Annual Wildlife Fair Coming May 11

Reptiles and raptors will be among the critters on display at the 19th annual Payson Wildlife Fair coming to Green Valley Park Saturday, May 11. Fair visitors can also fish, kayak or test their skills at the BB gun and archery ranges.

Reptiles and raptors will be among the critters on display at the 19th annual Payson Wildlife Fair coming to Green Valley Park Saturday, May 11. Fair visitors can also fish, kayak or test their skills at the BB gun and archery ranges. Photo by Pete Aleshire. |

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“This is a great way for the family to spend a Saturday,” said Natalie Robb, field supervisor in the Payson District.

With a family atmosphere that includes fishing, kayaking, BB gun and archery ranges, and displays of animals such as alligators and Gila monsters, the 19th annual Payson Wildlife Fair will be open to the public on Saturday, May 11.

The event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Green Valley Park’s sprawling, grassy expanse is free.

“This is a great way for the family to spend a Saturday,” said Natalie Robb, field supervisor in the Payson District. “Parents and kids can fish, play games and get a close-up look at lots of amazing animals like a golden eagle or bobcat.”

She noted that Green Valley Lake will also get twice its normal stocking of trout for the event. The park typically receives about 300 pounds of trout per stocking. For this event, 800 pounds of fish will be released, and equipment and bait can be borrowed for free from an on-site fishing booth.

In addition to birds of prey, other live animals on display will include rattlesnakes, Gila monsters, small mammals (such as bats), alligators and giant pythons.

Fair visitors can test their skills at one of the casting booths, BB gun or archery ranges, or take a kayak for a spin. Afterward, they can visit some of the on-hand experts and conservation groups including the Mule Deer Foundation, Payson Fly Casters, Phoenix Herpetological Society, and Tonto Natural Bridge.

The fair is a cooperative effort between the Arizona Game and Fish Department, USDA Forest Service, Mogollon Sporting Association, and Payson Parks and Recreation Department.

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