By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites
December Calendar & Holiday Events

Below is a selection of December 2015 events at Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites. For more programs, visit www.GaStateParks.org/events and the parks’ individual web pages.

More information on accommodations and recreation can be found at GeorgiaStateParks.org or 1-800-864-7275.  Thank you for supporting Georgia’s State Parks!

Coastal Georgia

34th Annual Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation Christmas

December 4 - 5, 2015, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.      

Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation Historic Site - Brunswick, GA

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. There will be hot wassail and cookies, Civil War re-enactors, Christmas carols and an appearance by Santa Claus. $10 -  $5. 912-264-7333.

A Colonial Christmas at Fort Morris

Saturday, December 5, 2015, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.     

Fort Morris Historic Site - Midway, GA

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. Free admission sponsored by the Friends of Ft Morris, Flemington and Liberty County. 912-884-5999.

A Colonial Christmas at Fort King George

Saturday, December 12, 2015, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.            

Fort King George Historic Site - Darien, GA

Join the Garrison for a traditional dinner in the soldier's barracks for an evening of colonial style Yuletide jollification. $40. Reservations required. 912-437-4770.

Luminary Night with Santa

Saturday, December 12, 2015, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.   

Skidaway Island State Park - Savannah, GA

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. $5 per picture, $2 hayrides, $5 parking. 912-598-2300.

Colonial Christmas at Wormsloe

December 20, 1 p.m.  - 4 p.m.

Wormsloe Historic Site - Savannah, GA

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-$10. 912-353-3023.

Metro Atlanta

Christmas at the Cabin

Saturday, December 5, 2015, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.   

Pickett's Mill Battlefield Historic Site - Dallas, GA

Civil War soldiers will be home for the holidays. The cabin will be the setting as period re-enactors demonstrate farm life, chores, toys and games. $3.00 - $5.50. 770-443-7850.

Backcountry Geology Hike

Sunday, December 6, 2015, 1 - 4 p.m.     

Sweetwater Creek State Park - Lithia Springs, GA

Geologist 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. $6 plus $5 parking. 770-732-5871.

Atlanta Audubon Beginners Bird Walk

Saturday, December 12, 2015, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.              

Hard Labor Creek State Park - Rutledge, GA

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. Donations of bird seed for the park bird feeder are welcome. $5 parking. 706-557-3001.

Secrets of the Mountain -- Wilderness Hike

Saturday, December 12, 2015, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.       

Panola Mountain State Park - Stockbridge, GA

You may have heard about Panola Mountain's unique ecology, but are you ready to discover some of the mountain's lesser-known history? Join our expert tracker and guide to head off the trail and explore Panola's hidden cemeteries, whiskey stills, beaver dams, and more. Hike is strenuous, 6+ miles. Must register in advance. Ages 14 and older. $10 plus $5 parking. 770-389-7801.

Christmas at the Cabin

Saturday, December 12, 2015, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.                

Red Top Mountain State Park - Acworth, GA

Yuletide celebrations of the 1800s come to life as demonstrators take you back in time to Christmas at the Vaughn cabin. Santa will be available for photos and Christmas wishes. $5 parking. 770-975-0055.

Candlelight Hike to the Mill

Saturday, December 12, 2015, 6 p.m.  to 8 p.m. 

Sweetwater Creek State Park - Lithia Springs, GA

This mile-long guided night hike is easy to moderately difficult and goes down to the Civil War era textile mill ruins of New Manchester alongside the beautiful rapids of Sweetwater Creek. Candle lanterns will be provided. No children under 6 years or dogs permitted. Meet and register at the Interpretive Center. $5 plus $5 parking. 770-732-5871.

Tree Top Excursions: Introduction Climb

Saturday, December 19, 2015, 1 p.m.      

Panola Mountain State Park - Stockbridge, GA

Join us "on rope" for an adventure exploring the canopy above. Participants will use rope and harness for this moderately strenuous, very unique activity. Register in advance. Ages 8 and up. $15 plus $5 parking. 770-389-7801.

Middle & South Georgia

Candy Cane Express Train Ride

Friday, December 4, 2015, 10 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.   

Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 10 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015, 10 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.          

Monday, December 14, 2015, 10 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.            

SAM Shortline Train - Cordele, GA

Enjoy a popular excursion with layover in Plains. The town will be all dressed in its Christmas wrapping and ready for your visit. Free candy canes for every passenger. Santa will be aboard for the ride! Ticket fee. 229-276-0755.

Seminole State Park Tour of Lights

Friday, December 4, 2015 to Sunday, December 6, 2015, 6:30 p.m.  to 9 p.m. 

Friday, December 11, 2015 to Sunday, December 13, 2015, 6:30 p.m.  to 9 p.m. 

Friday, December 18, 2015 to Sunday, December 20, 2015, 6:30 p.m.  to 9 p.m.  

Thursday, December 24, 2015 to Friday, December 25, 2015, 6:30 p.m.  to 9 p.m.               

Seminole State Park - Donalsonville, GA

Drive through the park decorated like a Winter Wonderland filled with holiday lights. $5 parking. 229-861-3137.

Christmas on The Lake

Saturday, December 5, 2015, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.   

Florence Marina State Park - Omaha, GA

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 - $5 $5 parking. 229-838-4706.

Christmas in Plains Train Ride

Saturday, December 5, 2015, 4:15 p.m.  to 9 p.m.             

SAM Shortline Train - Cordele, GA

Get your tickets today to enjoy Christmas in Plains. There will be a Christmas parade and music to put you in the spirit of Christmas. You'll be riding in air-conditioned, 1949 vintage train cars, so sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Tickets required. 229-276-0755.

Pearl Harbor Remembrance

Saturday, December 5, 2015       

Roosevelt's Little White House Historic Site - Warm Springs, GA

WWII veterans will be on hand for a meet and greet, while FDR portrayer James Fowler will recite the "Day of Infamy" speech declaring that a state of war exists sending the United States into WWII. Performances at 11 a.m., 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. US Signal Corps Pearl Harbor exhibit. $9-$14. 706-655-5870.

Christmas Comes to Liberty Hall

Saturday, December 12, 2015, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.                

A.H. Stephens State Park - Crawfordville, GA

Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens' home, Liberty Hall, will be decorated with styles of the Victorian Christmas past. Enjoy Victorian-era games, music, role players, our Confederate museum and refreshments. $1 - $5. 706-456-2602.

Christmas on the Pond

Saturday, December 12, 2015, 6 p.m.  to 8:30 p.m.           

General Coffee State Park - Nicholls, GA

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

Jarrell Plantation Candlelight Christmas

Saturday, December 12, 2015, 5 p.m.  to 8 p.m. 

Jarrell Plantation Historic Site - Juliette, GA

Experience an 1890s Christmas at night with natural greenery and homemade decorations while visiting two of the Jarrell Family historic homes. $4-$6.50. 478-986-5172.

The North Pole Express Train

Friday, December 18, 2015, 6:30 p.m.  to 9 p.m. 

SAM Shortline Train - Cordele, GA

Join us for a special nighttime ride from Georgia Veterans State Park to the Downtown Cordele Depot to visit with Santa Claus at the North Pole. Ticket required. 229-276-0755.

Geology Day

Saturday, December 19, 2015, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.                

Providence Canyon State Outdoor Recreation Area - Lumpkin, GA

Interpretive Ranger Trena Evans will lead visitors into the canyons and back in time to discover the geological history of the canyons. The floors of the canyons are often wet and muddy, so be sure to wear appropriate footwear. Bring water and your camera. $5 plus $5 parking. 229-838-4706.

Northern Georgia

Christmas at the Gorge

Saturday, December 5, 2015, 1 p.m.  to 3:30 p.m.             

Tallulah Gorge State Park - Tallulah Falls, GA

Come and see Santa, make crafts, enjoy Christmas music and have a snack here at the park. If you have a camera you can take your own photos with Santa. $5 parking. 706-754-7981.

Christmas by Candlelight

Friday, December 11, 2015 and Saturday, December 12, 2015, 5 p.m.  to 9 p.m.  

Chief Vann House Historic Site - Chatsworth, GA

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. $5.50 - $6.50. 706-695-2598.

12th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting

Saturday, December 12, 2015, 4:30 p.m.  to 8 p.m.           

Vogel State Park - Blairsville, GA

Join us for the 12th annual tree lighting of a 35-foot live Blue Spruce. There will be caroling, hayrides, Santa Claus visit, bonfires, and refreshments. Please bring an unwrapped gift for a child 0-12 years of age; no toy guns or knives. The donations will help the Union County Sheriff's Office toy drive. $5 parking. 706-745-2628.