The 34th Annual Riverside Discovery Center Spooktacular Begins On A Spooky Night






Riverside Discovery Center will bring many new spooky and family-friendly attractions to Spooktacular this year. Pictured is the exit people will pass through after crossing the zoo’s decorated pathway.


NICOLE HELDT, Star-Herald


Halloween takes place at the Riverside Discovery Center (RDC) for the 34th annual Spooktacular with a spooky night on October 13, followed by a more family-friendly experience throughout opening weekend.

“Scary night is scarier costumes, people jumping around – it’s like a traditional haunted house,” said RDC Executive Director Anthony Mason. “It’s through the whole zoo so you’re scared the whole time you walk through the zoo.”

While spooky nights are geared toward a scream-worthy zoo experience, family nights will be Halloween fun with themed areas. The zoo will be adorned with lights and popular movie themes to create a complete family experience.

“We have a lot of new decorations and new themes this year,” Mason said. “There are a lot of fun themed areas that look really great this year – Addams Family, Paw Patrol, Doc McStuffins, Jungle Cruise and the Trolls.”

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For those who have already visited RDC for the event, there are plenty of new additions to Spooktacular this year.

A new addition adds a musical touch to Spooktacular with synchronized singing pumpkins that can be heard over part of the zoo route.

“We added a display of singing pumpkins, a light-up display,” Mason said. “So we have a new vocal display that really adds a musical touch.”







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The Spooktacular at the Riverside Discovery Center will now include miniature golf from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays only. Miniature golf will be available on October 16, 23 and 30.


NICOLE HELDT/Star-Herald


Another novelty, miniature golf, or putt-putt, offered on Sundays only. Tables will be distributed along the Spooktacular course.

“One of the new things we’re offering from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday is that we’ll have putt-putt set up all over the zoo,” Mason said. “People will actually be able to play putt-putt golf through the zoo on Sundays.”

Zoo staff have been busy creating at least 15 themed miniature golf tables. RDC employee Alice Lara said the putt-putt tables would correlate with the Spooktacular scene.

“Each of them is inspired by the scenes we have,” Lara said. “Trolls is really colorful like rainbows and the pirate-themed one is actually going to have a pirate ship.”

Mason said the Spooktacular event wouldn’t happen without Lara, other RDC employees and volunteers.

The zoo will be busy with a large number of volunteers during Spooktacular but there is always room for more.

“It sounds amazing, and they’ve worked really hard to make it happen,” Mason said.

People who attend Spooktacular are encouraged to carpool and wear costumes. The regular zoo entry will actually be the event exit this year. To enter, follow the lights along the path leading south out of the gift shop toward the RV park.

The RDC concession stand will be open during Spooktacular. Admission is $8 per person. Spooky Nights are 7-9 p.m. on October 13, 20, and 27. Family home evenings are from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on October 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29 and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on October 16. 23 and 30.

For more information, call 308-630-6236 or visit www.riversidediscoverycenter.org.

2022 Riverside Discovery Center Spooktacular

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