Nature by night
How about taking a nature hike? At night. In the dark. What's that you say? You're afraid that some machete-wielding lunatic from Camp Crystal Lake will jump out of the woods and get you? I think you've seen too many of those teen-slasher movies. Trust me, this will be fun. Join nature guy Keith Harrison at the Irvine Natural Science Center for a three-mile hike through the surrounding woods on Jan. 21. Leave the flashlight at home and let the moon's glow be your guide. Along the way, Keith will stop to tell hikers some woods lore. Let's just hope there'll be no stories about people with chain saws.
Winter Night Hike, Irvine Natural Science Center, St. Timothy's School, 8400 Greenspring Ave., Jan. 21, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Cost is $4 for adults and $2 for children. Registration closes today. Call (410) 484-2413.
Taming the wild whippet
Hey kids, if the dog drinks out of the toilet and the cat claws the drapes, maybe it's time to teach them how to behave. On Jan. 29, the experts at the Baltimore Zoo will show children ages 8-12 the basic principles of animal training. Cathy Thompson, the zoo's curator of education, will show children how to get even the laziest pooch or most finicky cat to show some respect and follow simple commands.
Teaching Fido New Tricks, Baltimore Zoo, Druid Hill Park, Jan. 29. Session 1, for 8- to 9-year-olds, is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Session 2, for 10- to 12-year-olds, is from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Admission is $9, $6 for members. Registration is required. Call (410) 366-LION.
Clown princes of horror
Wild, outrageous and definitely twisted, the self-proclaimed "clowns of horror," Mump and Smoot, also known as Michael Kennard and John Turner, blast into town for performances this week at Center Stage. Mump and Smoot are clowns for sure, but these bozos are not for children. Picture an existential clown who dares to explore the dark side of the human psyche, a manic depressive in pancake makeup, a David Lynch movie where everyone wears funny hats and red-rubber noses -- and you've got Mump and Smoot. The duo, who hail from Canada, will be performing a work called "Caged," which deals with fear, friendship, dying, torture, vampirism, religion and loneliness. But funny, they say. By the way, the guys speak their own language, called Ummo, a sort of pig Latin with an occasional word of English thrown in for comprehension.
Mump and Smoot, Center Stage, 700 N. Charles St., Jan. 20-21, 8 p.m. Tickets $18, $15 for members. Call (410) 332-0033.