Oct. 18, 2017
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
The outdoors shouldn’t scare anyone, unless it’s all for fun. That’s what the Gov. Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center has planned for its 15th annual Boo on the Bayou scheduled for Oct. 27-28.
Dawn Cook, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission natural resources program technician at the nature center, said, “It’s been an awesome event and it’s just gotten bigger every year.” As many as 6,000 visitors from throughout southeast Arkansas have attended over the two nights leading up to Halloween, she said
Eric Maynard, the AGFC’s assistant chief for Nature Centers and Regional Education Coordinators and in charge of GMHDRNC, said, “This year, our entertainment will be more prominent.” He said rather than placing the disc jockey/emcee in the back of the facility parking lot as they’ve done in past years, the DJ will be centralized in the middle of the center’s parking lot with more activities going on around him.
Look for dance contests and prize giveaways throughout the evening, including some that will be spur-of-the-moment at the DJ’s whim, and “just more fun stuff this year,” Cook said.
Of course, a major annual attraction at Boo on the Bayou is the haunted nature trail.
“The Haunted Trail is always real popular,” Maynard said. “In the last few years we’ve also been doing a Spooky Maze for our younger kids. Our games are kind of unusual, too, because they are nature center-related, like having a ring toss on deer antlers, Skee-Ball rolled into duck decoys, a frog toss – not with a real frog, of course. We have shooting games like a rubber duck shoot and a Daisy BB gun range to shoot BBs.”
For the first time, Boo on the Bayou has a presenting sponsor. Maynard said Jefferson Regional Medical Center has stepped into the role and will have employees volunteering each night helping run games, overseeing the inflatables and giving out candy. Maynard said the event typically requires 70-80 volunteers to help make it run smoothly.
Boo on the Bayou’s hours are 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27-28. The event is free. Free parking will be available across from the Regional Park softball complex, and city buses will ferry eventgoers to and from the nature center. The nature center itself will be closed, as all the Boo on the Bayou activities occur outside. Attendees are encouraged to come in costume.
Other local businesses are welcome to join the medical center employees and AGFC personnel and volunteer at the event, host a booth and put up banners.
“We’re always looking for help up to the last minute,” Maynard said. “People can face-paint, or work any of the game booths. If they like to dress up they can work on the haunted trail.” Anybody wanting to volunteer should contact Dawn Cook at 870-534-0011.
The Gov. Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center is at 1400 Black Dog Road in the Pine Bluff Regional Park, just off the Martha Mitchell Expressway (U.S. Highway 65 B) and east of the courthouse and Lake Saracen. Regular operating hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. The center is closed Monday.