Weekend in the Parks

It’s the first full weekend of December with holiday lights,music and — of course Santa Claus — all at your Fairfax County Parks.


  • Nightlights: Whether your prefer to take in the holiday lights on foot or from behind the wheel, Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has you covered. At the Bull Run Festival of Lights drive through an enchanted world of giant toy soldiers, snowmen, Santa and his reindeer and so much more. Over 130,000 people visit the festival every year. End your trip with a visit to the Holiday Village, featuring games, rides, food and gift vendors. 5:30 to 10 p.m. (Also Saturday and Sunday. 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Through Jan. 6.) Bull Run Regional Park. $20/car, $30/van (15-34 people). Discounted weekday rates. For more information call 703-359-4633.
  • Prefer your holiday lights al fresco? Head over to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens for its Winter Walk of Lights. Imagine the beauty of Meadowlark’s renowned gardens transformed into a winter wonderland, including a flowing stream of softly glowing lights. On the .6-mile walking path marvel at the two-story animated fountain, stroll past the Gingerbread Village and explore the beauty of nature like you’ve never seen it. 5:30, 6:30, 7:30, 8:30 and 9:15 p.m. (through Jan. 6). Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. $13/adults, $8/children ages 8 to 12. Discounted weekday rates. Tickets available online. For more information call 703-255-3631.


  • The Play’s the Thing! Don’t miss Skippyjon Jones, an enchanting musical about a little kitten with big ears and even bigger dreams. He longs to be someone different, so he transforms himself into Skippito Friskito, the greatest canine sword fighter in old Mexico. But when Skippyjon is challenged by a bullying bee, will he be a ‘fraidy-cat or the top dog? Find out in this delightful musical that encourages kids to follow their dreams. 2 to 3 p.m. McLean Community Center’s Alden Theatre. $15/person ($10/McLean Community Center district residents). For more information call 703-790-0123.
  • Jane Austen’s Regency Christmas: “At Christmas everybody invites their friends about them…” wrote Jane Austen in Emma. Imagine yourself at home at Christmas with the Elliots, Bingleys or Bennets and learn how Austen’s characters, and the novelist herself, would have celebrated the festive season in the early 1800s. Participants age 13 and above are welcome. 1 to 3 p.m. (Also on Sunday.) Historic Green Spring. $27/person (includes a full English tea). To make a reservation call 703-941-7987.
  • Santa is Coming to Clemyjontri Park: Have your photo taken with Santa at the picnic shelter. Take a ride on the festively decorated carousel and receive a goodie bag and one digital photo that will be emailed to you. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Also Dec. 9) Clemyjontri Park. $10/per child. (Add siblings to a photo for $5/child.) This event is rain or shine. For information call at 703-388-2807, ext. 0.
  • Minerals Rock! Discover the exciting world of geology. View beautiful minerals, rock fossils and amazing rock specimens. Use a classification key and perform scientific tests to uncover mystery rocks. Take a guided walk to a historical wall made out of rose quartz. Participants age 5 and above are welcome. 2 to 3 p.m. Green Spring Gardens Park. $6/person. Register online. For information, call 703-642-5173.
  • 2nd Saturday Art Walk: Showcasing the diverse work of more than 100 visual artists in a unique historic venue, creating an atmosphere that encourages visitors to immerse themselves in the richness of this creative community. Tour seven studio buildings, mix and mingle with artists and buy original works of art, all while enjoying light refreshment and music. The perfect destination for a date night or girl’s night out, as well as for art collectors and art appreciation groups. 6 to 9 p.m. Workhouse Arts Center. Free. For information call 703-584-2900.
  • Birding for Beginners: Naturalist Casey Pittrizzi will lead this walk, emphasizing beginning bird identification. Extra pairs of binoculars will be available for use and coffee will be waiting for participants when they arrive. 8 to 10 a.m. Potomac Overlook Regional Park. Free. For reservations (required) and more information call 703-528-5406.


  • Crafting Craze: At the Holiday Crafts Workshop try your hand at creating decorative pieces for your home or to give as gifts. Make your own wreath or centerpiece from local greens, pine cones and other natural materials. 1 to 4 p.m. Potomac Overlook Regional Park. $18/person. For reservations (required) and more information call 703-528-5406.
  • Music Friends’ Concerts at the Alden: This classical music series, now in its 38th season, began in 1974 when the Music Friends of the Fairfax County Public Library bought a Steinway concert grand and began to hold recitals in local library branches. This concert is a Young Soloists Recital, featuring piano and violin, showcasing the talents of local school-age artists and gives them experience in auditioning and performing. 3 p.m. McLean Community Center’s Alden Theatre. Free. For information call 703-790-0123.
  • Wild Things Puppet Show: Children ages 4 to 10 can enjoy three puppet shows plus the Native American legend of how butterflies came to be, and meet live animals highlighted in the stories. 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. Hidden Oaks Nature Center. $5/person. Register online. For information call 703-941-1065.

Information was correct at time of publication. Please contact individual event sites to confirm programs are being held as scheduled.