Celebrate Slimy Heroes of the Forest - Visit Rainier

Celebrate Slimy Heroes of the Forest

Human slug races, tentacle headbands, and other slug-like activities for the whole family July 30-31

Slug Fest participants
Metro Parks Northwest Trek Slug Fest. photo coverage. Photos by Russ Carmack

Once upon a slime, in the beautiful forest just outside of Eatonville, banana slugs slowly roamed the grounds of Northwest Trek Wildlife Park… and they still do! Since its first festivities in 1983, guests to Northwest Trek have kept the annual Slug Fest event sluggin’ along, celebrating the greenish-yellow banana slug year after year. This year, the unusual tradition returns July 30 and July 31 from 10am-3pm.  

“It’s the slipperiest, slimiest, and wackiest event in the Northwest,” said Northwest Trek Education Curator Craig Standridge. “We’re delighted to keep this longstanding tradition of celebrating slugs alive.”  

Why do we have this zaniest of festivals?

Well, if you’ve ever hiked a Northwest forest, you’ll know our slugs are among the biggest and best – especially the banana slug. But they’re also vital to our ecosystem, breaking down organic matter and returning it to the forest floor, where it becomes food for our plants and trees.  

“Banana slugs are more than mucous, slow-moving creatures,” said Standridge. “They are incredibly beneficial to the environment and help increase the quality of soil, making the world a better place.” 

Slip, Slime and Slugs 

Events will include the always popular human slug races, in which participants inch their way, much like their animal counterparts, along a soapy and slimy water track on their bellies. Be the most slug-cessful contestant and you can proudly claim you “snailed it!” Waterproof slug costumes will be provided.  

Register 15 minutes before the races begin at the tent near the Picnic Pavilion inside the front gates. Guests will be paired up with others in their age group (4-6, 7-9, 10-12, 13-17, and 18+). Race times: 11:30am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm.  

Guests can also make their own tentacle headbands out of construction paper and pipe cleaners, craft snail suncatcher decorations, and learn to see the world through a slug’s perspective. And make sure to stop by the newly reopened Cheney Discovery Center to see a banana slug up close.  

Feeling slug-ish? Remember – Wild Drive tours give you free admission to Slug Fest and core area animals, plus the chance to see elk, mountain goats and more from the comfort of your air-conditioned car. Book now, spots limited. 

Slug Fest is free with admission or membership to the wildlife park. To learn more about Slug Fest, visit: nwtrek.org.  

Area Lodging 

Click here for area accommodations near Northwest Trek Wildlife Park.

Participants at Slug Fest
Metro Parks Northwest Trek Slug Fest. photo coverage. Photos by Russ Carmack