Ohio Winter Solstice Events

Northern Lights in Snowy Forest in Finland (WikiMedia - Creative Commons License)
Northern Lights in Snowy Forest in Finland (WikiMedia – Creative Commons License)

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.

Winter solstice for the northern hemisphere is shown in the front, right position.

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.

Chadwick Arboretum – December 15, 2016 5:30 PM (Central)
Location: Chadwick Arboretum at Ohio State University
Winter Solstice Labrynth Walk – candle-lit walk
Inniswood Gardens – December 18, 2016 6PM (Central)
Location: 940 Hempstead Road, Westerville OH 43081
Garden Lantern Walk – lantern walk through the gardens.
Serpent Mound – December 21, 2016 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, 2016, 7:30 – 9:30 PM (Northeast)
Location: 9465 Kinsman Rd, Russell Twp, OH 44022
Winter solstice walk, music and refreshments. See web site for details
Clear Creek MetroPark – December 21, 2016 10AM (Central)
Location: Mathias Log Cabin, Clear Creek Rd, Rockbridge, Ohio
Level 4 Solstice Saunter. Call 740-969-9001 for info.
Sacra Via Park (Marietta) – Dec 21, 2016 4-6 PM (Southeast)
Solstice Watch 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).

Additional Information

© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and TrekOhio.com 2012 to 2021

3 thoughts on “Ohio Winter Solstice Events

  1. The Castle Museum is holding its second annual solstice watch on the Sacra Via alignment of the prehistoric Marietta earthworks complex, December 21 from 4 to 6 pm. Sacra Via is in a city park adjacent to Third and Warren streets in Marietta; the Marietta bike and walking path crosses the western end of the park. If weather permits, we will observe the solstice sunset aligning with the space originally delineated by long parallel earthen walls created by prehistoric Hopewell culture peoples. The event will be free and open to the public, with maps and a brief commentary provided by The Castle archaeologist Wes Clarke.

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