Green Valley Park will go wild this week. The jewel of Payson will undergo an amazing transformation on Saturday, May 7, when its sprawling grassy expanses turn into a carnival full of wildlife and fun outdoor activities.
The 17th 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 to the public is free.
“This is a great way for the family to spend a Saturday,” says Natalie Robb, Arizona Game and Fish Department wildlife manager in the Payson Sector.
“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.”
In addition to birds of prey, other live animals on display will include rattlesnakes, Gila monsters, prairie dogs and an alligator.
Fair visitors can also test their skills at one of the casting booths, pellet gun and archery ranges, and they can visit booths from a variety of conservation groups, including the Phoenix Herpetological Society, Arizona Trail Association, and Arizona Falconers Association, to name a few.
Green Valley Lake will receive more than double its normal 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, USDA Forest Service, Mogollon Sporting Association, Payson Optimist Club, and Payson Parks and Recreation Department.
Green Valley Park is located at 1000 W. Country Club Drive, Payson (take State Route 87 to Main Street and go about one mile west).