MONTE VISTA— It’s that time of year again, when thousands of Sandhill Cranes migrate southward through the San Luis Valley to their wintering grounds in New Mexico’s Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
To celebrate the cranes’ return, the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge will be hosting the 15th Annual Kid’s Crane Festival on Saturday, Oct. 5. The festivities begin at the refuge visitor’s center with hot dogs and drinks from noon to 12:30 p.m., followed by an array of exciting activities for both kids and adults.
There will be crane viewing, of course, as well as scavenger hunts, migration and egg matching games, wildlife trivia, crafts with pinecones and origami and a table for investigating owl pellets to find out more about the raptor’s diet and other natural traits. Other activities include a puppet show and a trailer from the Rio Grande Water Conservation and Education Initiative with an interactive, hands-on model of the Rio Grande watershed and its wetland habitats. Families are encouraged to also bring bicycles for pedaling around the refuge.
Last year’s Kid’s Crane Festival attracted more than 200 children and their families from all over Colorado, including Denver and Colorado Springs. “It was a great mix of activities for a good range of ages,” said Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge Manager Suzanne Beauchaine. “One of the great things I observe every year is how parents learn just as much as or more than their kids.”
The Kid’s Crane Festival is organized every year by the local nonprofit group Friends of the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuges and dozens of dedicated volunteers and staff from an array of nonprofit organizations and government agencies.
The refuge is located approximately seven miles south of Monte Vista on Route 15. The festival will be held rain or shine. No reservations are necessary, but children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information please call Tim Armstrong at 719-852-2452.