Holiday happenings at Missouri state parks and historic sites
JEFFERSON CITY, MO, NOV 21, 2023 – Winter is on its way, but there is still a lot to do in Missouri’s state parks and historic sites.
- Friday, Dec. 1 – Downtown Living Windows at Jefferson Landing State Historic Site.
Are you visiting downtown Jefferson City for the Living Windows event? Stop inside Jefferson Landing State Historic Site for some holiday cheer! Enjoy making crafts, creating your own “Nutcracker” puppet theater production, or just warming up on a chilly evening. There will also be a pop-up store selling Capitol- and Missouri-themed Christmas ornaments and other gifts. Activities take place from 6-9 p.m. in the Lohman Building of the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site located at 100 Jefferson St., Jefferson City, Missouri.
- Friday, Dec. 1 – Tree Lighting, Salem Chamber Choir and Santa at Echo Bluff State Park.
Kick off the holiday season with the annual tree lighting and Salem Chamber performance at Echo Bluff State Park! Come listed to the heavenly sound of the Salem Choir as the music fills the rafters of the Lodge Lobby as they perform traditional and international Christmas carols. The choir will perform following the lighting of the tree. As soon as the choir’s performance ends, Santa will make an appearance. Cookies and cocoa will be available. The festivities begin at 7 p.m. at 35244 Echo Bluff Drive in Eminence, Missouri.
- Saturday, Dec. 2 – Le Réveillon at Felix Vallé House State Historic Site.
Revel in the spirit of an early Missouri French Christmas during Le Révellion at Felix Vallé State Historic Site on Saturday, Dec. 2 starting at 1 p.m. All activities are free and open to the public. No registration is required, but seating is limited for the lecture. Felix Vallé State Historic Site is located at the corner of Second and Merchant streets in Ste. Genevieve. The day’s schedule follows:
- 1-3 p.m. – Paper filigree with Lisa Palmer of Never Bored Creations LLC. Drop in to learn the art of paper filigree and make your own holiday ornament.
- 1-4 p.m. – Free tours of the Felix Vallé House.
- 2-4 p.m. – Enjoy traditional dances performed by Dance Discovery, a St. Louis-based dance troupe that performs historically faithful social dances from the 1600s to the present.
- 4 p.m. – Enjoy “Our French and German Christmas Customs” by Robert Mueller. Learn about the history of Ste. Genevieve’s holiday traditions during this informative lecture.
- 5 – 8 p.m. – Enjoy candlelit tours of the Felix Vallé House and experience Le Réveillon, a traditional feast held after midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Interact with interpreters in period dress and enjoy special desserts, including buche de Noel.
- Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9 – Christmas Candlelight Open House at Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site.
The public is invited to enjoy an 1860s Victorian Christmas during a candlelight open house of the Hunter-Dawson Home. The house, aglow with the warmth of oil lamps and candles, will be decorated with fresh greenery, Christmas trees and 1860s –style ornaments. Site team members will be dressed in period clothing and will be present to answer questions. Refreshments will be available. The candlelight open house will be from 5:30–8:30 p.m. on Dec. 8 and 9, while standard daytime tours will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The free event is open to the public and reservations are not required. However, there are fees for the daytime tours. Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site is located at 312 Dawson Road in New Madrid, Missouri.
- Saturday, Dec. 9 – Old-Fashioned Christmas in the Village at Arrow Rock State Historic Site.
Join the state historic site team, friends and family as they open up the site buildings for a Christmas from long ago. You are invited to tour the buildings, which will be decorated for the holidays, and visit with interpreters. As guests wander through the site, they may stumble upon the judge and lawyer in the Old Courthouse as they prepare to end the year. Stopping by the tap room of the tavern, visitors will have the opportunity to visit with travelers from the trail, and in the academy, they will see the young ladies preparing for Christmas while the schoolmarm takes a break. Up the hill, a family will be preparing for Christmas dinner at the George Caleb Bingham home. At the very end of the tour, visitors can reflect on the holiday season. The event begins at 5 p.m., and while the pathway will be lit, guests are encouraged to bring a flashlight. That night there will be music and dance as well, starting at 4 p.m., and guests are invited to the Yuletide Dance presented by Mid-Missouri Traditional Dancers at 6:30 p.m. Arrow Rock State Historic Site is located at 39521 Visitor Center Drive in Arrow Rock, Missouri.
- Saturday, Dec. 9 – Nature’s Decor at Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park.
Deck the halls with boughs of holly…The holidays are just around the corner, and the team at Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park is in the mood to decorate! They’ll show you how to use nature’s resources to create wonderful winter wreaths. Participants should bring a grapevine wreath and pliers, and the park team will provide everything else for decorating. The event is for participants 13 and older and those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Registration is required and there will be two sessions from which to choose. To register, visit icampmo.com. Participants should meet in the basement of the visitor center at 800 Guy Park Drive in Wildwood, Missouri.
- Saturday, Dec. 9 - A Very Peck Christmas at First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site.
Take a break from the wrapping, baking and decorating to come enjoy a simpler time on the Missouri frontier! You’re invited to step back in time and experience the ambiance of shopping by candlelight in the 1820s Peck Bros. Dry Goods and Hardware Store. Products for sale will include, but not be limited to, old-fashioned toys and games, candy, lye soap, handmade items and Christmas ornaments. Enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season with your family to discover these unique old-time items that are perfect as stocking stuffers or small gifts. The event begins at noon and runs through 9 p.m. at 200 S. Main St. in St. Charles, Missouri.
- Saturday, Dec. 9 - Candlelight Christmas Concert at First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site.
In the warm glow of the candlelit legislative chambers, Rick Thum and Friends will evoke memories of a historic past and bring to life some well-known holiday songs and the stories behind these old-time favorites. These merry melodies are sure to get you in the holiday spirit. This event usually sells out fast, so don’t delay in getting tickets to experience this holiday experience. Tickets can be purchased starting Nov. 17 at the interpretive center. Cost is $12 each with a limit of four per person. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 8 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 636-940-3322. First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site is located at 200 S. Main St., St. Charles, Missouri.
- Saturday, Dec. 9 – Ozark Christmas Tradition at Nathan and Olive Boone Homestead State Historic Site.
Travel back in time as you walk to the Boone home and see how the Boone family and residents of Greene County have celebrated Christmas since 1830. Drop in for a visit with St. Nicholas, smell the cooking of a holiday meal over an open fire, make a 19th century door decoration, learn Christmas customs of the Missouri Ozarks and much more! After your visit at the Boone Homestead, make new holiday memories as historic downtown Ash Grove continues the celebration at 4 p.m. with the annual Christmas parade and downtown festivities. The day’s schedule is as follows:
- 10 a.m. – Christmas wreath laying at both historic cemeteries.
- 10:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Living history displays and demonstrations along the path the Boone home.
- Cider pressing.
- Block-print Christmas cards.
- U.S. Dragoons.
- Nathan Boone Chapter of the War of 1812 Society.
- Christmas of the enslaved.
- 19th century door swags.
- Fiber arts.
- Ladderback chair caning.
- 10:15 a.m. – Christmas carols in the parlor of the Boone home.
- 10:30 a.m. – Ozark Christmas stories, folklore and superstitions, in the orchard.
- 11 a.m. – Christmas carols in the parlor of the Boone home.
- 11:30 a.m. – Ozark Christmas stories, folklore and superstitions, in the orchard.
- Noon – Christmas carols in the parlor of the Boone home.
- 1 p.m. – “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” and Christmas caroling in the parlor of the Boone home.
- 1:30 p.m. – Ozark Christmas stories, folklore and superstitions, in the orchard.
Nathan and Olive Boone Homestead State Historic Site is located at 7850 N. State Highway V in Ash Grove, Missouri.
- Friday, Dec. 15 – Geminids Meteor Shower Viewing Event: Mother Nature’s Christmas Lights Display at Elephant Rocks State Park.
To mark this year’s most spectacular meteor shower, Elephant Rocks State Park will be open to the public for a rare after-dark event. Park representatives will be available to direct guests to the best and safest areas to view the shower. Participants should remember that it is December and should dress for cold temperatures. The temperatures on the rocks is often lower than the average local temperature, so even if it is a mild night, you can become chilled sitting for long periods of time. Guests should be respectful of other visitors and avoid excessive use of artificial lights and excessive noise during the event. No tents or other invasive camping equipment such as propane heaters or lanterns, will be allowed, but portable chairs and blankets can be brought. No campfires will be allowed. In the event of rain, it will be moved to Saturday, Dec. 16.
The event runs from 5 p.m. to midnight at Elephant Rocks State Park, at 7406 Highway 21 in Belleview, Missouri.
- Tuesday, Dec. 19 – Christmas Craft and Story at Crowder State Park.
Join park team members on Tuesday, Dec. 19 for their Christmas Craft and Story event. Stop by the Camp Grand River Recreation Hall from 9-11 a.m. with your children to hear Christmas stories, make a craft or two and have a treat. Crowder State Park is located at 76 NW Highway 128 in Trenton, Missouri.
For detailed information on any of these activities, please visit mostateparks.com/events. For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.