October 18, 2009

Elk Festival

Last weekend we went out to Hardware Ranch for the Elk Festival. Three different people asked if we were going, so I assumed it was a must. And it was pretty cool.

When we got there we saw a big banner that said "Hunter Education Center" and Hannah Jane got all excited. "Hear that Hunter? They have an education center for you over there!" We all laughed at the idea of Hunter getting out of the van and everyone there chorusing, "He's here! Hunter is finally here! Let the education begin!"
We started off in a tent with some trappers all decked out in their skins and furs. They showed the kids how to use flint, quizzed them on which pelts belonged to which animals, and let them hold their fancy, old time guns.
Then we went to the archery center where Hannah Jane got a little lesson in how to use a bow and arrow. She's a natural!

Next we went to the much anticipated Hunter Education area where they told the kids about gun safety (I was underwhelmed with their emphasis on this one) and then proceeded to give Hunter and Hannah Jane an actual BB gun to shoot into the back of a big truck. It went a little something like, "Hey, kids, never ever touch guns. If you see one, tell all of your friends not to touch it and go get an adult. Got it? Okay, now who wants to shoot a gun?" Get my point?

The coolest part, in my opinion, was the Bugs Don't Bug Me area where they had water samples for the Blacksmith Fork River that were full of mayflies and other bugs. They were all scary looking, with pincher looking tails and stinger looking things, but the man assured us that none of them are harmful. I let the boys pick them up, but admittedly, I never touched one myself. They put them in petri dishes and looked at them with magnifying glasses. It was pretty cool. They taught the kids that these bugs can only survive in clean water, so seeing them is a good sign.

Finally, we went inside where the kids made animal tracks with rubber stamps, touched some more pelts, and painted some pumpkins. After all of that fun we went and enjoyed a wagon ride through the protected elk territory. We never saw any elk, but I'm told they were up around the ridge somewhere and if I had looked closely enough I would have seen them.

So, lot of cool stuff other than elk at the Elk Festival. We had fun and will certainly go back next year!

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