By Brett Nachtigall
HOT SPRINGS – A first-time event, which has the potential to become an annual draw to bring people to Hot Springs from throughout the area, took place at The Mammoth Site last Thursday, Oct. 25.
The first-ever Fossil Fright Night gave one of Hot Springs’ top tourist attractions an opportunity to not only offer something new for local residents to do, but also to get in Halloween disguise themselves, as tour guides dressed in haunted costumes while the bonebed was lit with spooky lighting to match. In addition, many of the attraction’s well-known fiberglass replicas also got in the Halloween spirit, as they too were decked out in gear, including a life-sized Columbian Mammoth in a pirate costume.
“We wanted to create an event for families to have fun and be able to give back to our community,” said Bethany Cook, the site’s marketing coordinator.
The event itself brought in approximately 530 people during its three-hours, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Entry was either three non-perishable food items or $3.52 per person. The food items were donated to the Hot Springs Ministerial Association Food Pantry, with the cash going towards public educational outreach at The Mammoth Site.
Cook said 1,062 pounds of food was donated, with $500 raised for the education programs.
For the first full hour of the event, a line of attendees went from the site’s front counter, out the front doors and then nearly half way down the sidewalk to the large parking lot. Once inside, those who donated food or money, were taken on a tour of the darkened bone bed where they were treated to a moderately modified haunted-version of the normal tour highlights. In addition, there were also a number of games and other hands-on activities.
Most of the young attendees to the event were also in their Halloween costumes, which made the night even more fun for all that took part.
“For the first time doing this type of event, I feel it was very successful,” Cook said. “We were able to make a large contribution to the food pantry and we were able to have community members view The Mammoth Site in a different way, many of whom had never been to the Site before.
“People made comments that they thought this was a great event and so much fun,” added Cook. “Some said this was their first time coming to the Site and that they would be back. We look forward to hosting this event again next year and thank everyone for coming to support this great event for a great cause.”
Two-year-olds Cade Elshere, dressed as a police officer, and Kimber Schuh, dressed as a bumble-bee, try their hand at the Mammoth Mini-Golf Course at last week’s Fossil Fright Night at The Mammoth Site.
Attendees listen to Mammoth Site tour guides at two different tour stops around the bone-bed area, each decorated specially for the Halloween-themed event. The ‘tour talks’ were also modified slightly to give them each a uniquely spookier-than-normal theme.
Photos by Brett Nachtigall/FRC Herald