Monday, September 17, 2012

Free Family Fun at Hoosier Outdoor Experience

Do you ever accidently stumble into an activity that you are pretty sure will become part of a long-standing family tradition?  That is exactly what happened to us this weekend.  I highly recommend that if you live anywhere near the Indianapolis area, you consider making the Hoosier Outdoor Experience part of your family plan for next year!

Mr. Crum is completing some volunteer hours for a class that he took this spring.  He received an email last week that there was a need for volunteer bus guides during the event, and he chose to go.  We decided at the last minute that the whole family would head to Indianapolis with him and spent a little bit of time checking out the event on their website.

Let me tell you what, the website did not prepare us for the actual magnitude of the event.  There were over 50 activities for families to participate in together.  This is designed to give people just a small taste of what adventures lie ahead of them when they spend time outdoors.  I'm talking everything from biking, to hunting, to tennis... and so much more!  (Did I mention that all of the activities are FREE?)

Here is a brief overview of what I did with our 3 little guys (now ages 11 months, 2.5, and 4):
We started our afternoon by learning about how to use a pump and filter to get drinking water in a river or lake.  The boys participated in a contest - I'm pretty sure we did NOT win that.

Next we got to see and touch a variety of animal pelts.  Here are a raccoon and a beaver.

The boys really enjoyed digging for artifacts and bones in this little simulated dig area.

Abe Lincoln paid a visit at the park.  The boys were much less interested in hearing his stories than their mama was, so we moved on pretty quickly.

My big guys each got a turn to try and shoot arrows.  Manasseh really wanted to take one home with us - they were actually fairly reasonably priced, but mama was holding out for some other type of souvenir.

There were several large stuffed animals to get photos with - this is the only one I actually got all 3 boys to stand together in.

The boys used tulle and suite cakes to make little bird feeders.

I wish I could have gotten a picture of Manasseh's little cheer when he got his frisbee into the disc golf basket.

There was a lot of food - if I had planned ahead we would have carried sandwiches in with us. The boys loved the corn and hot dogs that they got to eat while we were at the park.

Manasseh decided to learn a bit about the outdoors while we waited in line for the rock wall.

My sweet 4 year old getting ready to scale the rock wall.  He's been climbing since before he could walk (I'm not joking, not even a little bit) and I knew he'd do well.  He surprised me and got nervous, he didn't make it up very far.  But it sure was fun watching him try something new.

A real tortoise that they got to touch.

AND they touched a snake.  They are fascinated by the ways different animals feel.

One of the stations was building bird feeders.  This was a great activity.  We love building together AND we get a new feeder to put near our new patio!

We caught a fish!

Manasseh begged to take the hook out of the fish's mouth - his mama sure wasn't going to do that.  I was going to let this friendly DNR guy do it.

There were cool tents all over the place.  Manasseh played in this one briefly before we boarded the bus to get back to our van.

Waiting for daddy to be done with his work, the boys enjoyed playing together in the median by the parking lot.

Time for some rest.  We had a fantastic day and can't wait to go back next year WITH daddy.

I think next year we'll plan to take the whole weekend at the park, we might even find some place to camp nearby to have the FULL outdoor experience.


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