Besides being an extraordinary animal rescue, the Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) is so much more. Falling right in line with their mission of “people help animals and animals help people,” this private, non-profit organization is offering families an opportunity of a lifetime. They are inviting parents from all over the community to bring their children to HWAC from some good old-fashioned Halloween themed education and fun.
The Autumn Harvest Tours have begun, along with having some very scary creatures rear their heads for this season of fun and terror. Questions your children may have include, ‘What does a spider’s exoskeleton look like?’ or ‘How do Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches hiss?’ All of these questions and many more will draw the curiosity out of your kids and have parents feeling like kings and queens of the world just because they can offer their young ones fun and education all wrapped up into one day of togetherness.
All of this spooky season excitement will take place in the Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Humane Education Department (on the east side of the adoption department - 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe, California). Instead of hibernating, the education animals are presenting themselves to your family members for extended learning capabilities. In fact, Critter Camp instructors and their slithery, skittery, creepy and crawly friends are getting geared up for one of the most thrilling Autumn Harvest Tour seasons yet! Transformed into a Creepy Critter Campsite, brave souls are invited to meet slithering snakes and intimidating invertebrates, explore an eerie campground, and choose a treat from the Perilous Pumpkin Patch. The tours run all October long and are perfect for kids, ages 3 to 12 years old.
Throughout October, parents, teachers, troop leaders and more are invited to book their kids for a 90 minute tour that combines the perfect mixture of laughter, thrills and critters for a Halloween-themed experience. Exploration of a haunted campsite begins around a "campfire" for spine-chilling animal tales. After setting the mood, the adventure really gets underway as “campers” crawl through the dark cavernous underbelly of a cave, carefully avoiding the “brittle bones” beneath their hands and knees. Emerging from the darkness into a Frightful Forest – BE WARNED! Guests might just lose their nerves as straggly tree branches grab at every turn! Of course, a Critter Camp Autumn Harvest Tour wouldn’t be complete without a hair-raising array of slimy and slinky critters and the tour will feature plenty of those too!
“This is one of our favorite events of the year,” explained Education Manager Heather Disher. “The kids, parents and staff all have a great time but it’s also a perfect way to address some common misconceptions about some of the ‘spookier’ creatures and teach kids about the wonderful things they provide for our environment. Even though the theme is scary, we actually get to show kids that a lot of the things they fear are not scary at all!”
Tours are available on weekdays and weekends and cost $11 per child (which includes four “spooky” animal interactions, a trek through the “Creepy Critter Campsite”, and a mini pumpkin to take home.) Helen Woodward Animal Center scout patches are available for purchase too! Reservations are required. So parents, call 858-756-4117 x 319 or visit www.animalcenter.org for more information and to book your family’s reservations.