Around this time of the year, wagon rides and haunted houses pop up in time for Halloween. But, the county is offering a special scary house that will let you canoodle with a newt, pet a snake or touch a toad.
For one day, the Fairfax County Park Authority will be transforming the fields around E. C. Lawrence Park’s Cabell’s Mill into a Haunted Meadows, complete with a scary wagon ride, ghosts, wacky badgers, creepy movies and a reptile house where visitors can handle live animals, said Tony Bulmer, a county naturalist. During the ride, the wagon will stop several times for skits put on by county employees.
At the reptile house, live animals will be displayed and visitors will be encouraged to handle some of them, Bulmer said. A few of the animals, like the snakes, Bulmer will catch in the wild especially for the show. They will all be released the next day.
“Although this is haunted wagon ride, it’s also important for people to get over their fears,” Bulmer said. “And, really one fear that a lot of people seem to have is a fear of snakes.
The whole idea is to have fun, but educate at the same time, he said.
“Sure, we live in a heavily urbanized urban environment,” Bulmer said, “but it’s still important to connect with nature around us.”
The wagon rides will depart from Cabell’s Mill, 5235 Walney Rd., in Chantilly. Cabell's Mill is historically significant, probably built by Willoughby Newton between 1753 and 1759. Ellanor C. Lawrence, wife of U.S. News and World Report founder and publisher, David Lawrence, purchased the mill in 1944 and used it as a guesthouse. The county received the house and surrounding property in 1971 from Mrs. Lawrence's estate.
The rides will run from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Oct. 26; $6 for children under 12 and $8 for adults. Children must be accompanied by an adult. You can buy your ticket at the site, no advanced registration is required. For more information call 703-631-0013.