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23creatures of the night/MD

Creatures of the Night

Where: Quarry Hill Nature

Center.

What: A guided, educational hike through Quarry Hill Park to see nature center staff dressed up as nocturnal

animals.

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When: Friday and Saturday.

Time: Call to reserve a hike time. The first one begins

at 5:15 p.m. Friday and 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Cost: $5 per hiker. Proceeds benefit Quarry Hill. Call

281-6114 for reservations.

To learn more, go to

Postbulletin.com/weblinks.

By Edie Grossfield

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egrossfield@postbulletin.com

Beginning Friday night, groups of brave hikers, flashlights in hand, will make their way along Quarry Hill Park trails in search of talking nocturnal critters.

They will be participating in the fourth annual Creatures of the Night, a popular Halloween program by Quarry Hill Nature Center.

Quarry Hill staff members dress up in costumes and play the roles of five talking nocturnal animals, who appear at different locations throughout the trail. This year, the creatures are a bat, owl, raccoon, skunk and muskrat.

The organizer of the event, Carrie Nelson, a Quarry Hill naturalist/ teacher, will be playing the role of the bat, waiting for visitors in the park’s cave.

As groups of about 20 people enter the cave, Nelson will introduce her character and enlighten the hikers with interesting facts about bats.

Nelson said staff members really enjoy and get into their animal characters. They try to give each a unique personality.

Attendees also get into Creatures of the Night. It has become one of Quarry Hill’s most well-attended programs, Nelson said. It typically sells out and draws up to 700 people during the two nights. As of Thursday last week, there were 15 hiking times left for Friday and over 100 left for Saturday. However, Nelson said she expects the spots to sell out by Friday.

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"It’s very popular because it’s a non-threatening Halloween event and there’s no scary stuff for the little kids. And, it has a neat twist in that it’s about nature and animals," Nelson said.

Groups of hikers leave every 15 minutes, each guided by two to four student volunteers. The students come from Century, John Marshall and Mayo high schools.

Creatures of the Night received help this year from two friends of the nature center, who designed and sewed the animal costumes. That was a relief to staff members, who usually have to do it themselves, Nelson said.

The hike takes about an hour and includes paved and unpaved trails. Afterward, hot cider and snacks await participants in the nature center building. The hikes occur regardless of weather, so hikers should dress for the weather and bring flashlights.

Quarry Hill Nature Center http://qhnc.org/

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