You and your family can participate in several outdoor activities at this yearвЂ™s Elk Festival. You might even have a chance to take a horse-drawn wagon or sleigh ride through the middle of a bunch of wild elk!
The festival will be held at the Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area on Saturday. Activities run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Except for a fee to ride a horse-dawn sleigh or wagon through the meadow at the WMA ($5 for those 9 years of age or older, or $3 for those 3 to 5 years old), all of the festival activities are free.
You can reach the WMA by traveling 18 miles east of Hyrum on state Route 101.
вЂњYou donвЂ™t have to travel all the way to the North Pole to see Rudolph this year,вЂќ says Marni Lee, assistant manager at the Hardware Ranch WMA. вЂњInstead, come to the ranch and see his cousins — Rocky Mountain elk.вЂќ
Making Christmas ornaments using sagebrush, bitterbrush and other plants found at the WMA are among the activities your children can participate in. вЂњWeвЂ™ll also teach you how to turn a pinecone into a bird feeder,вЂќ Lee says. вЂњAnd your kids can paint their very own replica of a fish.вЂќ
Whether youвЂ™ll see some elk is still in question.
On Dec. 8, about 100 elk were on the benches above the meadow where the WMA holds its wagon and sleigh rides. вЂњWeвЂ™re hoping the elk will come into the meadow before the festival starts,вЂќ Lee says. вЂњIf they do, youвЂ™ll be able to take a wagon or sleigh ride through the middle of the herd.вЂќ
Lee encourages you to bring some binoculars and to dress for all types of weather. вЂњWe will host the event,вЂќ she says, вЂњeven if it snows.вЂќ
On your way to the ranch, you can enjoy the scenic drive up Blacksmith Fork Canyon. Food is not available at the ranch, but youвЂ™re welcome to bring a picnic lunch and eat it in the WMAвЂ™s lunch room.
Sleigh rides start Dec. 16
Another chance to take a horse-drawn sleigh or wagon ride through the middle of hundreds of wild elk starts at the ranch the day before the festival — on Friday.
Starting Friday, the ranchвЂ™s visitor center will be open and sleigh or wagon rides will be offered during the following days and times:
FridayВ В В В В В В В В noon to 4:30 p.m.
SaturdayВ В В В В В В В В 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
SundayВ В В В В В В В В 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
MondayВ В В В В В В В В noon to 4:30 p.m.
If you want to go on a sleigh ride or a wagon ride, you must buy your ticket at the visitor center by 4:30 p.m.
On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the sleigh rides will not be running and the visitor center will not be open. You can still bring your binoculars and view the elk from a distance, though.