Shelby TownshipSeptember 5, 2012
Shelby Township Parks and Recreation Department, nature center host fall events
By Brad D. Bates
C & G Staff Writer
SHELBY TOWNSHIP — With leaves changing from emerald to ruby, Shelby Township Parks and Recreation is making the most of its crown jewel — River Bends Park.
Whether it’s the tried and true programs at the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center or a new Halloween event, the Shelby Township Parks and Recreation Department wants residents to know what the township’s largest park has to offer in autumn.
“A lot of people don’t know how great River Bends Park is,” Parks and Recreation Department business manager Cindy Martel said. “That’s what’s great about the Nature Center and events at River Bends Park — they open people’s eyes.”
The first big event of the season is the Fall Festival Sept. 15-16 at the nature center, located at 4101 River Bends Drive in River Bends Park, just east of Ryan Road.
The festival features performers and festivities that highlight life in Shelby Township during the time of some of its earliest settlers.
The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 15 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 16.
The nature center log cabin will be open for guests, and patrons will have a chance to try their hands at pioneer games and crafts, and even a taste of pioneer life as they can pump water for animals as part of the “Chore Challenge.”
Live performers Randy Baker and Genot Picor will be on hand, along with expert wood turners and carvers, as well as presentations involving wagon rides, farm animals, corn shelling and grinding, beekeeping and using herbs.
“Talk with the talented Voyageurs de Ste. Claire who will be in period clothing displaying artifacts and demonstrating their many traditional skills,” a message on the Parks and Recreation Department’s new Facebook page said of the Sept. 16 activities at the festival.
“Chore role-play, children’s toy and game tent, and many other children’s activities are included — from wagon rides to live farm animals.”
Cost for the festival is $2 per person for ages 4 and up.
Following the festival, the nature center will host a live nocturnal animal encounter with bats, a flying squirrel and a barred owl at 2 p.m. Sept. 22. The Organization for Bat Conservation will present a program titled Animal Adaptations. Cost is $4 per person for ages 4 and up.
The activities continue with the October installment of “Nature Tales For Preschoolers.”
The “Stone Soup” story and activities are slated for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 4., and the cost is $2 for 3- to 5-year-olds. The second October preschool activity runs at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 18 and is called “The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin,” which will feature a story and craft.
The popular “Night the Animals Talked” event takes nature enthusiasts to River Bends’ upper trail at dusk Oct. 5.
This event costs $4 and includes presentations by actors performing skits dressed as local wildlife. It concludes with a hike, followed by doughnuts and cider around a campfire.
Shelby Township’s new Halloween event will make River Bends a spookier place than usual from noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 13.
The River Bends Park Halloween Spooktacular seeks to incorporate the best of the popular Boo Bash and Trunk or Treat events that were held at Heritage Lake and Cherry Creek Golf Club, respectively.
“It’s a combination of the Boo Bash and Trunk or Treat, so it’s a big event at River Bends Park,” Martel said. “There were a lot of things going on (at the Boo Bash and Trunk or Treat), so we just decided to combine them. And the setting at River Bends is perfect for it.”
Like the Trunk or Treat event, the Spooktacular will feature trick-or-treating as kids go from car to car or “trunk to trunk” to collect candy and trinkets. Prizes will be awarded for the best decorated trunk.
The Spooktacular, which features a bounce room, games, crafts, face painting and live animals from the nature center, is free to attend, and families or businesses wishing to take part in the trick-or-treat portion should contact the Parks and Recreation Department at (586) 731-0300.
The fall color wagon rides and cookout will take advantage of fall colors 12:30-3 p.m. Oct. 14. A $2 fee for people ages 4 and up includes a wagon ride around River Bends Park and cider and marshmallows at the cookout. Visitors should bring their own hot dogs and buns for the cookout.
“Just seeing the park doesn’t do it justice,” Martel said. “You really have to go in there and walk the trails to appreciate how beautiful it is.”
The nature center gets in the Halloween mood for its next event as it hosts the Haunted Nature Center Oct. 19-20.
The cost is $3 for ages 4 and up with groups leaving every 10 minutes starting at 7 p.m. The event leads the groups through the “dark and foreboding” center that features plenty of “eerie” surprises.
The Halloween feel continues Oct. 27 as the center hosts “Spidermania” from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event highlights how most spiders are not as fearful as they may seem with specimens such as living tarantulas on display. Cost is $3 for ages 4 and up.
The last fall event of the season is Deer Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 3.
This event features the “All About Deer” program at 1 p.m., a deer sign walk at 2 p.m., the “Introduction to Deer of the World” program by request at 3 p.m., and archery at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. for ages 8 and up. Cost is $3 for ages 4 and up.
Space is limited for most events, and pre-registration is advised. To register, contact Shelby Township Parks and Recreation at (586) 731-0300. For more information, contact the nature center at (586) 323-2479.
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