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Get Outside

Have some fun this holiday season at Dayton area MetroParks

By Valerie Beerbower

The holidays are upon us and Five Rivers MetroParks offers plenty of low-cost, high-quality fun, whether you’re looking for a special way to spend time with your family, or if you want to throw the perfect get-together with friends and co-workers.

PNC 2nd STREET MARKET

Shopping for holiday gifts at PNC 2nd Street Market

From farm-fresh ingredients for your holiday feast, to locally made gifts, to festive home décor, the Market has you covered. For details about events, programs, vendors and more, visit metroparks.org/LocalFood or call (937) 228-2088.

Special Shopping Days: Join us Friday, December 3 for special extended shopping hours from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Azra from Azra’s Mediterranean Cuisine will be on hand demonstrating how she constructs her holiday baklava and she’s hosting a cookie-making program at 10:30 a.m. Register at metroparks.org/LocalFood for this hands-on baking program.

While you’re shopping, be sure to take some time out for relaxing this special day with wine tasting, musical performances by Fairmont High School’s a capella group, Fusion and horse-drawn carriage rides. Pre-registration is not needed for a carriage ride, although a limited quantity of tickets will be available. Rides start at the end of the Market and are $5 per person or $8 per couple.

Holiday Programming: Create your own unique, local, handmade gift items and home décor with special programs taught by Market vendors and MetroParks staff. On December 10, Wendi Poli from The Flowerman will show you how to make December centerpieces. Kids even have their own flower-arranging program this day. Let them make a special gift mom, grandma, the piano teacher or anyone will appreciate. Even your pets can get in on the holiday spirit – pet pictures with Santa will take place December 4 (leashed, people-friendly pets only, please). Don’t forget about Santa’s other Market visits on December 16, 17 and 18.

RIVERSCAPE METROPARK

There’s nothing more festive than spending time with friends and family in downtown Dayton when the city is decked out for the holidays. Make sure any trip downtown includes a stop at RiverScape MetroPark for fun, family-friendly activities. Get the scoop on activities and amenities this urban park offers at metroparks.org/RiverScape or call (937) 274-0126.

MetroParks Ice Rink: The new and improved MetroParks Ice Rink will open to the public on Friday, November 26. Activities will take place all weekend long. Hours on Friday and Saturday will be 11 a.m. -10 p.m., (with a 30-minute ice clearing at 6:30 p.m. both nights). Sunday will be open for skating from 1-5:30 p.m. Admission that weekend is just $5 and includes the cost of skate rental. Enjoy skating to holiday music plus horse-drawn carriage rides ($5 per person, $8 per couple), prize giveaways and more.

MetroParks Ice Rink will be open seven days a week through March 13, 2011. If you have your own skates, head down Mondays through Thursdays and skate for free. Those who don’t own skates may rent a pair for $3 on weekdays. Admission Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays is $5 and includes the cost of rentals. Patrons can warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or a signature coney from Skyline at the Hub, who will be open during normal rink hours. Get the complete schedule and more at metroparks.org/IceRink. Lessons, programs and other special events will take place at the rink throughout the season.

Visit metroparks.org/skating to find out more about these opportunities. You can even host the “coolest” party in town by renting the rink. Rink rentals are available on Sundays and Thursdays throughout the season. Rink rentals include 50 pairs of skates and 50 cups of hot chocolate. If you’re considering hosting your office or birthday party at the rink, contact the Urban Events staff at (937) 274-0126 to book your event.

Holiday Happenings: Seasonal celebration will take place across the MetroParks for the holidays. The annual Christmas on the Farm is set for Sunday, December 5, at Carriage Hill MetroPark. Make feeders for your feathered friends during Friday, December 10’s Holiday Evening in the Garden – For the Birds at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark.

On Saturday, Dec. 11, take part in a luminary-lit walk through a park. Carriage Hill MetroPark’s Evening Christmas Lantern Tour starts at 6 p.m. and Germantown MetroPark’s Silent Night Luminary Walk begins at 7 p.m.

Aullwood Garden MetroPark’s Winter Moonlight Walk takes place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, December 21. Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides through downtown Dayton on Saturdays, December 4, 11 and 18. Rides depart from RiverScape MetroPark between 7 and 10 p.m. and the cost is $5 per person or $8 per couple.

MetroParks Ice Rink will be hopping during the holidays: Skate Christmas Eve (11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.) or Christmas Day (1-8 p.m.) or New Year’s Eve (8 p.m. to midnight) and New Year’s Day (1-8 p.m.). Admission is just $5 and includes skate rentals. Visit metroparks.org/Skating for details on these and other special events at the MetroParks Ice Rink.

Reach freelance writer Valerie Beerbower at contactus@daytoncitypaper.com

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