Wildlife Experience has adventure on the brain

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It’s a way for kids to experience something new.

The Outdoor Adventure Fest, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 7, was created to further The Wildlife Experience’s mission of inspiring respect for wildlife and the outdoors through adventure and education. Introduced last year as the Big Bash, a celebration to mark the museum’s 10th anniversary, the Outdoor Adventure Fest has been renamed and grown to even bigger proportions in 2013.

“It’s not just wildlife and the outdoors,” said Christopher Goetz, events and promotions coordinator for The Wildlife Experience. “It’s getting people out to do things.”

That especially goes for children, whom statistics show are spending less time playing outside than ever. The Outdoor Adventure Fest is loaded with activities, from a backyard bass casting game to spin art to birdhouse building. Visitors will also become enthralled with dog training demonstrations, archery classes, whitewater rafting discussions and mixed martial arts seminars.

And perhaps the most enticing aspect — at least to penny-wise parents — is the low cost. Admission to the festival is $1 and includes access to the museum and all of its exhibits, as well as the Extreme Screen theater.

“For people who have never stopped by, this is their chance to try it out,” Goetz said. “We believe these folks will come back and sign up for memberships.”

Other “adventure activities,” like the zip line, bungee jump, climbing wall and hamster balls, require two to five tickets. The $1 tickets can also be used to purchase kettle corn, barbecue, cotton candy and other food.

The fest is meant, in part, to promote The Wildlife Experience’s fall lineup of classes and excursions. There is already tremendous interest in fly fishing and ice fishing classes, and plans are being finalized for snowshoeing, hiking and camping trips, including an overnight stay at Castlewood Canyon State Park near Franktown.

“This gives patrons an opportunity to try some of these things, and as their skills advance, they can take it to the next level and go out on their own,” Goetz said.

The Wildlife Experience partnered with like-minded organizations with similar philanthropic missions. Westminster’s Butterfly Pavilion was invited to teach people about the gentle insects, and the Wolf Sanctuary from LaPorte will talk about the dangers facing some of North America’s most elusive creatures.

For more information, visit www.thewildlifeexperience.org.