A service of the Oklahoma Wildlife Department
It only happens once a year, and if you enjoy nature, the outdoors, hunting and fishing, you surely won’t want to miss it. It’s the wildly popular Wildlife Expo, coming this weekend, Sept. 23-24. The Lazy E Arena south of Guthrie will again be bustling indoors and outdoors with fun, friends, food and families as the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation presents the 12th edition of the state’s largest outdoor recreation event.
“The Expo has something for everyone in the family, especially the youngsters,” said Rhonda Hurst, Wildlife Expo coordinator. “There are so many things to do and see, I would recommend that families plan to spend the whole day to see and do everything available.”
While the grown-ups will find plenty of interesting things to enjoy, the youngsters are sure to have a blast trying out the dozens of hands-on activities that are designed to give everyone a small taste of recreational opportunities that are available in Oklahoma’s outdoors.
Among the more popular stops for the kids is the shotgun range, where visitors who satisfy the height requirement are able to shoot at flying clay targets. Each year at Expo, hundreds of kids experience for the first time the thrill of firing a shotgun.
Who doesn’t like fishing? At Expo, the entire family can attend a fishing how-to clinic and then actually try their luck in the pond stocked with hungry fish! Then these new anglers can visit a nearby booth where they can learn how to clean fish.
Other youth-oriented activities will return, including the rock-climbing wall, the Expo’s newest attraction. Other fun things the kids can do include:
• Archery and bowfishing.
• Pellet gun and BB gun shooting.
• Mountain biking.
• Laser Shot game.
• Casting Kids.
• Fishing simulator.
• Insect Adventure petting zoo.
• ATV rides.
Between all the activities, take a stroll through the educational booths, where parents and kids can see and learn about topics including Texas horned lizards, furbearers, bird identification, Oklahoma’s sportfish, reptiles and amphibians, falconry and honeybees in a hive.
When it’s time for a snack, there’s not much better than a visit to the Camp Cookin’ in the Heartland exhibit, where Dutch oven cooking is the focus, and visitors can sample something sweet or savory. If you are inside the arena, stop by the Taste of the Wild area and try a bite of venison sausage, fried fish and bison chili.
More than 100 attractions are scattered outdoors throughout the grounds and at booths inside the arena. You’ll cover a lot of ground, so wear your comfortable walking shoes and weather-appropriate clothing, and get ready to find something that catches your attention around every corner!
And for Mom and Dad, one of the best things about the Wildlife Expo is that parking, admission and activities are all free!
The Wildlife Department produces the Wildlife Expo with a range of organizations, individuals and other state agencies, along with hundreds of volunteers to help the event run smoothly. Major sponsors include P&K Equipment, Terry’s Taxidermy, Ralph’s Packing Co., Oklahoma Station Chapter Safari Club International and Sportsman’s Alliance Foundation.
Wildlife Expo hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24. Busloads of students will visit Sept. 22 for School Day. Admission, activities and parking are free. Make plans now to be part of the fun!
For more information, including directions to the Lazy E Arena, go online to www.wildlifedepartment.com and open the “Wildlife Expo” link.