Get out and enjoy 'Winter Family Fun Day'

Posted: Friday, February 12, 2010

There is still plenty of winter left for those who like to get out and enjoy the cold weather season, and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge has a whole day of activities planned for their "Winter Family Fun Day" on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"The goal is to get people out of the house, to come learn about the refuge, and all the different recreational opportunities we have here," said Michelle Ostrowski, education specialist at the refuge.

The day is filled with fun and educational activities for the whole family. Many of the registration events are filling up quickly, though, such as the quarter-mile guided snowshoe trip from 1 to 2 p.m.

"It's actually already filled," Ostrowski said, "All 25 spots."

Still, she said she wanted to encourage others interested in snowshoeing to come and enjoy the trails at their own pace.

"The trail conditions are just ideal right now," she said. "With the five to six inches of powder we got, it's great for spotting animal tracks."

Ostrowski said the ski trails have all recently been groomed as well.

There are even more things to do indoors on Saturday, including another registration event.

"Something new and exciting we've added this year is soap carving," she said. "The kids will be given soap, a template and carving tools, so it should be fun."

The soap carving activities will take place at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Registration is limited to 12 people, ages 10 and up.

Inside the refuge's Environmental Education Center there will be a bevy of educational activities set up at individual stations to teach children about nature.

"One station will be about fur," Ostrowski said. "We'll have furs from different animals on the refuge, and we'll talk about how to identify them, and the differences in their furs, such as guard hairs from the softer, inner hairs."

Another station will focus on avian life of the Kenai Peninsula.

"We'll talk about birds and what the birds that aren't migratory do to make a living here all winter."

There will also be a station set up to discuss the process of how snowflakes are formed.

"We'll make snowflakes and other crafts at this station," Ostrowski said.

There will also be cookies and hot cocoa provided for people to warm up after being outdoors.

Inside the refuge visitor's center there will be more activities.

"We'll have the Winter Junior Explorer's Program," she said.

This is a way for youngster to follow clues and answer questions about the exhibits of the center.

There will also be films playing for small children at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., and for older children and adult there will be the film "Deadly Ascent" about the challenges faced by mountain climbers on Denali at noon, 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m.

For more information about the "Winter Family Fun Day" or to register for any of the events, contact Michelle Ostrowski at 260-2839.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at

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