Anniston Museum and Gardens Fall Fest returns this Saturday after taking a timeout last year due to the effects of COVID-19 on public events.
Organizers have made the 6th annual festival an all-day affair, scheduling numerous events, presentations and exotic critters to dazzle the attendees.
Aimee Grey, education director at the Anniston Museums and Gardens, said the fall festival will be campuswide at all of the museum facilities: Berman Museum, Anniston Museum of Natural History and the Longleaf Botanical Gardens.
There will be a live animal presentation at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. which will include spiders and other “creepy crawlers” keeping in the spirit of Halloween. The afternoon presentation’s theme will be “Which animals wear costumes,” Grey said.
“It’s a great way to kick off fall, it’s something for everyone. We’re going to have crafts and activities, experiments for the kids, we’ll have Alabama Herpetological Society — it’s a great way to see both the Anniston Museum of Natural History and the Berman Museum but also to be able to experience additional things with the natural world,” Grey said.
The Berman Museum, which has been closed for renovations, will be open for visitors to show off its Danger, Deception and Disguise exhibit along with the exhibits on the first floor.
Food vendors including Baby Boy’s BBQ, Called Coffee, Kona Ice, Kristi’s Classics and Whitz Kids Concession will offer plenty of food and drink so guests don’t have to leave to have lunch, according to Grey.
Other events and attractions:
— Nature scavenger hunt on a trail located next to the Anniston museum where people “hunt” for certain things on a provided list.
— Asian and African mask display where guests can make their own masks at the Berman Museum. Guests can use the Asian and African mask display for a photo backdrop for selfies using the masks they created.
“Of course we would love it if people tag us on their social media,” Grey said.
According to Grey, the African and Asian masks are not typically on display.
— Exotic Rabbits and More will have exotic rabbits including a 20-pound rabbit along with a miniature donkey.
— Dustbunnies and Dog Hair Petting Zoo
— I Spy! Hayride where people will be able to check off different items that have been placed along the route.
— Lawn games.
— Kids’ corner at both museums which will include “Crack the Code” at the Berman Museum, fall sunburst art and “Blood Red Chlorophyll”, an experiment where kids can learn about why chlorophyll may not just be green after all.
— Inflatable slide
— Face painting
— Picnic areas
— Sensory Safari trailer
— Alabama Herpetological Society will have snakes and other reptilian creatures for viewing.
Everyone is encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes and according to Grey some of the staff will be wearing their spooky attire.
The wearing of COVID-19 masks is required inside the museums due to a City of Anniston mask mandate that applies to everyone.
Grey said most of the events are outside and she encouraged folks to enjoy their surroundings.
“It’s just another way to get people outside and exploring nature around us, so often I found that for me personally you just don’t slow down enough and once you slow down and you realize everything around you is fascinating.”
Anniston City Manager Steven Folks encouraged everyone to attend the fall festival to enjoy the museums which he calls “one of the best kept secrets, not only for Anniston, but for this region.”
“I invite everyone to come out and see what’s happening out there, I would also ask them to watch out for the future,” Folks said, referring to upcoming improvements at the museums.
IF YOU GO:
What: Fall Fest 2021
Where: Anniston Museums and Gardens, 800 Museum Drive, Anniston
When: October 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Ages 4-17 $10
Ages 0-3 free
Admission for museum members will be half off. Admission will include entry to both the Berman and Anniston Museum of Natural History.
Parking: Parking is available at both museums and at the parking lot at the top of the hill at the Longleaf Botanical Gardens. Overflow parking is available at the Anniston Star / City Hall parking lot where shuttles will be ferrying guests to the festivities.