Un-Haunted Forest offers family fun

By Portia Williams

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WEST PORTSMOUTH — Although this is the season of ghosts, goblins, and other spooky things for Halloween, The Un-Haunted Forest offers a non-spooky, family-oriented alternative. The event will be held, Saturday, Oct. 24, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Shawnee State Park Nature Center and is free and open to the public.

Jenny Richards, Shawnee State Park Naturalist, said the Un-Haunted Forest is fully-loaded with fun for everyone.

“This is the third annual Un-Haunted Forest event, and it’s a family friendly alternative to haunted Halloween events,” Richards said. “We have several things for people to enjoy when they come to the park they can visit the camp fire, and hear music, and make s’mores, or visit our old Civilian Conservation Corps Cabin (CCC). There is a naturalist that is going to be in there, and he is going to do some interpretations of Pioneer life, his name is Matt Mentor, and he is wonderful.”

She said The Un-Haunted Forest is undoubtedly, the most unique family-oriented Halloween event ever offered in Southern Ohio.

“Right next to the Nature Center, the three C Cabin, which we moved from the Division Forestry land years ago, and it is filled with really nice antiques, a wooden stove, it’s just a really neat place to visit, and we’ll talk about Pioneer life a little bit,” she said.

According to Richards, CCC assisted in the building of Shawnee State Park.

The Un-Haunted Forest offers professionally guided night hikes by lantern-light, and will feature special family friendly costumed characters that are appropriate for all ages. The characters are people dressed up as animals, that not scary.

“People will register from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and they’ll mingle around. The Nature Center complex. The Nature Center will also be open, and the public can see the critters that we have in there, then they will wait to go on their half-mile walk trail walk with a guide,” she said. “

She said participants will encounter nine different characters during the course of the half-mile walk.

“It is a lot of fun for everybody, and I know that there are programs going on in Portsmouth at the same time, but people who want to, can attend both,” she said. “They can attend the daytime programs in Portsmouth, and then come here at night to the Un-Haunted Forest, and people who have small children may prefer to come out to the Un-Haunted Forest for the night programs here at the Park, rather than do the haunted activities in town. The Parks provides alternatives that the whole family can enjoy.”

For more information regarding the upcoming Un-Haunted Forest, visit the Shawnee State Park Facebook page.

Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.

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