Be they large or small, the animals of the Audubon Center and Sanctuary will be easy to find during the Enchanted Forest, even while wandering in the dark.
The Jamestown Audubon is accepting registration to participate in its eighth annual Enchanted Forest event for children and their parents or grandparents through Friday. Pre-registration is required for participation for the Oct. 4-5 event as no tickets will be sold at the door.
The event will feature at least six actors dressed in human-sized animal costumes who will greet guests along a trail lighted by luminaries. To also help lead the way through the darkness, volunteers will act as "fireflies" by carrying lanterns. When the groups come upon an animal, such as a great horned owl, bat, spring peeper, spider, monarch or garter snake, it will speak about its life, habits, home and more.
Nathan Elliott, bat, and Tom Tempel, bear, are pictured rehearsing for Audubon’s annual Enchanted Forest celebration.
P-J photo by Dusten Rader
According to Ruth Lundin, president the Jamestown Audubon Center and Sanctuary, the Enchanted Forest is meant to act as a fun, but educational event which aims to show participants that there is a whole other world outside at night.
"The fireflies will take groups out to introduce you to the animals in their regular habitats," Lundin said. "We want kids and adults to walk away from this not being quite so afraid to go out in the evening or night because there are fun things to see then also."
During the first few years of hosting the event, the Audubon borrowed costumes from The Wilderness Center in Ohio, and the Beaver Meadow Audubon Center of Buffalo. But, now the Jamestown Audubon owns all of its own costumes, and has added new ones to its collection.
"We try to add costumes and characters every year," Lundin said. "We haven't added anything new this year, but we're bringing back the spider, who hasn't been around for a couple of years. We've had everything from a cockroach, to spiders, snakes, moles and others."
In addition to the 45-minute nature walk through the Enchanted Forest, cider, popcorn, indoor crafts, a backyard campfire and storytelling will be available. Participants are encouraged, but not required to wear costumes of their own to the event. Each child will leave with a coloring book of their own.
Tom Tempel, who will play a spider in the Enchanted Forest for the first time, said he is excited to see people out in the woods having fun.
"Come to the woods, get outside and see what it's all about," Tempel said.
The participation fee is $12, or $8 for Friends of the Nature Center members, $6 for children 4-12 and free for children under 3. The Enchanted Forest will still occur in the event of rain. The Jamestown Audubon Center and Sanctuary is located at 1600 Riverside Road. For more information, call 569-2345 or visit www.jamestownaudubon.org.