Halloween doesn't have to be scary for little ones, and with that in mind, every year since October 1991 the beautiful woods of the George Owens Nature Park in Independence, Missouri, have been magically transformed into an enchanted forest during the two weekends leading up to Halloween.
The event is sponsored by the Powerhouse Theatre Foundation of Independence in association with the City of Independence Parks and Recreation Department.
A Magical Delight for Thousands
A thousand or more adults take their children each evening of the event to enjoy the non-scary delights of the forest, where guided groups encounter a magical world of fairy tale sprites, dragons and castles and popular storybook or film characters like Humpty Dumpty and the Cowardly Lion from "The Wizard of Oz." The journey through the forest concludes with an old-fashioned hayride.
The gate usually opens at 7 p.m., when people line up to pay a small, nominal admission fee before entering. A word to the wise: Because this is a very popular event, go as early as possible to avoid the long line. Organizers admit anyone who has parked by 9 p.m.
Make sure to consult the Enchanted Forest Facebook page, About section, for the most up-to-date information regarding the event, such as dates, times and fees. On the home page, you'll glimpse the stories and characters that will be represented that year.
In a Park of Natural Wonders
George Owens Nature Park has given families the opportunity to reconnect with their natural environment since 1977. The park is open year-round and provides 86 acres of beautiful forest, rain gardens, a butterfly garden, two fishing lakes, three miles of hiking trails and abundant wildlife.
Come for the day and explore the DeWitt Center, where there are always new rotating exhibits, a pond display, and four large aquariums. Or stay awhile in the campground and eat outdoors in the family picnic area as you take part in the park's outdoor and nature programs for the entire family.
The Enchanted Forest at George Owens Nature Park is located at 1601 S. Speck Rd., Independence, Missouri.