Getting in the mood for October means roaring dinosaurs, tripping over pumpkins, facing the dark and investigating what that noise was. Candy collecting and goose bump measuring can't get here fast enough.
Nancy Drew: Girl Detective
Parish Theatre at Kalamazoo Civic Theatre
329 S. Park St., Kalamazoo
Oct. 18-26, show times at 9:30 a.m., noon, 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m.
kazoocivic.com, (269) 343-2280
Head back to a simpler time when there was a storm and the lights went out, and you were scared as hell! — or you could head over to the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre for a pretty similar feeling: sharing a night with everyone's favorite girl detective, Nancy Drew. A mystery has developed at the old Van Pelt estate—home of the Footlighter's Barn Theater.
Rumors abound of a hidden stash of jewels and to complicate matters, a mysterious ghost (or puppet?) is getting their haunt on. "We're going to try and make it a little spookier for an October feel to it," said Director Sandra Bremer of the show that she knows parents will be happy to view with their children. There are no worries of inappropriate content but only good, dare we say wholesome, values in the show. If your pre-teens have read, are reading or you'd like to introduce them to the ever-popular Nancy Drew, there's a reason for her timeless appeal. "There were always good storylines and it's a formula — the bad guys and the good guys conflict. It's once again what makes a great play or TV show — the story." Get your magnifying glass out for a fun, campy, whodunit that should satisfy your creepy mystery addiction.
This year's theme is "Pumpkinfest Hits the Road," so expect a play on state destinations and road trip flavor in downtown Zeeland, along with the regular festive scarecrow, pumpkin and flower decorations. Try and hit up all of zany Zeeland with Pumpkin Bowling, Pumpkin Decorating, a Pumpkin Hunt, Children's Fun Run and Adult 5K, Senior Bingo — and don't forget the parade on Saturday at 3 p.m. with a little more than 100 floats. Contests include seed spitting, pumpkin bake off, chalk art and a pet costume contest. There's a whole area designated just for little kids featuring bounce houses, cookie decorating, face painting, a pedal power tractor pull and fun with balloons. "Kids love the pedal pull," said Executive Director Carla Flanders, who loves the event's community atmosphere. "It's very low cost, very family friendly." Head to the website to find out more (because yes, there is more).
Bark in the Dark
Humane Society of West Michigan
3077 Wilson NW, Grand Rapids
Oct. 12, 7 p.m.
$30 registration fee
hswestmi.org, (616) 791-8089
What happens in the dark stays in the dark — unless you have glow gear like necklaces and bracelets. Have fun at night at this glow-in-the-dark 5K run/walk to benefit the animals at the Humane Society of West Michigan. Marketing and Events Coordinator Nicole Cook describes the event as a "fun, exciting and family focused." This evening is for anyone who owns a pet, wants to walk in memory of a pet, is thinking about adopting or who is looking for a fun 5K to participate in. Feel free to bring your pet along for the walk or come on your own. Dogs are welcome to attend but must be well-behaved (able to handle being around other dogs and people), up-to-date on vaccines and leashed. Event coordinators are working on having live music as well. Raise money, enjoy the night and walk among your fellow animal lovers—they're pretty good peeps.
Grand Rapids Public Museum
272 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids
Oct. 26 to April 27
$8/adults, $3/children ages 3-18, free for ages 2 & under
grmuseum.org, (616) 456-3977
If big, ferocious, out-of-this-world animatronic dinosaurs are your idea of a scary good time, you'll want to get to the Grand Rapids Public Museum for a dose of large-and-in-charge exhibits. Animatronic dinosaurs and skeleton fossils are ready to view in this exhibit that highlights the discovery of feathered dinosaurs and modern day birds. So, the example is that the T-Rex was feathered as a juvenile. Guests follow a safari or jungle-like path through the museum to view around 16 dinosaurs contained behind roped-off barriers as they move and make noise. The smallest dinosaurs are seven feet long with the largest hitting 59 feet long. "It's really educational," said Kate Moore, director of marketing and public relations. "There's a heavy science focus and it's entertaining. What kid hasn't been infatuated with dinosaurs?" The dinosaurs are brought to life through programming including several hands-on opportunities such as fossil molds and a mock dig.