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You never know 'hoot' you'll see when you venture out to the West Virginia Wildlife Center this Saturday. / My Buckhannon file photo

Trek out to the W.Va. Wildlife Center this Saturday for ‘Tails, Trails and Treats’

BUCKHANNON – The West Virginia Wildlife Center is getting in the spooky spirit this weekend by offering ‘Tails, Trails and Treats,’ a reimagined version of its popular Halloween event.

The Wildlife Center is inviting the community to enjoy trick-or-treating, Halloween decorations and the animals who have made the center their home this Saturday, Oct. 16 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“You come in, and our guys will help you park since parking is very limited, and then you just go and walk the normal animal loop, and we have stations set up along the way, so you’re going to be greeted right there at the very top of the loop, where our map is,” Trevor Moore, wildlife biologist with the Wildlife Center, said. “You can get some DNR bracelets, glow sticks and things like that and then the rest of the way is candy stations set up around the loop and people can enjoy some decorations, grab candy, dress up and have a good time.”

Participants will only have to pay the standard entry fee, which is free for ages 0 to 5, $2 for ages 6 to 15 and $4 for ages 16 and up.

“Hopefully the temperatures will be cooler. A lot of our animals are transitioning to their winter coats, so our deer, our wolves and our cougars are not going to be as active during the middle of the day because it’s hot, especially when they have those heavy coats on,” Moore said. “Hopefully, with it being evening, they’ll be more active, and hopefully some of the other lesser-seen animals like our skunks and our eastern screech owls — which are both very nocturnal — will start coming out and moving around a little bit more too.”

Most of the animals will be available except for the snakes because of the cold weather and the otters because their enclosure is undergoing maintenance.

“Our ‘Spooky Nights’ event got big, and with the pandemic it got shut down and we realized that we wanted to scale it back just a little bit so it would be safe,” Moore said. “We started ramping it up again this year and in the next couple of years we still want to do something, because we didn’t get to do spooky nights last year, so this is a re-envisioning of that.”

Moore encouraged attendants to dress up in Halloween costumes and bring a flashlight.

“Please dress up — we want to see the kids dressed up, the adults too, we want everybody to dress up — and enjoy as much as you can,” Moore said. “I’ve told all my staff if they want to, they can dress up. I’m dressing up, my family’s dressing up, so it’ll be fun.”

The decorations will stay up for a limited time after the Oct. 16 event, and then admission will be free from Nov. 1 to March 31.

Meet Bob, the large cat. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik
A coyote relaxing mid-afternoon. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

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