The Winter Solstice, the oldest known winter celebration, is derived from the Latin word “solstitium,” which means “sun standing still.” Occurring at the moment the North Pole is tilted the farthest away from the sun, the solstice marks not only the beginning of the winter, but also the rebirth of the sun. The good news is that after December 21, we get a bit more sunlight every day until the Summer Solstice.
The earliest people on Earth knew the sun’s path across the sky and built monuments such as Stonehenge in England and Machu Picchu in Peru to follow the sun’s yearly progress.
We won’t have time to make a monument, but we will feed our creative spirit by assembling and decorating paper lanterns. All ticketed attendees will receive a lantern making kit, including a tea light.
Next we’ll embrace the magic of the dark sky with a lantern-lit night walk on the Lemon Hill Trail. This short hike is friendly for all ages and levels of experience, although there is one rocky section that requires you to be nimble on your feet.
Finally, we'll turn our attention to the skies with stargazing at the Lemon Hill picnic pavilion. Astronomy educator Buddy Muhler will set up his high powered telescope and offer a glimpse of the planets, the stars, and a shiny sliver of the Waning Crescent moon.
Best of all, we'll have a bonfire with complimentary hot chocolate, s’mores, and snacks! And we’re thrilled to have an acoustic campfire sing-along with “Wednesday Night Rebellion” - an all-star cast of musicians from Mister John Music. Like the ancient Druids, we’ll gather around the fire to sing and celebrate brighter days to come!
This event is family friendly. Children must be ticketed and accompanied by an adult.
TICKET PRICES: Pay what you can: $15, $20, or $25
[ Not sure what to pay? Please refer to this Sliding Scale Pricing FAQ for additional info. ]
MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS: If Philadelphia’s parks make a difference in your life – consider becoming a member of Fairmount Park Conservancy and help ensure that Philadelphia’s parks are enhanced for generations to come. PLUS members register first for events and enjoy discounts on park experiences including Treetop Quest, Shofuso and more!
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
Estimated distance: 2 miles
Level: easy to moderate
Terrain: combination of flat open parkland and hilly trails
Appropriate for adults and families with children ages 8 & up. Minors must be registered and accompanied by an adult.
Please dress according to weather conditions and wear sturdy walking / hiking footwear
Please bring your own water and snacks (drinking water is not available in the park)
Friendly dogs on leash are welcome.
We will use lanterns whenever possible, but for portions of the trail, we recommend bringing flashlight, headlamp, or fully charged smartphone.
There are bathrooms available at the beginning and end of the hike if absolutely necessary
PARKING: Plenty of parking in lot behind Lemon Hill Mansion. As always, NEVER leave valuables in your car.
IMPORTANT: This is a night hike and after a short intro talk, we will leave promptly. Please arrive at the departure location at scheduled time. We cannot guarentee latecomers will be able join after the group has departed.
COVID-19 PROTOCOLS: By registering for this event you are agreeing to follow ALL of these protocols:
This event has limited capacity. Please only register if you fully intend to attend and let us know if you need to cancel ASAP.
Participants must maintain 6 feet of distance from one another during the event.
Please bring a mask. We encourage you to wear it if you're in proximity to others.
If you or anyone in your household are exhibiting COVID-19 systems, please stay home.
POSTPONEMENT / CANCELLATION POLICY: In case of inclement weather or cloudy conditions, the event will be will be cancelled and attendees are eligible for a full refund.
GUIDE BIO: Buddy Muhler is a passionate astronomer and science educator. He has over 15 years experience operating telescopes and educating the public on astronomy, first at The Franklin Institute and in his current position with The Academy of Natural Sciences.