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A night of creepy-crawly fun





The roaches nibbled at an orange slice and crawled over a toy couch as kids at the 12th annual Sternberg Spooktacular pressed their faces up to the cage and gawked.

Nicknamed the roach motel, the insects were one stop along an entertaining and educational Halloween-themed tour through the Sternberg Museum of Natural History on Thursday. Families and their children wore costumes and saw mice, rats, a 60-year-old tortoise named Pebbles, frogs, toads and snakes.

Museum volunteers and Fort Hays State University students staffed the stations and led the tours. A mad scientist character poured water over dry ice and added soap to cause a reaction that resembled a boiling cauldron.

Laura Haffner, a mother attending the event, said she never had been to the museum prior to the event. The program was a good opportunity for her 3-month-old son, Layne, to see new things, Haffner said.

“I think it’s a great, safe activity for kids of all ages to come in and experience different sights and sounds here at the museum,” Haffner said.

Ashton Putz, a third-grader at Lincoln Elementary School — dressed as a night-ninja — said the snakes were the highlight of the exhibits.

“I thought the snakes were really cool, because I like the way they slither around and smell,” he said.

Sarah Myers, a volunteer and FHSU senior, said the best part of the event was watching the children.

“The best part was seeing the kids’ reaction,” Myers said. “It’s really interactive, and just a lot of fun.”

The event also included a haunted museum tour for older children.

Lifetime Dental Care donated toothbrushes to the event and promoted its Nov. 4 Cash for Candy program. Trick or treaters can sell their candy to the office at 2701 Sternberg from 5 to 7 p.m. for $1 a pound, and the candy will be sent to Kansas military troops.