solstice.jpgEvents are planned throughout the Bay Area today to allow humans and animals alike to celebrate the first day of winter.

The winter solstice, which marks the shortest day of the year, is celebrated by a variety of religions and cultures, and there are a few events going on in the Bay Area to mark the occurrence.

The National Park Service is inviting people to spend the longest night of the year among some of the tallest trees in the region at Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County, where an event featuring crown making, Renaissance music, dancing and storytelling is being organized by the park’s visitor center.

The event begins at 3:30 p.m. The trails will be candlelit and will remain open until 8 p.m.

The San Francisco Zen Center, located at 300 Page St. in San Francisco, is holding a meditation and chanting ceremony at 6:15 p.m.

Humans won’t have all the fun today, though.

The San Francisco Zoo is celebrating the changing of the seasons by creating man-made snow for the zoo’s two polar bears, Uulu and Pike.

The snow, created with 10 tons of ice donated by the San Francisco Ice Company, was blown into the polar bear enclosure this morning before the zoo opened at 10 a.m.

The solstice will occur at 3:38 p.m., according to the U.S. Naval Observatory.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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