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Caloosa center plans Haunted Walk, Friendly Forest

By Staff | Oct 9, 2009

The Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium is presenting the 25th Haunted Walk and 11th annual Friendly Forest event during October.
Kim Pierce, director of operations, said both events have been extremely successful in the past. She explained that the Haunted Walk will run for the first time since 2004.
“We are excited to see those people who haven’t come out to the area in the past five years again,” Pierce said.
The Haunted Walk, which is a one-half-mile walk beginning on the boardwalk, will be held from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Oct. 21-31.
Those who enjoy being scared by ghouls, goblins and classic movie monsters are encouraged to visit. There will be mazes, spooky tunnels and spine-tingling haunts.
Pierce said the Haunted Walk is for people who like to be scared. She explained that most of the time the flow of people through the walk is quick, with the exception of the maze, which holds people for a little bit longer.
Admission for the Haunted Walk is $6 for non-member children 12 years old and younger, $5 for member adults and $3 for member children 12 years old and younger. On Oct. 31, the admission is $12 for all.
The Friendly Forest will be held from 3-6 p.m. Oct. 24-25 and Oct. 31.
It is for families with younger children who enjoy Halloween, but do not like being scared. The children will meet friendly costumed characters as they trick-or-treat for candy on the center’s stroller-friendly trail.
“The Friendly Forest is great,” Pierce said. “It provides a safe trick-or-treating event for the children.”
She said the Friendly Forest attracts children as young as toddlers to 10 years old.
“We see mostly elementary age students and their families,” Pierce said.
The event will also feature live animals for the children to meet up close.
“Children might get a chance to touch a baby gator or a snake,” she said.
Pierce said they will bring some of the center’s animals on the trail, along with at least one other organization showcasing domestic critters for the children.
The event will also provide children with an opportunity to have their faces painted, create crafts to bring home and play carnival games, along with offer pony rides by Hollyoak Stables for a small fee.
Professor Patches will present a magic show Oct. 24 and 31.
Youngsters are encouraged to wear their favorite costume and participate in the costume contest held at 5 p.m. every day.
Pierce said this is the first year the center is holding the costume contest. The center will give away items, along with gift certificates and toys from local businesses, as prizes.
Admission is $9 for non-member adults, $5 for non-member children 3-12 years old, $5 for member adults and $3 for member children. Children 2 years old and younger are free.
Pierce said they are still looking for volunteers to help out with both events. Individuals who are interested can call 275-3435.
The Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium is located at 3450 Ortiz Ave., at the intersection of Colonial Boulevard and Six Mile Cypress, in Fort Myers.