Several Ohio parks are featuring events coinciding with winter solstice. Everyday at noon the sun appears to be at its highest point in the sky (technically above the celestial equator). Once a year the sun will reach its lowest noon-time elevation when it appears to be lower in the sky than it does at noon on any other day. This day is called winter solstice. In the northern hemisphere winter solstice occurs on December 21st. This day is the shortest day of the year as measured from sunrise to sunset. It is also marks the start of winter.
In Ohio several Native American earthworks were built to mark annual astronomical events. For instance the 1,300-foot earthwork known as Serpent Mound is oriented so that the serpent’s tail aligns with sun rise during winter solstice. Serpent Mound is one of several, Ohio parks that are commemorating winter solstice with special events.
- Serpent Mound – December 21, 2014 4PM – 8PM (Southwest)
- Location: 3850 State Route 73, Peebles OH 45660
Lighting the Serpent – help celebrate the winter solstice by helping to light 1000 luminaries outlining the serpent effigy. Serpent Mound is an ancient Native American effigy located on the rim of a prehistoric meteor impact crater.
- The West Woods (Geauga County Park) – December 21, 2014, 7:30 – 9:30 PM (Northeast)
- Location: 9465 Kinsman Rd, Russell Twp, OH 44022
Presentation, outdoor candlelit winter solstice walk, carolers, and refreshments. See web site for details
- Inniswood Gardens – December 21, 2014 6PM (Central)
- Location: 940 Hempstead Road, Westerville OH 43081
Solstice Lantern Walk – lantern walk through the gardens.
- Coupling MetroPark (Erie Metroparks) – December 21, 2014 6:30 PM (Northwest)
- Winter solstice night hike. Call 419-625-7783 for details & to register
- Sunwatch Village – Starts Dec 19, 2014 6:30 PM (Southwest)
- Location: 2301 West River Road Dayton, Ohio 45418
Winter Solstice Sleepover – Enjoy an evening of activities and then spend the night in a reconstructed Native American house. Next morning learn how the Native Americans tracked the seasons. $25 / person. Reservations required
- Sacra Via Park (Marietta) – Dec 21, 2014 4-6 PM (Southeast)
- Observe the sunset in alignment with ancient Native American earthworks. Located in the Sacra Via Park near 3rd and Warren St. in Marietta, OH. Commentary provided by Castle Museum archaeologist Wes Clarke. Free and open to the public. (See comment below for additional information).
- Christmas Rocks Nature Preserve – Dec 20, 2014 7 AM (Southeast)
- Winter Solstice Hike – hike up to the top of Jacob’s Ladder to observe scenery from cliff top on the shortest day of the year. Meet at parking lot by Mink Hollow Bridge
- Eagle Creek State Nature Preserve – Dec 21, 2014 2-4 PM (Northeast)
- Location: 11027 Hopkins Rd. Garrettsville, OH 44231
Winter Solstice Hike – hike the trails on the shortest day of the year. Call 330-527-5118 for info.