Passport® Picks For Winter In The National Parks

Winter is upon us and though some of our parks have closed their visitor centers for the season, there are still many ways to enjoy our national parks! We've put together this list to highlight some of the activities that are taking place in December, January, and February. Pack up the car, grab your Passport®, and explore the parks!

* Head to our nation's capital this January to experience the buzz of the city during the Presidential Inauguration on January 21-there will be many special events throughout the region. This is also Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so you may want to visit the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in D.C., or Martin Luther King, Jr. NHS in Georgia. January 21 is a fee free day, meaning all national park sites are free to enter, so visit any site and get your Passport® stamped!

* Historic Christmas. Take a trip to the past and experience Christmastime with some famous American families. Join the Roosevelts at Sagamore Hill NHS on December 8, the Wrights at Dayton Aviation Heritage NHP December 20-28, or the Lincolns at Lincoln Home NHS December 15.

* Candlelight and Luminary Tours. View the parks in a different light this winter. Tour the luminaries at De Soto NM, Aztec Ruins NM, Antietam NB, and Wilson's Creek NB. You can also take a candlelight tour at William Howard Taft NHS or a lantern tour at Fort Vancouver NHS.

* Heritage and other Festivals. Enjoy all winter has to offer at Saratoga NHP's Frost Faire January 26, or venture into the Great Smoky Mountains for a Festival of Christmas Past on December 8. You can also enjoy the events that parks in warmer climates have to offer. Casa Grande Ruins NM is holding their 5th Annual American Indian Arts & Music Fest on February 9 & 10. The Fort Frederica Festival is February 16.

* Snowshoeing. Take a walk through the snow in our national parks! You can go on your own or join a group at Sleeping Bear Dunes NL, Craters of the Moon NM&P, Glacier NP, or Lassen Volcanic NP. Each of these excursions is offered throughout the season.

* Winter Film Festival. Women's Rights NHP brings you films that illustrate the lives of influential Americans and discuss various sites in the National Park System. The films run every Friday and Saturday starting at noon now through April 17, 2013.

* Children's Civil War Holiday Workshops. Take your kids to Fort Pulaski NM on December 22 and learn to make, mold, and paint marzipan. You'll also make special edible ornaments for the backyard wild friends!

* Civil War Sesquicentennial. Vicksburg NB will be honoring the 150th anniversary of the sinking of the USS Cairo on December 12th. Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania NMP is holding various events December 7-15 for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg. Stones River NB is also having events to honor the 150th anniversary of the battle held there on December 26-28.

* War of 1812 Anniversaries. Jean Lafitte NHP&P is holding events devoted to the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 11, & 12. River Raisin NBP is commemorating the bicentennial of the Battles of River Raisin January 18-20.

* Head to warmer climes. San Juan NHS is celebrating its anniversary of becoming a park on February 14. A trip to Puerto Rico would make a wonderful break from the winter weather.