If you’re looking for a spooky time this weekend, check out Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Gardens

Misha McRae, executive director of the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about upcoming events.

Screaming Green Halloween at the Key West tropical Forest and Botanical Garden will happen this Saturday from 10am to 2pm. It’s $5 per child and $10 per family.

McRae said, “We have costume contests. We have games activities, you name it, we’ve got it. We’re looking for the whole community to come out and enjoy a great day out of the garden and do some spooky stuff around the garden. If you’re interested in sponsoring, we still need volunteers. Please reach out to me but it is a highly anticipated fun event to learn a little bit about nature about the migration that’s going on right now and giving the children of the community an opportunity on an adult friendly weekend.”

The garden is going to be a bit spooky.

McRae said, “We have a number of businesses, community members and members of the Botanical Garden sponsoring the candy booth. We have games, we have activities, two costume contests. That will be for five and under and six to 12. That will be highly judged and anticipated in three different categories. A lot of the community organizations are here. It is a jam packed four hours at the Botanical Garden.”

Recycling will also be discussed.

McRae said, “The forest recycles itself every day and to save this earth, we need to be doing the same thing. So we tried to do as much as we can, in a fun way to teach and learn about recycling and the many different ways that we can repurpose items.”

There is also a playground for kids to enjoy.  

McRae said, “It’s been well used since we installed it two years ago. We will have also a lot of activities and games that children can use to burn off that sugar high that they’ll get.”

The Costume Contest starts at 12:15 for five and under.

McRae said, “So please be there early, and with a lot of stuff to do, plan at least an hour and a half or two hours to be at the garden.”

Scarecrows in the Forest is continuing through November.

McRae said, “We’re thinking about extending it to December because it is typical, well I guess it’s atypical for Key West down here to have scarecrows, but we are still looking for more scarecrows. So if anyone’s interested in building one and bringing it out to the garden, please reach out to me. This is once again another effort to educate the importance of repurposing and recycling because all of our scarecrows are made from recycled items. They are displayed throughout the grounds. So you kind of have to discover them. It’s funny and it’s fun. Sometimes it’s scary because they are scarecrows.”

There is a campaign underway to replace a sorely needed new building for the Education Outreach at the Botanic Gardens.

McRae said, “I thank the community. We’ve raised just over $35,000 so far. It’s about 10 percent of what we’re going to need. So anybody that’s interested in helping out, we have this old construction trailer, the education has been in it that has just outlived itself. They’re sorely in need of a new office. We already the location and everything. We just need the funds in order to build it, an up to date education that has a library, that has a classroom, that has storage space, that has all the stuff that we need. Because with us bringing in about 3,000 students a year, our goal this year is 3,500, we need a building to put them in. So we’re asking the community to please step up and help us with a capital campaign to raise the money that we need to build a new education office.”

Volunteers are always needed.

McRae said, “We’ve been a volunteer organization since 1936 when the garden was created through the WPA. We still are. Keep in mind that I have a staff of eight that runs the garden, three full time and five part time people. The volunteers are called the guardians for a reason because they are the guardians of our forest. Volunteers are always needed, not only for the events that weekend, but we have a wonderful program where you can be outdoors, learn about nature, learn about native plants and help this garden grow. Once again, if you’re interested reach out to me or go to our website for all the information you need.”

The Key West Botanical Garden will be continuing for many, many decades to be a crown jewel of Key West.

“That is our mission,” McRae said. “That is our hope. I thank citizens of Key West who voted 91 percent in favor of our new 99 year lease. We’re going to be around for a while. Keep in mind, we’ve been there for 87 years, what’s another 99, right? The Botanical Garden is a community center. That Screaming Green Halloween is sponsored by the community. As I pointed out, they’re the ones that sponsor the tables, the games, the activities, the candy booths. So thank you to the community of Key West and our citizens for not only supporting this event, but continuing their support for the historic Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Gardens.”