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SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2007
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The trick to fall fun? An ‘a-maize-ing’ adventure in Valley

By Patrice Stewart
pstewart@decaturdaily.com · 340-2446

From exotic animals and gems to pumpkins, mazes, scarecrows and hayrides, there’s plenty to do in the Valley this fall.

Fall break is just ahead for students at several area schools. Here are ideas to help plan activities that will educate and entertain children, as well as adults.

See exotic animals during a ride through Harmony Park Animal Preserve in Huntsville to observe all kinds of animals, such as kangaroos, llamas, emus and zebras. You’ll see reptiles, amphibians and fowl from around the world. Go south on Memorial Parkway and turn left on Hobbs Island Road; go 9 miles and turn right on Cloud’s Cove Road (No. 421). Hours are 10 a.m. to sundown daily in October; phone (877) 726-4625.

Look for pumpkins at Tate Farms in Meridianville, where you can hand-pick your own and also take a hayride and visit the petting zoo. Hours are Monday through Friday 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Oct. 30. An admission fee is charged at Tate Farms, which is located at 8414-A Moores Mill Road, Meridianville, phone 828-8288.

Check out the pre-Halloween fun at the Farmers Market, 1022 Cook Ave. in Huntsville. This Halloween Fun House for pre-school through elementary students doesn’t include anything scary, and there’s no admission fee. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Oct. 31.

Take in “Disney’s High School Musical On Stage” performed by Backstage Theatre Co. in Decatur. Performances are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Oct. 14 at the Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $10 at the Princess Theatre box office, 340-1778, and through its Web site, www.princesstheatre.org, or call Studio One, 214 E. Moulton St., 309-0041.

Look at dressed-up scarecrows on the Scarecrow Trail and Enchanted Forest at the Huntsville Botanical Garden, 4747 Bob Wallace Ave. Hayrides and a maze are planned on weekends. Visit the nature center with indoor waterfall and the children’s and other specialty gardens while you’re there. Hours are Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Check the Web site, www. hsvbg. org, or call 830-4447 for admission fees.

Walk on the moon beside the astronauts, or at least get that feeling, at the IMAX movie “Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D” at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville. Call 721-7114 or check www.spacecamp.com for times and admission fees.

Take in Tunnels of Terror, Huntsville’s only indoor haunted Halloween attraction, located at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. However, the youngest age will be entertained with inflatables and child-friendly characters passing out candy while older ones are being scared silly. Open Thursday from 6 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to midnight; call 837-3400 for admission.

Learn about robotics while checking out an exhibit at Sci-Quest in Huntsville. This exhibit, designed by the Carnegie Science Center, shows what robots are, how they work and how they will change the future. Visit www.sci-quest.org or call 837-0606 for hours and fees for the center, which is located at 102-D Wynn Drive.

Be amazed at The Maize while you try to find your way out of this puzzling corn field at Brownsboro, east of Huntsville. From U.S. 72 East, go left on Brownsboro Road (between mile markers 107 and 108). Make an immediate left behind the post office. For hours and admission fees, call 687-6293 or check www.cornfieldmaze.com.

Get that artistic feeling when you “See the Music” at the current exhibit at Decatur’s Carnegie Visual Arts Center on Church Street. Digital artist and composer Brian Evans of Tuscaloosa creates swirling graphic designs by taking sound and converting it to a numeric computer code, which then creates the graphics. This free exhibit is open through Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Call 341-0562. At the Huntsville Museum of Art, a family-friendly exhibition teaches the basics of understanding art in 3-D with a selection of works from the permanent collection. Call the museum, 300 Church St. in Huntsville, at 535-4350 for admission fees and details.

Visit the Indian Heritage Harvest Festival on Oct. 20 to celebrate autumn and Native Americans at Burritt on the Mountain. This museum is combining two festivals, Harvest Fest and the Indian Heritage Festival. Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Creek crafts, music, dancing and storytelling are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with hands-on activities for children and concessions. Harvest activities on a 19th-century farm will include sorghum processing, apple butter making, blacksmithing and more. Admission fees are $5 to $8. Call 536-2882 or check www.burrittonthemountain.com.

Show is a gem

Take in some gems at the 39th annual Gem, Jewelry and Mineral Show next weekend in Huntsville, where children will be fascinated by the “rock food table” with meats, potatoes, fruits and dinnerware all made entirely of various stones. Members of the Huntsville Gem and Mineral Society and vendors will have jewelry, crystals, gems, beads and other supplies, fossils, demonstrations, a panning flume and children’s gem dig at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 14. Children under 5 are free, and everyone gets in for a $2 donation.

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