WORCESTER — As Halloween approaches, children all over the country are gearing up for the season of spookiness.
The EcoTarium, 222 Harrington Way, is getting into the act with Great Pumpkin Nights, to be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 19-22 and Oct. 26-29. Admission is $16, $12 for EcoTarium members, free for children under 2.
Group rate tickets for 20 or more are available for $12 apiece. For more information, call EcoTarium Reservations at (508) 929-2703.
All proceeds benefit the EcoTarium. No passes, coupons or discounts apply. The event will be held rain or shine. You can also visit the EcoTarium website or Facebook page.
Advance registration is encouraged, and tickets can be purchased here.
Friendly Halloween costumes are encouraged, and visitors should dress for the weather, and bring a flashlight. Trick-or-treat stations will be set up throughout the facility. Light dinner items, snacks and festival foods will be available for purchase. In addition, picnicking is welcome on the EcoTarium grounds. Beverage and snack vending machines are available inside the museum on the middle level.
“This is our 14th year doing this," EcoTarium President Joe Cox said. “The event really has gotten to be so popular that we decided to expand it to eight nights throughout October. This is one of our major fundraisers, so it’s a great way for people to support the museum."
Mr. Cox said the logistics were a factor in the alterations in the program.
“When it was a one-night event, could receive up to 5,000 people at once," he said. “Our goal for the eight nights is 1,500 people per night. We are limiting the number of attendees we bring in each night so that they can be spread easily over our 55-acre campus. That way, visitors will feel they are exploring all this in a much quieter environment."
In addition to the spooky goings-on, visitors are invited to take a train ride on the Explorer Express Train, presented by the Worcester Railers Hockey Club, for which an additional ticket is required.
“We will have over 3,000 pumpkins at the site," Mr. Cox said. “This year, for the first time, all of the pumpkins will be professionally carved. They won’t be just the traditional jack-o’-lanterns. We actually have these spectacular displays, some of which are over 20 feet tall. They will depict such creatures as dinosaurs, lions, tigers and other animals. It’s going to be absolutely stunning."
Mr. Cox said that the event is a critical part of making sure that the EcoTarium has the funds to help the community as a whole.
“Every year, the EcoTarium commits to raising about $400,000 to give back to the community,” he said. “That includes supporting low-income, at-risk schools for field trips, scholarships for summer camp, as well as making our free admission days possible.”
Mr. Cox said he expects the show to be a tremendous success, as it has been in previous years.
“It’s really a great show, and lots of fun for the entire family,” he said. “It helps people get into the spirit of the season, as well as supporting all of the great work the EcoTarium does for the community.”