Boo at the Zoo: Halloween Treat for Little Ones

Above, a bobcat peers through several corn stalks at an indoor exhibit at the zoo. (Photo by Scott McCloskey)

WHEELING — Visitors to the Oglebay Good Zoo are encouraged to wear their favorite costumes and come visit trick-or-treat stations, select zoo animal exhibits, a spooky train ride and a Halloween-themed laser light show as part of this year’s Boo at the Zoo event.

As zoo officials prepare for the facility’s annual fall fundraiser, Zoo Director Joe Greathouse said the the event continues to grow each year as more community businesses and organizations are volunteering to help set up all new Halloween displays and treat stations along the maze of walking trails throughout the facility.

“They donate their time to come and decorate the facility,” Greathouse explained, while talking about volunteers who pitch in to decorate. “We try to have new decorations every year, so we’ll have new displays set up through the (main) building and out through the zoo.”

Greathouse said organizations like the Wheeling Fire Department volunteered to set up a colorful display near the children’s playground this year. He said this is the second year in a row the fire department has volunteered to create a display.

Greathouse said the fall event is the zoo’s biggest fundraiser of the year and proceeds benefit the care and conservation of Good Zoo animals.

“We usually have around 14,000 guests that come to Boo at the Zoo during those nine nights,” Greathouse said.

He said the Halloween event attracts guests from all over the tri-state region.

“Everything we do is family friendly — so it is good for any age,” Greathouse added.

In addition to colorful displays inside the facility’s main building, Greathouse said crews are in the process of setting up a miniature Halloween light show, similar to light displays around the park for the Winter Festival of Lights show. He said last year was the first year they incorporated the miniature light show as part of the zoo event.

“As part of the admission price, you go through the zoo, and you go to nine different treat stations within the zoo,” Greathouse said.

He said while the planetarium laser show is included with the admission price, there is an separate fee for the haunted train ride.

“The haunted train ride is going to have a variety things like: dinosaurs, ghosts, witches, zombies, and scarecrows,” he said.

In addition, guests will be able to visit a select number of indoor animal exhibits, including the bobcat exhibit.

Zoo officials recommend to wear comfortable shoes, as the considerable amount of walking is involved in visiting all trick-or-treat stations. According to the zoo’s website, Sunday nights typically have the shortest wait times. Zoo officials also request visitors not bring treat bags, as zoo employees and volunteers are only permitted to put candy in the treat bags provided by the Good Zoo.

The first Boo at the Zoo show is scheduled from 6-8:30 p.m., Friday Oct. 11, and is scheduled at various times every Friday, Saturday and Sunday the second, third and fourth weekends throughout October. For more information about event schedules and rates, call the Good Zoo Office at 304-243-4100.


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