The plural doesn't require "the" before it, but it can have "the" before it. It changes the meaning a little.
We saw sand sculptures on the beach.
This just means you saw some sand sculptures while you were on the beach.
We saw the sand sculptures on the beach.
This means that you saw the specific sand sculptures that were on the beach. It makes the sand sculptures sound more important—like they are unique sand sculptures that only exist there, on that particular beach. Or it could mean that someone else had been talking about those specific sand sculptures so you are referring to sand sculptures that had already been discussed.
I would not, however, call either one "an error."