Cartersville's Pettit Environmental Preserve is set to host spiders of all shapes and sizes, including a Rosehair Tarantula, for Halloween.
The preserve is set to open to the public Saturday, Oct. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for Fall Hike: Spidermania! The event, including self-led hikes and activities, is free.
"The Fall Hike is always our best attended event," Executive Director Marina Robertson said in a release. "We’ve been using the fall hike for a scary creatures series and it’s been a big hit with the community."
Spidermania! will feature a visit from a live tarantula, a supersized spider web, spider biofacts and fun, spider-related activities for kids.
Not everyone is fond of spiders, but Ronnie Holcomb, a naturalist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, is a big fan.
"People don’t realize how beneficial they are to the environment, keeping many pests under control," he said. Holcomb will bring his collection of animal artifacts and passion for spiders to the preserve for Spidermania!
Pettit Preserve was created to provide environmental education and promote ecological preservation. The 70-acre property hosts hundreds of school children, home-schoolers and Scouts for field trips, hiking and Scout badge activities every year.
It has trails that feature a swinging bridge, a Learning Shed, two aquatic stations and three amphitheaters for teaching, all nestled around a 9-acre lake. Since 2006, the Preserve has hosted more 4,700 students for field trips.
Since the mission of the preserve is educational, not recreational, it is not open to the public daily for hiking. However, the trails were professionally designed by Switchback Trails, which has built trails all over the country, including the Appalachian Trail. The Summer Hike is an ideal time to experience the trails.
The Pettit Preserve is located off Highway 61, 4 miles south of the Cartersville airport. Turn left on Douthit Bridge Road and continue to fork; right fork is Vineyard Road, which leads to the preserve. For more information on the programs of the Pettit Preserve, including the Spring Hike, visit the website.