Friday, January 18, 2008

NW Trek

This weekend NW Trek is having a special event that they are calling Kids 'n' Critters Naturefest. For the next three days (January 19-21), up to four kids ages 3-12 get in free with a paying adult. Pierce County adults, AAA members, and military can expect to pay $13 each. If you live outside Pierce County, you will pay $15. This is a good time to visit NW Trek if you've never had the chance to because they will be offering special crafts, games and activities for the kids. These activities are designed to teach so it is a perfect excuse for a field trip. Because of the special pricing, expect more people that usual. Show up early for the best experience.

When you first arrive at NW Trek, you'll wind down a narrow road through the trees. Enjoy the scenary as you leave the city feeling behind. Eventually, you will find a series of small parking lots situated in such a way to minimize their impact on the forest. Remember where you parked so you can find your car when you go home.

This huge moose statue will greet you just outside the entrance area. He's a great photo opportunity.
After you pay, you will be given a colored token and told which tram to show up for. While you are waiting for your turn on the tram ride, enjoy the trails. There are plenty of benches to rest on, if you need, along the way. As you walk, you will have the opportunity to see some of the local wildlife. The animals in NW Trek, to my understanding, are no longer able to live in the wild so they serve to help educate us while they are cared for here.

This nice kitty was taking a snooze the day of our visit. You'll also see other kitties, bears, wolves, and a variety of birds (including a beautiful now-flightless-due-to-an-injured-wing bald eagle).

You can also check out this cool petrified wood slab which explains how you can read its history by looking at the distance and anomalies in its rings.

The Cheney Discovery Center has a cool beehive where you can watch the bees work, small animals, and other things to discover. There is also a research cabin where kids can pretend to be field researchers watching the bears.

When your tram time is nearing, you'll need to head over to line. Get there early to have a better chance of getting your seat of choice. On the way, you'll see this beautiful view of Horseshoe Lake. You'll be traveling around it soon to get a closer look at the free roam animals.

My husband and my son waiting for the tram. My husband doesn't always get to come along with us on field trips but we like it when he can. We brought Flat Stanley (a topic for another post) along with us too.

When it is nearing time for your tram to leave, the park employees will probably enlighten you with some facts about animals and their antlers. These are real ones left behind by the park's animals.

One of the highlights of the tram ride is being able to see the park's herd of bison. On our last visit, 1 1/2 years ago, we were blessed with the opportunity to see the mommas with their calves.

The males were not too far away.

Or you might see a herd like this one: geese, a deer, and a swan. If I remember correctly, there were goats and another type of bird nearby as well.

We got to see the momma and kid up close because the animal caretakers fed them right next to the road of the tram.

And this ram was so perfect, he looked unreal.

If you are lucky, you'll get to see some moose. They are shy animals. This visit we were lucky; not only did we see a moose, we saw several. This was the first time we had ever seen a moose at the park; we were beginning to think they were fictional creatures.

And a lone creature. Doesn't he look like he's enjoying the peace and quiet next to the lake?

I hope you enjoyed my tour of NW Trek. If my little one gets better over the weekend (he's fighing a cold), we just may have to head over there on Monday. If not, we'll have to mosey on over there another time. If I hear of another event there, I'll be sure to post about it.

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Michelle Olsen Sasak said...

NW Trek looks amazing! I haven't been there in 14 years, but I am definitely going to take the girls sometime soon. I bet they'd love seeing all the animals.

Annecourager said...

Thanks for linking this to the CVA yahoo group! I know what I'm going to do on MLK day with the kids! :)