The forest is a different place when the sun goes down. All sorts of nocturnal creatures come out from hiding and, with the lack of traffic lights and street lamps, the stars shine a bit brighter. Explorers of all ages are invited to reveal in this wondrous and dark outdoor world in Pacific Spirit Regional Park this Saturday for the annual Night Quest.
The “quest” has been taking place for nearly 20 years. It started out as a Scouts event, where campers would be led out for a night hike throughout the University Endowment Lands. (It wasn’t officially a regional part until 1989.) Eventually, the person who guided the campers suggested to the park’s educational programmer that they broaden the event.
“They thought hey, why don’t we make this into a bigger community event,” says Vanessa Lee, who is the park interpretation leader.
There are different areas to discover at Night Quest, depending on what mood you’re after. In the front of the park, there’s a livelier atmosphere, with many of the park’s partners – like the Young Naturalist Club and the Pacific Spirit Park Society – taking part in some fun stuff like smores making, singalongs, a drum circle and storytelling.
The Royal Astronomical Society will also be on hand with giant telescopes that will allow people to take a closer look at the sky. (Fingers cross it will be a clear night.)
“People don’t get to have those kind of experiences in the city,” says Lee.
Two kilometers of trails will be lit with lanterns that lead into the forest for a quieter atmosphere that will allow hikers to experience the park at night. Experts will be on hand at stands set up throughout the park to talk about the ecology and creatures that live there.
“There’s a little bit of festivities but also quiet time and some fun learning as well,” says Lee.
The event happens rain or shine, with giant tents set up throughout the park. But be sure to come prepared and dress warmly!
Night Quest takes place Saturday, March 16 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
It’s located at 16th Ave Park Entrance (400m west of Blanca)