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Monday, October 18, 2010

Take your family on a nighttime nature hike with 'wildlife' at Hidden Oaks

Ever wonder what goes on in the woods when the sun goes down? Creatures of the night (actually naturalists in costume) will dispel some myths about themselves during “Fear-less Fest,” Hidden Oaks Nature Center’s biggest event of the year.

Fear-less Fest takes place Oct. 23, 7-9 p.m. at Hidden Oaks, 7701 Royce St., Annandale. The event is appropriate for children age 4 and above. 

Naturalists will lead families and scout groups along the one-third-mile Old Oak Trail next to the nature center. Along the way, families will meet costumed characters who explain why they are misunderstood: The coyote howls because she is just looking for a home for her pups. The raccoon delights in the fast food of an unsecured trashcan. The skunk and black widow spider explain how they protect themselves through a song and a rap. Even a dead tree has his say.

When not on the night time walk, children will discover what owls eat by helping pull apart the fur from the bones of a barn owl pellet, learn how to identify animals by exploring their bones and teeth. They will also work on a craft project and see live snakes, toads, and other nocturnal creatures.

Families can register for this program online (using code number 308 486 8501) or by calling 703/222-4664 on weekdays. To register groups, contact the nature center directly at 703/941-1065. The fee is $7 per person.

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