Halloween festival Boone/Blowing Rock
Tweetsie Railroad: Ghosts, ghouls, thrills and chills
Tweetsie Railroad's Ghost Train Halloween Festival is 7:30-11:30 p.m. Friday, and runs every Friday and Saturday through Nov. 3. Festival-goers will discover a train full of family-friendly activities. Tour the new 13-room Haunted House; check out the black-light show at the Haunted Palace Saloon; ride to Mournful Mountain by chair-lift or by bus and go through the 3-D Maze and Tunnel of Terror; stop by the Creepy Carnival and walk through the Black Hole and then take some time to ride the rides. Kids can also take part in trick-or-treating throughout the park.
Cost: $26; free for 2 and younger. Advance tickets are required. Tweetsie Railroad is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains on U.S. 321, between Boone and Blowing Rock. Details and tickets: 877-893-3874; www.tweetsie.com.
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Get ‘Wild About Animals' at Triad-area museum
The Museum of Life + Science in Durham will present “Wild About Animals,” 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 11. The event gives visitors an in-depth look at how the museum's staff cares for over 60 species of animals in its animal department, from woodchucks to black bears, red wolves to red hawks.
The day will feature opportunities to perform keeper duties, get behind the scenes, meet the museum's veterinarian, learn about animal enrichment and design toys to enrich the museum's animals and pets at home. Activities that require fees and pre-registration include: Junior Keeper (caring for and feeding the animals); Carolina Critters Program (learn about predator/prey relationships); Behind the Scenes Tours (see “staff only” areas of animal department); and Exploring Animal Behavior (see what wildlife biologists do).
Program prices vary. Cost for admission: $10.85; $7.85 for ages 3-12; $8.85 for 65 and older and active military; free for 2 and younger. The museum is at 433 Murray Ave. Details: 919-220-5429; www.lifeandscience.org.
Halloween hot spots Outer Banks
Spooky spots and ghosts on the coast
The southern Outer Banks has a history of pirate tales, mysteries, maritime heritage and wartime tragedies and triumphs. That background makes the Crystal Coast – which includes Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Beaufort and Cape Lookout – a popular Halloween destination. Attractions include the haunted houses of Beaufort; Fort Macon with its legend of ghost soldiers; the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, which stood watch over thousands of ships that sank in the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”; the Old Burying Grounds in Beaufort (1731); and Shackleford Banks, where wild horses – the survivors of Spanish galleon shipwrecks – still roam.
The Crystal Coast offers a variety of lodging options, from seaside cottages and oceanfront hotels to coastal bed and breakfast inns. They include the Inlet Inn ($85 per night) and Pecan Tree Inn Bed and Breakfast ($110 per night), both in Beaufort; the Holiday Inn in Morehead City ($105 per night); Sheraton in Atlantic Beach ($154 per night); and Bluewater GMAC's eight-bedroom oceanfront rental, Sand Dollar ($3,595 per week). Details: 800-786-6962; www.crystalcoastnc.org. Rochelle Reynoldson