Green Valley Park in Payson will undergo an amazing transformation on Saturday, May 10, when its sprawling grassy expanses turn into a carnival full of wildlife and fun outdoor activities.
The 14th annual Payson Wildlife Fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and organizers have been working hard to make it the best yet. Admission is free.
"This is a great way for the family to spend a Saturday," says Craig McMullen, Arizona Game and Fish Department wildlife manager in the Payson District.
"Parents and kids can fish, play games and get a close-up look at lots of amazing animals, including all sorts of raptors. The wildlife featured is magnificent," McMullen said.
In addition to birds of prey, other live animals on display will include rattlesnakes, Gila monsters, prairie dogs and alligators. Fair visitors can also test their skills at one of the casting booths, virtual fishing galleries, air gun or archery ranges, and they can visit booths from a variety of conservation groups, including the National Wild Turkey Federation, Arizona Wildlife Federation, Arizona State Parks and the Phoenix Herpetological Society, to name a few.
Green Valley Lake will receive more than double its usual stocking of trout in preparation for this event. The park typically receives about 300 pounds of trout per stocking. For this event, 800 pounds of fish will be released into the lake prior to the fair. No fishing license is required for fair attendees, and equipment and bait can be borrowed from the free fishing booth at the fair.
The Payson Wildlife Fair is a cooperative effort between the Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Forest Service, Mogollon Sporting Association and Payson Parks and Recreation Department.