Fall fun fest at the glacier tomorrow

The US Forest Service is hosting a family event at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14. Fall Fun Fest celebrates wildlife, birds, outdoors and creativity with stories, games, crafts, short hikes and birding events.

Morning activities from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. will be geared toward younger children aged pre-kindergarten to second grade. A highlight will be storytime at 10:45 a.m., presented by the Juneau Public Library. At 10:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m., and noon there will also be a short hike guided by Discovery Southeast. Volunteers from the Juneau Audubon Society will offer a ‘Meet your local birds’ event at 11:15 a.m. outdoors in the pavilion. Dress for outdoor weather.

At 12:30 p.m., Irene Morris from the Juneau Raptor Center will present a program featuring a live bird named Phil inside the visitor center and explain his special features. “Phil” is a non-releasable gyrfalcon.

Afternoon activities focus on youngsters in third to fifth grades. There will be hikes by Discovery Southeast at 1:30 p.m. and again at 3 p.m.. Audubon will return to the pavilion for a birding session at 2:15 p.m. Children and their families will be able to sign up that day to ensure a place on the limited-space hikes.

“We are pleased to offer the Juneau community a fun day at the glacier,” said Forest Service organizer Bev Levene. “We have several activities to suit children who want to learn more about nature and the outdoors.”

Levene added that many local partners are supporting the Fall Fun Fest. Discovery Southeast, Juneau Public Library, Juneau Audubon Society, and the Juneau Raptor Center will help make the day a success.

“Fall Fun Fest is a perfect opportunity for fourth graders to pick up their free ‘Every Kid in a Park’ pass,” said Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center director John Neary. Although there is no fee during winter to enter the visitor center a $5 fee will be charged when summer arrives for those 16 years of age or older. Fourth graders can bring three of their friends or family into the Mendenhall fee area (or any national park) free of charge once they obtain their special pass. They must renew their pass after August 31, 2016.

To obtain a free Every Kid in the Park pass, fourth graders can apply online and print a voucher which they can fill out and bring to the visitor center to exchange for a durable plastic pass. Their fourth grade teacher can also go online to fill out the information for each student. Completed vouchers can be exchanged for Every Kid in the Park passes at the visitor center. Visitor center winter hours are Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10am until 4pm through March 25.

In addition to Fall Fun Fest on November 14th, the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center is proud to share a family indoor activity area called the Discovery Zone during winter hours so families can enjoy children’s books, learning toys and games.

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