Resoft Park and venomous caterpillars

We went to a park called Resoft Park today, which is one my parents took us to when I was growing up and one that I haven’t been to in like 15 years.

It’s a nice (if old) park with a big duck pond and a cool play ground with slides and a tunnel and a merry-go-round. We packed a picnic lunch and thought we’d have a good time.

We fed the ducks, which were ravenous and started waddling towards us as soon as we got out of the car. They gobbled up the leftover hamburger buns I had brought in like 30 seconds, snatching the kids’ right out of their hands. I think Annelise’s fingers even got nibbled. But it was fun.

We had fun at the playground, too. Carson liked the slides and having me wait at the bottom to “surprise” him.

Annelise brought the toy dinosaur she’s named Ty and been calling “her best friend.”

They mostly had fun off by themselves.

But then–

Oh, wait. Backstory. Yesterday my mom got stung by a venomous caterpillar when she took the kids to the Children’s Museum. She called my sister and had her Googling it because Mom didn’t know what it was. Turns out it was a puss caterpillar or asp caterpillar, one of the most painful caterpillars in the U.S.


She said it hurt like crazy. But she’s okay.

Anyway, at the park the kids were in a little pavilion playing. I was walking over to meet them when Carson called, “Mom! Look what I found!”

(Don’t worry. This isn’t going to get as bad as it sounds.)

I walked up to see Carson pointing to a little furry caterpillar-looking thing on the bench.

“Wait, don’t touch it,” I said as I walked up. “Some caterpillars are poisonous, remember? Remember yesterday when Mimi got stung? This one might be another type of poisonous–”

I got close enough to get a better look and saw this fuzzy guy:

“That’s EXACTLY the same type of caterpillar that stung Mimi! Get back!”

I backed the kids away, but I think my reaction scared Carson a little. After that he was afraid to walk on the grass or get close to any trees.  It didn’t help that the park had lots of fire ant beds. He became scared of those, too. And the mosquitoes. Pretty much all wildlife. We ate our lunch at another pavilion and headed home after that because Carson kept saying things like this:

“What if the ducks eat our lunch, Mom?”

“We can’t sit here because what if there’s another puss caterpillar?”

“Mom don’t leave the door to the car open or a fire ant might crawl in!”

Poor guy. It ended up being a kind of traumatic trip for him.

I’ll admit it was kind of creepy, though, seeing that little fuzzy ball of venom. Mostly just because I had never seen or heard of anything like it before, and I grew up here. Then two sightings in two days? Weird…

Well, at least we know what to look for now, and know not to touch it.

And we can’t forget that, despite all of that, we did have fun at the park. :)


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