Parks’ Picks

‘Tis the season for light displays, seasonal story times and crafts, campfires, and celebrating the Winter Solstice! Here are our Parks’ Picks for fun winter activities to enjoy in the parks this December.

Garden of Lights

Gather your family and friends for a night out at Garden of Lights. This time-honored Montgomery County tradition at Brookside Gardens is open daily (except Friday, December 24 and Saturday, December 25) from 5:30 to 9:30 pm through Sunday, January 2, 2022. Walk through the gardens and enjoy more than one million dazzling and colorful LED lights that are handwoven into original works depicting animals, flowers, and other natural elements. All visitors over the age of three must have a timed-entry ticket. Tickets can only be purchased online. Make sure to purchase early as some dates are filling up.

A group of people walk past a giraffe light display at Garden of Lights.

Craft Programs

Ornaments for the Birds

Make your own edible ornaments on Thursday, December 9, from 3 to 6 pm at Locust Grove Nature Center. Birds, squirrels, and chipmunks will enjoy them, and your backyard will be a festive place for wildlife! There will be several options for crafters of every age and skill level. Register adults and children over the age of two for a time slot by Tuesday, December 7, to reserve craft materials.

Bird sitting on top of snow pile.

Herb and Spice Holiday Gift Workshop

Heighten your senses and cheer at this holiday workshop making fragrant gifts and ornaments to take home. Learn about spices and herbs while crafting seasonal and natural ornaments on Saturday, December 11, from 10 to 11:30 am at Brookside Gardens.


Bring your little one for story time at Maydale Nature Classroom. Staff will read The Mitten by Jan Brett on Tuesday, December 14, from 10 to 11 am. After the story, you will head out on a hike in search of the different animals in the story hiding in the park and make a craft to take home.

On Tuesday, December 28, from 10 to 11 am, Maydale staff will read The Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett and then make a tasty gingerbread treat to take home.

Adult reading a book to a group of children and parents.

Scavenger Hunt and Campfire Programs

Explore the natural surroundings at one of our scavenger hunt programs. Our Signs of Winter Scavenger Hunt program is Saturday, December 18, from 2:30 to 4:30 pm at Maydale Nature Classroom. Come by and pick up a scavenger hunt sheet and head outside to start looking for some of the signs of winter! Free event.

Complete a scavenger hunt while looking for signs of winter and then join a naturalist around a campfire for marshmallow roasting and hot chocolate during the Winter Scavenger Hunt and Campfire at Maydale Nature Classroom on Thursday, December 30, from 10 am to 12 pm.

Boy looking in a pile of leaves.

Join a park naturalist for Brookside Nature Center’s Campfire 101 program on Wednesday, December 15, from 4 to 6 pm to learn fire safety and different ways to stack logs and lighting techniques. Participants are encouraged to bring a campfire snack for roasting.

Roasting marshmallows over campfire.

Winter Solstice Guided Labyrinth Walk and Campfire

Join us at Locust Grove Nature Center on the shortest day of the year, Tuesday, December 21, from 4 to 7 pm to light up the night and take a moment to slow down, reflect, and give thanks during a busy holiday season. Choose a guided activity in the meditation labyrinth, then warm up by the campfire and toast a marshmallow. Please register all participants for a 30-minute time slot.

Moon shining through trees at dusk.


Montgomery Parks…it’s all here!

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Last Updated: December 2, 2021