© 2022
Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Creepy, Crawly and Cute

real creeper.jpg
RadioIQ
/
Lucy Schuyler celebrates Halloween with a friend on the Creepy, Crawly and Cute trail at Wildrock.

When the pandemic hit, managers of the nature and discovery center known as Wildrock decided to make the most of their mile-long loop trail that winds through meadows, over a stream and through the forest.

Tree
RadioIQ
/
Lucy and her friend Maria perch in a tree filled with holiday pumpkins.

“What we’ve done is invite area volunteers and our staff to create installations along the trail on various themes that make it really enticing for children to keep going and discovering,” says founder Caroline Schuyler. She recalls the Tiny World Trail, featuring fairy houses and small woodland creatures, and the Unlock the Box adventure where kids had to follow a map, find word clues and eventually open a container of natural treasures, such as a snake skin, a beaver skull with really big teeth, a giant conch shell, and a replica of scat.

bat
RadioIQ
/
A rubber bat hangs from a tree along the trail

"What kid doesn’t like to look at scat up close?” Schuyler muses.

But the most popular trail is now open. It’s called Creepy, Crawly and Cute. As they hike, families find man-made snakes and bats, giant spider webs, a swooping owl and mummy trees wrapped in white bandages. Schuyler’s 9-year-old daughter Lucy loves the hands on quality of this hike.

ghost
RadioIQ
/
And a ghost keeps watch.

“You can play with something, but you can’t exactly take it,” she says.

Her 13-year-old friend Maria agrees. She says the trail inspires creativity and a real love of nature.

"If you find all these things out here, like snakes, bats and spiders, you might be inspired to find the real thing outside," she explains.

spider
RadioIQ
/
Hikers must also pass by a giant spider web or two.

Schuyler hopes this Halloween experience is fun but not frightening for kids.

“Because we don’t want to scare kids. This is a place about togetherness and joy and healing, and there’s been enough that’s been scary for families in the last couple of years.”

To assure social distancing, only one family is allowed on the trail each half hour, so reservations are required and group admission is $20.

Sandy Hausman joined our news team in 2008 after honing her radio skills in Chicago. Since then, she's won several national awards for her reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Radio, Television and Digital News Association and the Public Radio News Directors' Association.