Holiday happenings at the parks

Celebrate the spirit of the season with light shows, fireworks, tours, demonstrations and more.

mount-vernon-christmas-illuminations
Photo courtesy of George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Bull Run Festival of Lights
Through Jan. 7, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Take in 2.5 miles worth of holiday lights then hold onto the season’s magic a little longer by checking out Holiday Village (only open on select evenings) for a photograph with Santa, refreshments and rides. Tickets start at $20 per car, but those looking to steer clear of the weekend traffic can take advantage of a $5 coupon Monday-Thursday. // Bull Run Park: 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville

Winter Walk of Lights
Through Jan. 7, 5:30-10 p.m.
This twinkling half-mile Meadowlark Botanical Gardens walk-through throws the animated Fountain of Lights and Lakeside Lights into the mix. Upon completion, guests can warm up fireside with roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate, or explore the Snowflake Shoppe and the Garden Gift Shoppe. // Meadowlark Botanical Gardens: 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court, Vienna

Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon
Dec. 15-16, 5:30-9 p.m.
Fireworks synchronized to holiday tunes will begin at 9 p.m., but there is no shortage of things to do leading up to the main event. Costumed guides will lead lessons in 18th-century dance, choirs will serenade guests as they explore the grounds and artisans will lead an 18th-century chocolate making demonstration. Food, cider and hot chocolate will be available for purchase. // Mount Vernon: 3200 Mount Vernon Highway, Mount Vernon

Holidays Through the Ages
Dec. 15-17, Dec. 22-23, times vary
Spanning the colonial era to the 1940s, each Rippon Lodge room will be decorated according to the time period it has been assigned. The walking tour will begin on the porch, allowing visitors to take in the exterior decorations as well. Tickets start at $5 and reservations for groups larger than four are encouraged. // Rippon Lodge: 15520 Blackburn Road, Woodbridge

Candlelight Evenings at Sully
Dec. 16, 4-8 p.m., Dec. 17, 4-7 p.m.
On Dec. 16, guests can see what Christmas was like during World War II, taking in recorded band music and carols while learning about rationing and making food substitutions. On Dec. 17, Victorian-era Christmas traditions are the topic of conversation, supplemented by an opportunity to take a photo in front of an old-fashioned sleigh. At both events, guests can make their own holiday crafts, sip on cider and sample cookies. // Sully Historic Site: 3650 Historic Sully Way, Chantilly

Christmas at Oatlands
Dec. 16, 4 p.m.; Dec. 17, 10 a.m.-noon
The Oatlands Mansion will don its Christmas decorations through Dec. 30, inviting guests to embark on their own tour. But on Dec. 16, the Pickwick Players will perform holiday carols while also offering chocolates, and on Dec. 17,  families can bring their own cameras and take family portraits in front of the Christmas Tree. // Oatlands Historic House and Gardens: 20850 Oatlands Plantation Lane, Leesburg

Wreath Making
Dec. 17, 2 p.m.
For $15 in-county and $17 out-of-county, individuals of all ages are invited to use pine cones, dried flowers and ribbon to make their own holiday wreath. Those interested should register in advance. // Hidden Pond Nature Center: 8511 Greeley Blvd., Springfield

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