Sunday, October 5, 2008

Texas Parks & Wildlife Expo

TX Wildlife Expo

Let me start off by saying one weekend is NOT enough time to do all the fun things they have at the Expo. This was our first year to go, and it was awesome! David is out of town for work, so I took the kids (plus Tristan) after church/Luby's and we caught the shuttle from Highland Mall, which the kids liked as much as the Expo, and so did I since it saved a ton of gas.

When you first get there, they gave out these "Outdoor Kids Challenge" cards to all the kids, with the instructions to check off two activities from each section (the sections being Recreation, Nature and History). Then turn your completed cards in as you leave and be entered into a drawing to win some cool stuff like a lifetime hunting license, camping gear for a family of 4, a fishing trip, etc. So armed with our little orange cards, we set out to do as much as possible, not knowing just how much stuff they have there to do!

We started off in the shooting range, the kids had to do a shooting orientation to learn safety rules, then they got to shoot a rifle at some targets. They also had bow and arrow, crossbow, shotgun, and muzzleloader, but we didn't make it to those.

Then we went to an area called Wildlife CSI where we learned about different kinds of "scat" (poop) and the difference between certain animal tracks, saw a lot of animal furs and skulls. We dug for dinosaur bones, went "fishing" and caught a magnetic fish and they took it to a board to identify what they caught. We went under a red tent (thus the red pictures) and saw a lot of odd fish on ice that they got to touch and hold (ick, it smelled bad!).

There was a Birds of Prey show with Hawks and Falcons, we watched part of that, then learned how to use a compass. They had cones marking certain spots and the kids had to turn the compass to a certain degree and write on the clipboard what cone they were pointing to. The got to ride a giant fake buffalo, and the boys practiced roping a fake steer while Regan checked out the horses.

Regan then ground some corn while Tristan made rope, and Riley learned about some historical artifacts. Then we met a real Buffalo Soldier and he explained to us how they came to be known as "Buffalo Soldiers" and a little about their past. They had a lot of stuffed (as in taxidermy) animals around, so of course the kids were having fun playing and posing with those.

Then we went back to the fishing area and got to fish for catfish (no luck today) and by that time it was closing time and we had a LONG walk back to the shuttle! We were exhausted but had such a great time, we've decided next year, hopefully dad will be in town and come with us, but we are going first thing on Saturday so we can spend the WHOLE day there and get more stuff done, like, plucking a game bird, scuba diving, or paddling a kayak!!

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