelers Rest Historic Site – Toccoa

Visitors will enjoy live music and period dances by the 1860s Civilian Society. Craft demonstrators will show their skills in blacksmithing, knitting, crocheting, spinning and more — all in an 1800s seasonal setting created by the Friends of Traveler’s Rest. Cider and tea cakes are served. $2.50-$4.00 (706) 356-4362.

 

Christmas Tree Lighting

Saturday, December 8, 4 p.m.

Vogel State Park – Blairsville

Join us for the tree lighting, caroling, hayrides, Santa Claus visit, bonfires, hot chocolate and cider. Also help support the “Give A Gift Toy Drive” sponsored by the Union County Sheriff’s Department, bring an unwrapped gift for kids of 0-12 years of age. No toy guns, knives or dangerous items. (706) 745-2628.

 

Dahlonega Gold Museum Christmas Open House

Sunday, December 9, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site – Dahlonega

Enjoy living history demonstrations in the lower lodge lobby. Explore the magic of handmade folk toys, and try your hand at churning butter. Reservations required for the lodge’s very popular Thanksgiving Buffet. $5 parking. (706) 344-1505.

 

Cherokee Christmas by Candlelight

Friday, December 14 through Saturday, December 15, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Chief Vann House Historic Site – Chatsworth

In 1805, Cherokee Chief James Vann opened his new brick mansion to the Moravian missionaries to hold one of the first Christmas celebrations in the Cherokee Nation. To honor this tradition, visitors are invited to enjoy the sights and sounds of a 19th century Christmas in one of America’s best-preserved Cherokee Indian homes. $3.50–$6.00. (706) 695-2598.

 

Fun at the Fort

Saturday, December 15, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Fort Yargo State Park – Winder

Experience a picturesque and fascinating historic site within the state park, while learning about life in the late 1700s. Tours includes various interactive activities and educational opportunities. $3 plus $5 parking. (770) 867-3489.

 

Carols Through The Park

Saturday, December 15, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Victoria Bryant State Park – Royston

What’s better than Christmas Parties? How about Caroling Hayrides, Homemade Ornaments & Sugar Cookies? Caroling Through the Park will have that and much more. It will be $1 per person for the hayride, $5 per photo for Pictures With Santa. $5 parking. (706) 245-6270.

 

Holi-Day Camp for Juniors

Tuesday, December 18, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Smithgall Woods State Park – Helen

Kids, give your parents time to buy more presents while you enjoy almost winter in the great outdoors. Outdoor playtime is mixed with indoor craft-time to keep noses warm and spirits high. Kids ages 6-8. Register in advance. $25 or $30 if paid after December 4. $5 parking. (706) 878-3087.

 

Holi-Day Camp ll

Wednesday, December 19 through Thursday, December 20, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Smithgall Woods State Park – Helen

Finding the Yule Log in the woods has become part of the Holi-Day Camp tradition. Kids ages 9-12 can enjoy a bit of fun and skill in orienteering, along with learning about Appalachian holiday traditions and more. Advance registration required. $45 for both days or $55 if paid after December 5. (706) 878-3087.

 

 

 

COASTAL GEORGIA

 

31st Annual Plantation Christmas

Saturday, December 1, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation Historic Site – Brunswick

This magical experience will demonstrate how Christmas was celebrated on a Southern rice plantation during the 1850s. Take a candlelit stroll down the old carriage road and enjoy candlelit tours of an antebellum plantation house, hot wassail and cookies, Civil War reenactors, Christmas carols and a special appearance by Santa Claus. $4-$7. (912) 264-7333.

 

Sunset Swamp Tour on Billy’s Lake

Saturday, December 1, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Stephen C. Foster State Park – Fargo

Watch the sunset, listen to owls, see bats fly overhead and observe herons coming in to roost. Once the sun goes down, see the stars come out and catch a glimpse of our neighboring planets. We’ll even look for alligator eyes to glow red. $15 – $20 plus $5 Refuge Fee. (912) 637-5274.

 

Colonial Christmas at Fort King George

Saturday, December 8, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Fort King George Historic Site – Darien

Join the garrison for a traditional dinner in the soldier’s barracks and an evening of colonial-style Yule Tide jollification. $35 for dinner. Reservations required. (912) 437-4770.

 

Winter Muster & Battle at Fort McAllister

Saturday, December 8, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Fort McAllister Historic Park – Richmond Hill

Watch Confederate troops prepare for their final battle. The fort will be open with the battle taking place around 5pm. A self-guided tour will be held right after the battle at which time visitors will learn about the destruction of war. $3.75-$6.50 (912) 727-2339.

 

A Colonial Christmas at Fort Morris

Saturday, December 8, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Fort Morris Historic Site – Midway

Get away from the over commercialization of the holidays and visit Fort Morris for a more peaceful celebration. Join park staff for colonial refreshments, a yule log, bonfire, 18th century music, caroling, dance and firing of the Christmas guns. (912) 884-5999.

 

Colonial Christmas at Wormsloe

Sunday, December 9, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Wormsloe Historic Site – Savannah

Participate in activities such as caroling, burning of the yule log, dancing to live period music, and other holiday observances of the colonial period, including games and refreshments. $4.50-$8. (912) 353-3023.

 

Fun at the Fort

Saturday, December 15, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Fort Yargo State Park – Winder

Experience a picturesque and fascinating historic site within the state park, while learning about life in the late 1700′s. Fun for the whole family; tours includes various interactive activities and educational opportunities. $3 plus $5 parking. (770) 867-3489.

 

Luminary Night with Santa

Saturday, December 15, 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Skidaway Island State Park – Savannah

Bring your children and pets for pictures with Santa. Enjoy a walk along our enchanted luminary trail and take a hayride around the park. Sip on hot chocolate while decorating cookies and making holiday crafts. $2 – $5 photos and hayrides. $5 parking. (912) 598-2300.

 

 

 

SOUTHERN & CENTRAL GEORGIA

 

Atlanta Audubon Beginners Bird Walk

Saturday, December 1, 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge

This field trip is designed for anyone interested in learning more about birds, habitats critical to some species, and organizations like the Audubon Society which are dedicated to bird conservation. Meet at the Park Office/Trading Post. $5 parking. (706) 557-3001.

 

Winter Tree ID

Saturday, December 1, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge

Winter can be a great time to learn “Bark and Buds” of our native trees. Join a Park Ranger on this Guided walk of the Brantley Nature Trail and discover how much fun learning winter trees can be. Meet at the Park Office/Trading Post, space is limited, please pre-register for this event. 5 plus $5 parking. (706) 557-3001.

 

Pearl Harbor Remembered

Saturday, December 1, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Roosevelt’s Little White House Historic Site – Warm Springs

We will not forget those who served our country in WW II. FDR portrayer will deliver the Declaration of War, Kellys Zeroes, a living history group, will display equipment used by soldiers during WWII. $8-$12. (706) 655-5870.

 

Support our Troops with Care Packages: Operation Heartfelt

Saturday, December 1, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Roosevelt’s Little White House Historic Site – Warm Springs

We are collecting care package items with Operation Stars and Stripes for those soldiers who don’t receive packages from home. $8-$12. (706) 655-5870.

 

Archery Explorer Train Ride

Saturday, December 1, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Saturday, December 8, 2:45 p.m. – 10:25 p.m.

SAM Shortline Excursion Train – Cordele

Riding in air-conditioned, 1949 vintage train cars, you will travel across Lake Blackshear to Plains and back. Explore President Jimmy Carter’s boyhood farm (Jimmy Carter National Historic Site), go shopping and sample peanut butter treats. Groups and parties welcome. 1-877-427-2457.

 

Bells Over Plains: Train Ride

December 6, 13 and 14, 10 a.m. – 2:20 p.m.

SAM Shortline Excursion Train – Cordele

Take a train ride to Plains from Ga. Veterans State Park. You will experience a trip from Santa and 1 hour in Plains. Remember to purchase lunch and activity kits ahead of time so you can enjoy. 1-877-427-2457.

 

Liberty Hall Candlelit Tour

Friday, December 7, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

A.H. Stephens Historic Park – Crawfordville

Hosts in period costumes will lead visitors through the beautiful, candlelit home of the Confederate Vice President. Enjoy the house with no electric lights on for the night and walk in the footsteps as they did back then. $2.50 – $4.00 (706) 456-2602.

 

General and Mrs. Robert Toombs: An Evening At Home

Friday, December 7, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Robert Toombs House Historic Site – Washington

A progressive living history program will be presented at both the Robert Toombs House and the Washington Historical Museum, once the home of the Barnett Family. The date is December 1880. General and Mrs. Toombs sent and invitation to the Barnett family to attend the wedding reception of their grandson. Free. (706) 678-2226.

 

School Express

Friday, December 7, 10:15 a.m. – 2:40 p.m.

SAM Shortline Excursion Train – All Aboard! – Cordele

All Aboard! Bring the kids and come rid in air-conditioned, 1949 vintage train cars. You’ll board at Georgia Veterans State Park and travel to Americus and Plains. Be sure and take advantage of our special St. Nick’s HOBO Lunch Package for only $11.99 and the Wonderland Kit of lots of special items for only $8.99. Ticket prices vary. Visit SAMShortline.com for more information. 1-877-427-2457.

 

Rudolph’s Favorite

Friday, December 7 and 21, 6:30 p.m. – 9:10 p.m.

Friday, December 21, 6:30 p.m. – 9:10 p.m.

SAM Shortline Excursion Train – Cordele

Enjoy a relaxing ride from Georgia Veterans State Park into Cordele. Vendors will be awaiting your arrival to show you all the exciting things for Christmas. Games, music and reading of The Polar Express await younger ones. 1-877-427-2457.

 

Colonial Log Cabin Christmas

Saturday, December 8, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Elijah Clark State Park – Lincolnton

Join us as we recreate the first Christmas of Elijah and Hannah Clark in the year of 1773. Colonial refreshments to be served. You will also be able to enjoy mountain dulcimer music, tractor pulled hayrides, pictures with Santa, and pioneer toys will be given to the children. $5 parking. (706) 359-3458.

 

Christmas On The Lake

Saturday, December 8, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Florence Marina State Park – Omaha

Make Christmas decorations out of natural ornaments such as pine cones, sweetgum balls, magnolia seedpods and seashells. We provide all the materials you will need. Then from 1 to 3, be sure to bring your wish list as pictures will be taken with Santa Claus. $1 – $3 $5 parking. (229) 838-4706.

 

A Jarrell Plantation Christmas

Saturday, December 8, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Jarrell Plantation Historic Site – Juliette

Traditional Christmas in the country. Natural greenery decorations, candles, and refreshments, folk craft demonstrations, and stories. $4-$6.50 (478) 986-5172.

 

Christmas Crafts With Kids

Saturday, December 8, 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Mistletoe State Park – Appling

Parents, use the morning to do holiday shopping while kids have their own time to make special gifts for the family. Kids ages 6-12 will have fun making key chains, jewelry from recycled paper, strings of popcorn, angels, and more Christmas and nature crafts. Register in advance. $20. (706) 541-0321.

 

Archaeology At Camp Lawton

Saturday, December 8

Magnolia Springs State Park – Millen

Talk with Georgia Southern University’s archaeology team about recent findings at Camp Lawton, a Confederate Prison Camp for Union POWs. Learn about the camp’s history and daily lives of the prisoners, and see some of the equipment being used to uncover artifacts. Photos of the artifacts will be available for viewing. $5 parking. (478) 982-1660.

 

Heritage Festival

Saturday, December 8, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Magnolia Springs State Park – Millen

Enjoy a living history encampment, full-scale replica of the Hunley, crafts, and archaeology. This festival commemorates the anniversary of General Sherman’s “March to the Sea” during the American Civil War. $5 parking. (478) 982-1660.

 

Plains Festival of Lights Excursion

Saturday, December 8, 3 p.m. – 10:25 p.m.

SAM Shortline Excursion Train – All Aboard! – Cordele

Get your tickets today and see President and Rosalyn Carter light the trees at the Plains Festival of Lights. You’ll be riding in air-conditioned, 1949 vintage train cars. So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. 1-877-427-2457.

 

Second Sundays on the Farm

Sunday, December 9, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

General Coffee State Park – Nicholls

The Heritage Farm will feature demonstrations of late 1800s farm life on the second Sunday of every month. A different demonstration will take place every month. $5 parking. (912) 384-7082.

 

Across the South

Wednesday, December 12, 9:30 a.m. – 3:35 p.m.

SAM Shortline Excursion Train – All Aboard! – Cordele

Take a trip on the SAM Shortline Excursion Train “Across the South.” We’ll board at Georgia Veterans State Park and travel to Americus, Plains, Archery and back. You’ll ride in air-conditioned, 1949 vintage train cars and get a taste of how traveling in South Georgia used to be. 1-877-427-2457.

 

Christmas on the Park

Saturday, December 15, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Reed Bingham State Park – Adel

Celebrate Christmas with Friends of Reed Bingham and staff at our beach pavilion with lights, decorations, hot chocolate, refreshments, Christmas crafts, music, a silent auction, and a guest appearance from Santa. $1 for crafts. $3 for picture with Santa. $5 parking. (229) 896-3551.

 

Reading of the Polar Express

Saturday, December 15, 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Roosevelt’s Little White House Historic Site – Warm Springs

A real train conductor will read The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg to children in the cozy living room of Mustian Place. Children will be given tickets to take a seat as we celebrate the season with refreshments and a visit from Santa. Children are encouraged to wear their pajamas will receive a reindeer bell as a gift. $8-$12. (706) 655-5870.

 

Enchanted Evening Train Ride

Saturday, December 15, 2:45 p.m. – 9:05 p.m.

SAM Shortline Excursion Train – Cordele

Enjoy this holiday special train ride as you visit the older days of farm life. While in Archery, you will enjoy hot cider and seeing old timey Christmas decorations. Then travel to Plains for the special firepots in the streets with marshmallows to roast. The air is filled with musical tunes that are very familiar and the jolly ole man himself will be there. 1-877-427-2457.

 

Christmas on the Pond

Saturday, December 15, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

General Coffee State Park – Nicholls

Join us to usher in the holiday season. Visit with Santa, enjoy storytelling, hayrides, a marshmallow roast and homemade refreshments. Donations appreciated. $5 parking. (912) 384-7082.

 

Introduction to Archery

Saturday, December 15, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge

Archery has been around for over 1,000 years. Try your skill at shooting a “Bull’s Eye”, and learning the basics of this fun outdoor sport. Space is limited, pre-registration required. 10 plus $5 parking. (706) 557-3001.

 

Tour of Lights Festival

Saturday, December 15, 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Seminole State Park – Donalsonville

The festivities begin at 3pm and will feature live bands, vendors, activities for the kids to enjoy, and of course, the Christmas lights. We will announce the winner of the Christmas light contest, followed by the Christmas Boat Parade. We may even get a visit from Santa himself! $5 parking. (229) 861-3137.

 

Moonlight Hike

Saturday, December 29, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge

Join a park ranger on this guided hike under the full moon. Wear comfortable shoes, insect repellant, and bring a camera to record the journey, as we listen for insects, frogs and other nocturnal creatures. Meet at the Hard Labor Creek Trading Post. $5 plus $5 parking. (706) 557-3001.

 

Trains, Boats & Plains Ride

Monday, December 31

SAM Shortline Excursion Train – Cordele

Take a tourist train across southern Georgia. Groups and parties welcome. 1-877-427-2457.

 

 

 

 

METRO ATLANTA

 

Christmas at the Cabin

Saturday, December 1, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Red Top Mountain State Park – Cartersville

Yuletide celebrations of the 1800s come to life at the Vaughan cabin. Experience the sights and sounds of the holiday with music, cooking, toys and games. Bring the family and a camera to get a picture with Santa. $5 parking. (770) 975-0055.

 

Basic Fly Fishing Clinic

Saturday, December 8, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge

The clinic covers casting, safety issues and other tricks of the trade. If time permits participants may stay to catch the Fish of Fish. Instructors suggest wearing long pants/shorts and hiking shoes, and bringing snacks, water and sunscreen. Georgia fishing license required. Register in advance. $15 or $12 with own gear. $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

 

Lost Person Prevention

Saturday, December 8, 10 a.m.

Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge

Learn simple techniques for not getting lost and keeping track of your family when venturing into the great outdoors of Georgia. Search and Rescue Dog Team will be joining the class unless a SAR activity is occurring. Meet at the nature center. We recommend arriving 30 minutes before each program. Register in advance. $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

 

Atlanta Audubon Society Bird Walk

Sunday, December 9, 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge

Bring your binoculars for this gentle hike through the park’s Power of Flight area. Basic identification techniques and common birds will be discussed. Good for all ages. We recommend long pants and sleeves. Meet at the Alexander Lake Area. Register in advance. Donations of birdseed are appreciated. $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

 

Backcountry Geology Hike

Sunday, December 9, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Sweetwater Creek State Park – Lithia Springs

Geologist and Friends member John Johnston will lead a moderate three-mile hike identifying rock types and explaining how they formed. Explore the beautiful Jack’s Branch area and the seldom-visited rock quarry of New Manchester. Meet in the Interpretive Center. $5 plus $5 parking. (770) 732-5871.

 

Tree Top Excursions: Introduction Climb

Saturday, December 15, 1 p.m.

Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge

Join us “on rope” for an adventure exploring the canopy above. Participants will use rope and harness for this moderately strenuous activity. One group will start at 1PM; another group will start at 3PM. Please arrive 15 minutes before each program. Register in advance. $15 plus $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

 

Candlelight Hike to the Mill

Saturday, December 15, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Sweetwater Creek State Park – Lithia Springs

This mile-long guided night hike is easy to moderately difficult and goes inside the Civil War era textile mill ruins of New Manchester. Candle lanterns will be provided. No children under 6 years or dogs permitted. Space is limited and is on a first-come first-serve basis. Meet and register at the Interpretive Center. $5 plus $5 parking. (770) 732-5871.

 

Full Moon Night Hike

Saturday, December 22, 4:30

Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge

Listen to whippoorwills and owls as the sun slowly sets and the moon begins to rise. Panola Mountain is one of the best places to see the wildlife of the night. Bring flashlights and hiking boots. Meet at the nature center 15 minutes before each program. Register in advance. $7 plus

$5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

 

“Ruins to Rapids” Full Moon Hike

Friday, December 28, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Sweetwater Creek State Park – Lithia Springs

This 1.5-mile hike is moderately difficult and goes inside the Civil War-era textile mill ruins of New Manchester and follows the lovely rapids (up to class IV) of Sweetwater Creek. A flashlight and sturdy, closed-toe shoes are required. No children under 6 or dogs. Meet inside the Visitor Center. Register in advance. $6 plus $5 parking. (770) 732-5871.

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We do our best to post the most relevant and timely information, but readers should confirm dates, times, and availability. Events are posted on YLGA from information found on, but not limited to, attraction sites, government city sites; as well as submissions from individual attractions, press releases and PR firms. All events are subject to change without notice and Yeah Let's Go Atlanta cannot be held responsible.

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