A layer of fresh snow is an invitation for a pleasant winter walk or to see the area's many holiday light displays. Real Racine has these ideas for your pre-Christmas weekend.
Celebrate the solstice. A new snowfall and the year's shortest day are great reasons to celebrate the Winter Solstice at River Bend Nature Center on Friday, Dec. 21. Everyone is invited to the Nature Center, 3600 N. Green Bay Rd., from 7-9 p.m. to hike along luminary-lined trails, sip hot chocolate around the campfire and learn about the many animals that roam River Bend at night. You'll also have an opportunity to explore solstice traditions from around the world, including a traditional Native American pipe ceremony. It's all free; donations are welcome. Call 262-639-1515 for details.
Let there be lights! That fresh snow will look great at the Wisconsin Christmas Carnival of Lights at Jellystone Park Caledonia, 8425 Highway 38. The displays have more than 1 million twinkling lights, including Santa's workshop and the giant gingerbread house. They're open daily, except Christmas Day, at 5 p.m. The show runs through New Year's Day. Prices are $15 per carload; $22 for limos, small buses and large passenger vans. Visit: www.wichristmascarnival.com
More lights! The Kiwanis Holidays Lights are a local classic. The display at the Racine Zoo, 2131 N. Main St., is put up and maintained entirely by volunteers. You'll see all kinds of animated animals, Santa, a train, cars and a riverboat. The local Kiwanis clubs pay for this project through sale of Racine-themed ornaments that are available at the Real Racine Visitor Center and all over town.
Simple Christmas Eve option. Christmas in the Barn is a simple 43-year Christmas Eve tradition. Members of the English Settlement United Methodist Church present a living Nativity, including animals, angels and the holy family, plus a brief service. Hot chocolate and cookies are served. Christmas in the Barn runs from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 24 at the Squire farm barn, 26715 Church Road, just off Highway J (English Settlement Road), in the Town of Dover. Call 262-534-6592 for details.
History first hand. If you haven't been to the Racine Heritage Museum in a while, you'll want to see the new additions to the Racine County Sports Hall of Fame. You can learn all about the seven new inductees, including Keisha Anderson, Mike Bencriscutto and Lou Holland. The museum, at 701 Main St., is open Tuesday through Sunday. Call 262-636-3940 for hours.
Planning ahead. It may be winter but it's time to start making Racine County campground reservations. The Real Racine Visitor Center will start accepting reservations in-person for the Cliffside Park and Sanders Park campgrounds at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2. Reservations will be taken online at www.realracine.com that afternoon. Read all about it HERE.
Thanks everyone! The response to The Big Bundle Up program has been terrific. We thank everyone who has donated winter clothing items. We'll be accepting caps, gloves, mittens, sweaters, coats, etc. at the Real Racine Visitor Center through Friday, Jan. 4. All items will be given to charities right here in Racine County. We're on Highway 20, just west of I-94.