In its former life, the steamer Sainte Claire was an amusement-park ferry boat in Detroit. But the 93-year-old wooden vessel will spend the Halloween season docked in Lorain, where it's now known as the Nautical Nightmare. The attraction features a "Ballroom of Terror," complete with skeletal remains, sound effects, and a cast of spooky spirits who jump out of the woodwork. Adjacent to the ballroom lies "First-Class Nightmare," where a demonic young girl serves as your haunted hostess. "It's eye candy," says Diane Evon, the boat's co-owner. "You'll go, 'Wow, that's so neat' -- and all of a sudden, you'll get scared."
At 197 feet long and 65 feet wide, the three-level ship is large enough to swallow passengers alive. "We may have to come find you," Evon jokes. Nautical Nightmare is open from 8 p.m. to midnight Thursday through Sunday at Black River Landings, at the corner of Broadway and East Erie Avenue in Lorain. Admission is $14; call 800-203-5960. -- Cris Glaser
Hands get dirty at the Earth Science Fair.
Earth Science Fair 2003 promises to be a down-to-earth affair. "It has everything to do with being environmentally aware," says Summit County Metro Parks naturalist Mark Ludwig. There will be interactive exhibits -- including the hands-on erosion table, which illustrates the effects of attrition -- art-making projects that use recycled materials, a "trashcraft" advocate imparting ways of turning trash into treasure, talks from geology professors, games, and hikes. "Hopefully, the message will be sent to protect the earth," Ludwig says. The fair is from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Brushwood Pavilion at Furnace Run Metro Park (off Townsend Road in Richfield). Admission is free. Call 330-865-8065 for more information. -- Allen Miller
The Cleveland Metroparks' Fall Hayrides are more than just picturesque wagon trips on a park trail. There's also a good ol' time to be had with square dancing and campfires (on Saturday), and clowns, magicians, and carnival games (on Sunday). Seasonal refreshments will be served, too. Hayrides happen every half-hour from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday through October 26 at the Chalet Recreation Area (on Valley Parkway in Mill Stream Run Reservation, between Routes 42 and 82 in Strongsville). The other activities run concurrently. Admission is $7, $5 for kids, and free for children under 2. Call 440-572-9990 for more information. -- Michael Gallucci
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