SILVER SPRING, MD—Today, the Montgomery County Department of Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) presents its version of “The 12 Days of Christmas”—parks-style. . . . “On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me:”
12 Skaters Spinning – There are two ice rinks in Montgomery Parks: Cabin John Ice Rink and Wheaton Ice Arena. Both rinks offer classes, public skating opportunities and special events year-round. Cabin John Ice will Celebrate 2011 with New Year’s Day on Ice, Saturday, January 1. The rink will open at 12:00 noon with four public skating sessions. For more, visit www.CabinJohnIce.com. Wheaton Ice Arena will host its 10th Anniversary Celebration, Sunday, January 9 from 2:45 pm through 4:45 pm, with giveaways and refreshments and more. See www.WheatonIceArena.com for more.
11 Park Police - The Montgomery County Division of the Maryland-National Capital Park Police, founded in 1953, is a specialized police department. The Park Police serve and protect the people, facilities and natural resources in 410 parks that cover more than one tenth of the county. These men and women patrol even the most remote areas of stream valleys and woodlands using cars, trucks, ATV’s, motorcycles, bicycles, and horses. Park Police encourage and train residents to act as the eyes and ears of parks through the Park Watch program. To find out more about Park Watch or how to become a Park Police Volunteer visit www.ParkPolice.org.
10 Warriors a Weeding - Since 1999, Montgomery Parks has certified Weed Warrior volunteers to battle non-native invasive plants (NNIs) on parkland. NNIs are one of the greatest threats to the health and biodiversity of Montgomery County’s parklands. There are volunteer opportunities year-round and ways to donate to “Save Our Trees,” visit www.WeedWarrior.org to find out more.
9 Playgrounds Pending - Every year, Montgomery Parks renovates or replaces approximately 10 existing playgrounds through its Capital Improvements Program (CIP) budget. The designed life expectancy for each playground is approximately twenty years. Currently, playground renovations are slated for Blueberry Hill Local Park in Gaithersburg, Ellsworth Urban Park in Silver Spring, and Wheaton Forest Local Park in Wheaton, to name a few. For the complete list and ways to share your thoughts, visit www.ParkProjects.org.
8 Gardeners a Growing - Montgomery Parks has been operating its community gardens program since May 2009. Presently more than 300 community gardeners are growing vegetables, herbs, flowers and more. More Community Garden locations are being planned. Starting this month, community gardeners can permit their plots online. December 1 through January 15, is the window for historic users to apply to renew existing plots. February 1, enrollment opens for all available community garden plots. Visit www.ParksCommunityGardens.org to apply.
7 Kids a Camping – It’s not too soon to start thinking about summer camp. Montgomery Parks offers a great mix of affordable summer camp options at locations throughout Montgomery County. Get a “sneak peek” of what’s available this summer on January 1 at www.ParkPASS.org. Also, visit the Montgomery Parks booth at the White Flint Mall Camp and Summer Program Expo, Saturday and Sunday, January 29 and 30 to learn more.
6 Trails a Trotting – Montgomery Parks offers more than 200 miles of trails, natural surface and paved, for hiking, biking, rollerblading and equestrians. Find trail maps and more at www.MontgomeryTrails.org.
5 Ways to Give – Montgomery Parks has an online store with plenty of gifts and items for the parks fans in the family. Find it at www.MontgomeryParks.org. Also, give the gift of green—trees, benches and groves of trees—by checking out www.MontgomeryParksDonations.org. There are also tons of short- and long-term volunteer opportunities in Montgomery Parks for individuals and groups. Find a way to lend a hand at www.ParksVolunteers.org.
4 Nature Programs – There are four nature facilities in Montgomery Parks with classes, programs and special events offered year-round: Black Hill Visitor Center in Boyds, Brookside Nature Center in Wheaton, Locust Grove Nature Center in Bethesda, and Meadowside Nature Center in Rockville. Find classes and programs at www.BlackHillNature.org, www.BrooksideNature.org, www.LocustGroveNature.org and www.MeadowsideNature.org.
3 Historic Happenings – The Montgomery County Planning Board approved a final master plan for Josiah Henson Special Park on December 2 moving this historic site one step closer to being opened as a public museum. The next step is facility planning. Josiah Henson Special Park will also be open every Saturday this February for Black History Month. Check out www.HistoryInTheParks.org for more information.
2 Choo! Choo! Trains – The Cabin John Train and Wheaton Train and Ovid Hazen Wells Carousel at Wheaton Regional Park are closed for the winter, but the party rooms at the miniature train stations are available to rent. Winter season rates are available from now through April 1. Both rooms are heated and offer restroom facilities. See, www.CabinJohnTrain.com and www.WheatonTrainandCarousel.com for rates and information.
and a Glowing Garden of Lights – The Garden of Lights is open now through Sunday, January 9, weekdays from 5:30 through 9:00 pm, with the last car admitted at 8:30 pm and on weekends (Friday – Sunday), 5:30 through 10:00 pm, with last car admitted at 9:30 pm. Admission is $20 on weekdays, $25 on weekends, cash only, for cars and vans. See www.BrooksideGardens.org for more information.
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Media Relations Manager
Montgomery County Department of Parks