OGDEN — For most of us, Halloween is all about the scares.
For the Ogden Nature Center? It’s more about the education.
The popular Creatures of the Night event returns this weekend, offering creepy, crawly, educational fun for all ages.
“It’s a non-spooky educational event, said Stefanie Zwygart, education director for the nature center. “This gives parents the opportunity to kind of celebrate the season without worrying about things jumping out at your children — especially if you’ve got young kids.”
Creatures of the Night will run from 5-8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 5-6, at the Ogden Nature Center, 966 W. 12th St. Admission is $7.
True to the center’s broader, year-round mission, Zwygart says the family-friendly event centers around animals that occupy the night hours here in Northern Utah.
“As humans, our senses are not designed for the night and dark, but there are creatures who are,” she said. “This is our way of educating kids in a fun, non-spooky way — and, kids aren’t just going around to collect candy.”
The event will feature presentations with live snakes, owls and other animals. Bats, beavers, raccoons and even deer are also included in the two-day event.
There will also be a “Creepy Crawly Corner” with demonstrations involving wolf spiders, tarantulas, millipedes and more.
“What we’re saying is, ‘Yes, these are creepy. But they’re also important, and here’s why they’re important,’” Zwygart said.
A Squeak and Sneak walk will allow visitors to see what it’s like to be a mouse.
“We give everyone a flashlight on the trail, and there are large, hidden cutouts of animals along the trail that are predators to mice,” Zwygart said. “You pretend to be a mouse, and try to find all the predators.”
There will also be a campfire with stories, and a teepee with various artifacts. Face-painting, crafts, carnival games, a fortune teller and food vendors will round out the festival.
“My favorite thing,” Zwygart said, “is we do what we call the Crepuscular Creep. A naturalist takes you on a 15- to 20-minute hike, and along the way our staff are dressed as different types of creatures that are most active at twilight. They’ll tell you about themselves in a fun, engaging manner.”
Zwygart said visitors are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes and bring flashlights.
“We love it when kids dress up,” she said. “We’ll all be in nature-related costumes ourselves.”
Participants should also dress for the weather. The event will be held rain or shine.
Speaking as the Ogden Nature Center’s education director, Zwygart said she loves the opportunity this annual Creatures of the Night event provides to teach families about nature.
“We do education here pretty sneaky,” she said. “We have a lot of fun with it, making learning fun.”