Published November 20, 2023

MetroParks Monthly: Programs & Events for December

Below you’ll find a list of programs and events for all ages, from children to lifelong learners, in addition to MetroParks must-dos, sustainability tips and information on what’s growing in the parks this month.

Take a deeper dive into your areas of interest by signing up for MetroParks’ email newsletters and following Five Rivers MetroParks on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.

Know before you go: Your Five Rivers MetroParks are closed on Christmas Day (including the MetroParks Ice Rink) and New Year’s Day. Visit for more information on park and facility hours.


Active Outdoors

Youth & Family

Adult Nature Exploration

Earth Friendly Living

For Everyone

  • Paint-A-Park: Dec. 3 – 2 to 5 p.m. at Cox Arboretum MetroPark



There are so many ways to check people off your list and enjoy the magic of the holiday season at the 2nd Street Market this month.

New this holiday season, the Market is collaborating with Friends of the Dayton Arcade for a fun, festive evening of dining and shopping downtown on Thursday, Dec. 7.

That evening, the 2nd Street Market will host Sunset at the Market from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. This event was launched this past August and will be held throughout 2024. During these extended Market hours, visitors can enjoy dinner from a variety of local food vendors, shop locally sourced gift and other items, and enjoy such festivities as roaming carolers. The Arcade, 35 W. Fourth St., will host Holly Days at The Arcade from 3 to 8 p.m., featuring holiday shopping from small business vendors on The Arcade’s multiple levels, live entertainment, cash bars and more.

Thanks to Dayton RTA’s sponsorship, a free shuttle will run every 15 minutes between the two events and the Oregon District garage. Shoppers can pick up a punch card, and those who visit both destinations and make a purchase will be entered to win a holiday vendor basket and 2nd Street Market Money.

On Thursday, Dec. 14, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., the 2nd Street Market will host Artisan Night, its popular annual holiday event. Guests can make holiday gifts, décor and more during make-and-take holiday workshops. Select vendors will be open, but not all.

Related  Sample all summer has to offer in your Five Rivers MetroParks this May

Shoppers also can meet the Market’s vendors off-site during Holiday Mini Markets at the MetroParks Ice Rink at RiverScape MetroPark the first three Saturdays in December from 4 to 8 p.m.

Learn about more shopping opportunities and programs at the 2nd Street Market.

Programs at the 2nd Street Market are sponsored by Dayton Children’s.


MetroParks Ice Rink is open for the season and offering families the opportunity to have fun, stay active and enjoy beautiful views of the Great Miami River. Admission is $7 and skate rentals are $3. Those who utilize SNAP/EBT benefits can present their card when purchasing admission for a 50% off discount thanks to the Five Rivers MetroParks Foundation.

Lessons and MetroParks Ice Rink season passes make a great holiday gift and are available online.

Snacks and beverages will be available at the RiverScape Café. New this year, alcoholic beverages — including a variety of beer, seltzer, wine and spiked drinks — also will be available at the Café for customers 21 and older.

The MetroParks Ice Rink is sponsored by PNC, MSD, media sponsor WKEF22/FOX45, Butler Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, USI Insurance Services, Ed Smith Flowers & Gifts and Winans Chocolates + Coffees.


As the weather cools down, holiday spirit winds up. Your Five Rivers MetroParks offers numerous activities to help you celebrate the season, including the Aullwood Winter Luminary Walk on Dec. 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Aullwood Garden MetroPark. Additionally, Christmas on the Farm and Christmas on the Farm: A Holiday Evening will be on Saturday, Dec. 9 at Carriage Hill MetroPark’s historical farm. For more fun, season programs visit our blog.


The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) allows federal employees and retirees to connect to causes they care about. Select a charity of their choice to support through payroll deduction or learn how to volunteer. Giving just $5 per paycheck can make a huge difference and allows the Five Rivers MetroParks Foundation to support special programs and projects it would not otherwise be able to fund. Start the process by visiting this page and using the Five Rivers MetroParks Foundation’s number: 14501.

Monthly must-dos in your MetroParks

  • Sledding: If we’re lucky enough to see some snow during the holidays, be sure to grab a sled and head to the hills at Englewood, Germantown or Taylorsville MetroParks.
  • Seasonal greenery: We have beautiful outdoor displays to admire year-round. Visit Cox Arboretum, RiverScape and Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark to see the landscape all dressed up for the holiday season.
  • Winter solstice sunrise: Enjoy the first day of winter with a hike as the sunrises and take a peek at the world while frost still hugs the ground and plants.

Sustainability Tip: Have a greener holiday

Having a greener holiday can be as easy as recycling your old holiday lights and DIYing gifts for people on your list. Check out our monthly blog to learn how to reduce your carbon footprint and send less to the landfill this season.

December Challenge: Set a New Year’s Resolution to get out in the great outdoors!

A popular resolution that nearly 50% of people adopt is to exercise more to improve health and fitness. Thanks to changing terrain and extra sunshine, moving your body outside is often more productive than working out at the gym. As an added bonus, time spent outdoors is also great for your mental health!

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