By | Kyra Skylark
Going out to the Humboldt Dunes for Halloween is an exciting and educational adventure for many families. Friends of the Dunes have hosted Spooky Dunes for over five years. Upon arriving, the kids are shown to the crafts tables where they wait until their Spooky Dune Tour begins.On the Spooky Dune Tour, the kids are led on a short hike around the dunes where they meet some spooky characters that teach them about the dunes. Each of the children are given a “passport” to be stamped at each station on the tour. Once the card is full at the end of the tour, they get to choose a prize upon returning to the Nature Center. The passport also has Creepy Dune Bingo on the back for the kids to fill out along the tour.
Ashley Hansen, the outreach coordinator for Friends of the Dunes, enjoys Spooky Dunes because it “helps spread the word about the dunes.” Hansen also said, “It’s a fun way to get kids outdoors learning about the dunes.”
With five stops on the tour, the kids and their parents were first lead to the Beach Pine Palace where they were met by Franny Fox and Misty the Moss Queen. Franny and Misty taught the kids about different moss, fungi and lichens that live in the dunes environment.
At the second stop, they met Dante the Wind Wizard and Ginger the Grey Fox. They gave the kids animal track booklets and were shown how to identify a few different kinds of tracks.
At the third station, they were introduced to Captain Howard, a pirate looking for his treasure. At this stop, the kids were able to use a telescope to look out over the dunes.
For the fourth spot on the tour, the kids were able to help Flora the fairy remember some of the flowers that live on the dunes. Flora and her friend Daisy the flower handed out flower identification books so that the kids could find and learn what kinds of flowers were in the area.
After leaving Daisy and Flora, we ran into the Beachgrass Monster. At the final station, the Humboldt Wallflower asked the kids to help him fight the Beachgrass Monster by pulling out beachgrass. They learned that beachgrass was an invasive plant that has to be removed from the dunes.
One of the the tour guides let the kids know that because they had helped in the effort to remove beachgrass from the dunes that they were now members of the Dune Hero’s crew.After helping fight the Beachgrass dune monster the kids returned were led back to the nature center to collect prizes. Some walked away talking about their prize bug box or their beautiful new shell, but many were talking about something else.
“I liked the Dune Monster,” said Shannon Smith, a witch who had gone on the tour for the first time.
Shannon’s mom Jessica Smith was glad they had come, she thought that the tour was both fun and educational.
In agreement with Jessica, April Moreland was happy she brought her three children to Spooky Dunes.
“I thought it was really great, it was super educational,” said April Mooreland.