Museum hosts fright fest for kids

Sylvia Butanda

The 3rd Annual “Fright at the Museum” at the Texas Memorial Museum featured special exhibits that highlighted the museum’s scariest specimens and offered a variety of Halloween-themed children’s arts and crafts activities.

This Halloween event was aimed at educating kids about animals they might think are “spooky” and “creepy,” said Christina Cid, education director at the Texas Memorial Museum.

“Animals such as insects and snakes that are considered to be scary are ones that we can help the kids learn about and get excited about with the booths we have set up,” Cid said.
The central focus of the event included several booths that exhibited live scorpions, spiders, worms and bugs for the public to learn about.

One of the three scorpion booths featured African Emperor scorpions in a white box with a black light. The effect of this black light showed kids how all scorpion species have a fluorescent outer shell.

“We’re trying to show kids that [scorpions are] really interesting and there’s no need to be afraid of the animals,” said Lynne Marie Weber, a volunteer at the Texas Memorial Museum.

The Blood Center of Central Texas hosted a blood drive in front of the museum and an activity titled, “Who’s out for Blood?” where kids explored the museum exhibits about
blood-drinking animals.

One station transformed the museum’s paleontology lab into the “Skeleton Sorcery,” which featured several animal skulls for the public to view and learn about.

“This is a chance for visitors to explore the beauty of skulls,” said Pamela Owen, senior paleontology educator for the Texas Memorial Museum. “We’re showing skulls from the museum’s teaching collection and talking to people about them.”

Kids gathered around a station that featured a variety of fossilized insects which are uncommon to find with as much detail as the examples at the museum.

“The level of resolution that you need to get a fossil insect well preserved is incredible and really rare so to have these fossils on display is something pretty cool for the kids to see,” said geological sciences graduate student Natasha Vitek.

Printed on Monday, October 31, 2011 as: Museum hosts fright fest for kids