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The Great Outdoors

Outdoor events at local state parks / Durham Parks and Recreation / skywatching sessions

ENO RIVER STATE PARK

6101 Cole Mill Rd, Durham, 919-383-1686, website:

  • Turtle Superpowers in Winter—Tuesday, December 5, noon–1:30pm. Join an easy, ½-mile hike along the river while learning about turtles and the adaptations they make to survive winter. Call to register; everybody will meet at the Few’s Ford Park Office. 

  • Beavers of the Eno—Wednesday, December 8, 11am–noon. Join an easy 1-mile hike to learn about beavers and to hopefully see a beaver dam in the beginning stages. Call to register; everybody will meet at the Few’s Ford Park Office.

  • Bird ID Hike—Monday, December 13, 8–9am. Join a short hike and see how many different types of birds you can identify. Call to register; everybody will meet at the Few’s Ford Picnic Shelter.

  • History Hike: Fanny Breeze—Thursday, December 16, 10:30am–12:30pm. Join a moderate, 3-mile hike and learn about Fanny Breeze, a formerly enslaved woman who was a midwife in the area. Visit the site of her home. Call to register; everybody will meet at the Few’s Ford Parking Loop.

  • Hibernation Hike—Wednesday, December 22, 1–2pm. Join an easy, 2-mile hike while learning about the various ways local animals hibernate during the winter. Call to register; everybody will meet at the Piper-Cox House.

  • Old Roads and Humble Abodes—Friday, December 31, noon–3pm. Join an challenging 3-mile hike (some off-trail) to an old road, passing by old home sites while traveling on the road that used to carry early inhabitants within the Eno River Valley. Everybody will meet at the Few’s Ford Park Office.

These are free events! Call the Eno River Association at 919-620-9099 or click here for more info.

FALLS LAKE STATE RECREATION AREA

13304 Creedmoor Rd, Wake Forest, 919-676-1027, website:

There are no free events on the docket for December.

JORDAN LAKE STATE RECREATION AREA

280 State Park Rd, Apex, 919-362-0586, website:

There are no free events on the docket for December.

  • All programming and special events have been cancelled, but the following trails are open for walking and exploration: Children’s Nature, Ebenezer Church Old Oak, Ebenezer Church, Jordan Lake Track/Seaforth Pond, New Hope, Poplar Point Campground, Vista Point Blue, and Vista Point Red. Click here for a full description of the trails and addresses of the access points.

WILLIAM B UMSTEAD STATE PARK

8801 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, 919-571-4170, website:

There are no free events on the docket for December.

DURHAM PARKS AND RECREATION OUTDOOR EVENTS

The city’s playgrounds have officially reopened and will be open during normal hours—from dawn to dusk. DPR staff has been cleaning and disinfecting the playground in anticipation of kids returning to play on the swings, slides, etc. Please continue to have your face masks on hand in case you’re not the only ones in the immediate area. Click here for a full list of all 56 DPR playgrounds.

SKYWATCHING SESSIONS

Explore the night sky and peer at the galaxies through one of five Meade LX200 GPS Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes owned by the Duke Teaching Observatory on Friday, December 3, 6–8pm. Click here for instructions on finding the site on W Cornwallis Rd (plus a link to a map you can use). It’s free; if the weather is iffy, you can check that same page or go to their Facebook page to see if this “Open House” is cancelled.