Looking for a change of pace for your late autumn schedule? Here's a sampling of upcoming special events at several parks around the country.
Colorado National Monument Film Premier. Rocky Mountain PBS has completed a documentary film celebrating the Monument’s Centennial and the life of its founder, John Otto. A park spokesperson notes the "documentary was filmed at some of Colorado National Monument’s most spectacular and historic locales — from along the famously breathtaking Rim Rock Drive to atop Independence Monument on July 4th."
The film also showcases many of the historic photos and archived films from the Monument’s earliest days. Writer and filmmaker Greg Mikolai also documents the presence of indigenous peoples and was allowed the special privilege of filming the sacred Bear Dance of the Northern Ute Tribe at Fort Duchesne, Utah.
The park and Rocky Mountain PBS are offering an advance screening of the film at the historic Avalon Theatre in Grand Junction, Colorado, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 18. Admission is free.
During the month of December, Colorado National Monument will also host special weekend screenings of the one-hour documentary on both Saturdays and Sundays at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at the park visitor center. The visitor center is located four miles into the park from the West Entrance Station.
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area “Old Time Holiday” celebration. The staffs at both Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and Shasta State Historic Park near Redding, California, are "breaking out the garlands, ribbon, and bows to bring the holiday season to life" on Saturday, December 4. The event will run from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and is free of charge.
Highlights include free wreath-making and other holiday craft activities for all ages at the Camden House in Whiskeytown’s Tower House Historic District. Families and individuals can make their own unique wreath to take home for the holidays, and the Camden House, the 1852 home of pioneer/prospector Charles Camden, will be open for viewing. A handout for a self-guided tour of the apple orchard will also be available. The Tower House Historic District is located near the junction of Highways 299 and 106, about 16 miles west of Redding, California. You can download a map of the park at this link.
Shasta State Historic Park will offer free entrance into the Courthouse Museum, shopping at the 1800’s general store and decorating cookies in the historic Blumb bakery. Other activities will feature a ‘49er miner’s tent camp and candle making. Western Star Lodge No.2, the oldest Masonic Lodge in California, and still active in the town of Shasta, will offer a scrumptious breakfast for a small fee from 7:30 am to 11:00 am.
In conjunction with the events, both sites are sponsoring a holiday food drive for those in need in the local area. Click here for more details about these special events.
Fort Pulaski Candlelantern Tours. Fort Pulaski National Monument, located about 15 miles west of Savannah, Georgia, is offering its annual Candlelantern tours on Friday, December 10, and Saturday, December 11, 2010. The tours "re-create the Confederate Nog party of 1861, and take visitors through the historic fort by candlelight and oil lamps. Refreshments, hot cider, special tours, and period music highlight these evenings of merrymaking."
The programs will be presented at 6:00, 6:30 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, and 8:30 p.m. both evenings, and advance reservations are required. You can make a reservation in person at the park or by calling (912) 786-5787 during business hours.
Even without a cup of 1861-style Confederate eggnog, any of these events or a day trip to a park near your home sounds like a fun break from the usual late fall activities. Sure beats raking leaves!