When I first started working with Five Rivers MetroParks, someone told me, after a harried summer and fall, that “things usually start to slow down in the winter.” I wish I could find that person now and point to my task box supplemented by my computer monitor’s Post-It foliage brandishing its well of unquenchable to-dos. And boy, do we have an action-packed weekend for park lovers to kick off December.
MetroParks joins in the First Friday fun on Dec. 3 with a variety of activities. I’m looking forward to the PNC 2nd Street Market’s extended hours (Market for lunch AND dinner? Initiate high-fives) from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Azra Kaurin, from Azra’s Mediterranean Cuisine, will host a family-friendly cookie-making demonstration at 10:30 a.m., and she’ll show you how she makes her family’s centuries-old baklava recipe later in the evening. Azra, I will be happy to avail you of your excess baklava (for the greater good, of course). You can also partake in a horse-drawn carriage ride and holiday music provided by the talented students of Kettering Fairmont’s a capella group Fusion (someone hold me back before I Gleek). Pet parents should stop by Saturday morning for Pet Pictures with Santa.
Of course the MetroParks Ice Rink is open for business. Star-late Skates takes place Friday and Saturday nights, and drop-in lessons are set for Sunday afternoon. Visitors to RiverScape MetroPark from 7-10 p.m. this Saturday will get an extra treat with horse-drawn carriage rides. Let’s see… Ice skates at $5 a piece plus a downtown carriage ride at $8 per couple plus the obligatory cup of hot chocolate for a buck a pop equals one super romantic date night that won’t break the bank. Just don’t follow it up with a less-than-stellar Christmas present. (“Oh, honey, a new vacuum cleaner? You shouldn’t have. I mean really shouldn’t have.”)
Although this urban kid sticks close to the skyline for my weekend entertainment, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all the cool programs going on in the parks this Saturday. Bird lovers will have plenty to keep them busy with a Winter Bird Search at Hills & Dales MetroPark, Project Feeder Watch going on at Germantown MetroPark’s Nature Center and the Barred Owl Prowl taking place at Sugarcreek MetroPark. You could also have a tea party (the actual tea kind), track some animals, hike for the health of it, even make your own pasta.
Monday (December 6) starts the first of the Adventure Speaker Series in which the Outdoor Recreation Department at Five Rivers MetroParks and Wright State University team up to present a variety of speakers whose stories and photos will inspire you to “get out and live!” Head to Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark at 7 p.m. Monday to hear from Lou Vito, father of snowboarding pro Louie Vito, as he shares how his son went from cruising the slopes at Mad River Mountain in nearby Bellefontaine to becoming an Olympic snowboarding champion.
As you can see, there’s something for everyone this weekend in your MetroParks. Enjoy the outdoors and I apologize in advance to the throngs of citizens with whom I will collide at the rink.