July 1, 2016

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Families to adventure in Middle-earth at local park

Kathy Kopach, a volunteer with the Medina County Parks District, reviews the concept for the “Goblin King” she and Medina County Parks naturalist Clair Bailey are working on for the “There and Back Again — A Hobbit’s Adventure,” which kicks off on Dec. 21. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY LOREN GENSON)

Nancy Johnson | The Gazette

J.R.R. Tolkien fans will flock to the movie “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” when it opens in theaters today.

But local youngsters can go on their own adventure in Middle-earth by visiting Wolf Creek this holiday season.

Nichole Houze shows off the goblins that were made by staff and volunteers at the Medina County Park District for “There and Back Again — A Hobbit’s Adventure,” which kicks off on Dec. 21. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY LOREN GENSON)

“There and Back Again — A Hobbit’s Adventure,” co-sponsored by the Medina County District Library, is a free exhibition that opens Dec. 21 at Wolf Creek Environmental Center.

The grand kickoff will include a feast of specially prepared Hobbit refreshments, dragon face-painting, storytelling, a self-guided night tour down a luminaria-lit path and a raffle for the movie-edition book set of “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings,” as well as “The Hobbit” DVD.

“We like to present a big event over the Christmas holiday for families to enjoy,” said Medina County Park District naturalist Clair Bailey. “In the past, we’ve offered events tied to the Harry Potter movies. Now, with the excitement generated by the release of the second Hobbit film, we felt the time was right for the Hobbit Adventure.”

Bailey and other staff members are now building props for the adventure, which will run through Jan. 5.

Guests are encouraged to wear costumes as they follow in the footsteps of Bilbo Baggins. With both indoor and outdoor features, the journey will begin at Baggins’ Hobbit hole, “Bag End,” before winding its way through a goblin maze, past Mirkwood spider webs and over a suspension bridge leading to the Goblin King and the fire-breathing dragon of Lonely Mountain.

“There will also be crafts and games,” said Bailey. “Kids can make hairy Hobbit feet and defeat the dragon by throwing foam arrows at it. They can practice moon-writing with invisible ink and try to find the moon in the exhibit so they can read the message. It will be a lot of fun for all ages.”

“There and Back Again – A Hobbit’s Adventure” kicks off Dec. 21 from 4 to 8 p.m. and runs from Dec. 22 through Jan. 5. Hours: 9–5p.m. weekdays; noon – 5 p.m. Sundays. It will be closed every Monday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. All ages welcome. No registration required. Free admission.

Wolf Creek Environmental Center is located at 6100 Ridge Road in Wadsworth. For more information, call 330-722-9364.

Contact reporter Nancy Johnson at (330) 721-4065 or areanews@medina-gazette.com.

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The Gazette is Medina County's daily local news source, serving the community since 1832. Contact The Gazette's news department at (330) 721-4065 or areanews@medina-gazette.com.