Community gathers to meet baby animals at the American West Heritage Center

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Spring is a time for new life. Grasses are turning green, flowers have begun to bloom and babies are born.

To celebrate this time of new life, the American West Heritage Center hosted its annual Baby Animal Days this weekend, a three-day event where park visitors can come and interact with the newborn farm animals .

I’s a good opportunity for kids to learn about animals through hands-on experience, said Hayley Smith, a senior in parks and recreation and volunteer for Baby Animal Days.

“You can actually hear them make the noises and pet them and see the different animals,” she said.

Goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens and even turtles were brought out for visitors to interact with, and the younger animals were switched out frequently to avoid over-stressing them.

A recent addition to the event was the baby bears brought in from Yellowstone Bear World. Visitors could come in and see them and learn about where they came from and how they are raised.

Bringing in the baby bears brought a lot of attention to the event, said Amanda Repko, a senior in special education and this year’s Miss Cache Valley. More people went to see them because “it’s something we don’t get to see every day,” she said.

Repko said she had been coming to baby animals days for years, but this year was able to volunteer.

“I get to actually hold the baby goats, which is so fun,” she said. “But it’s just fun to see all the babies and their moms. They’re just all so cute.”

Smith said she enjoyed being able to volunteer because she was able to see how events like this worked and how the people interacted with the animals.

She said that the event always takes place during spring break so more kids are able to attend and learn about the animals..

“It’s always on this weekend. It’s just a fun thing to do,” said Wayne McKy, a member of the Cache Valley Storytelling Festival. “I mean, you’ve got horseback riding, you’ve got wagon rides, you’ve got the pioneer events over there, the hatchet throwing.They can go feed the animals, they can actually go milk a goat, they’ve got all kinds of things.”

In addition to the animals and activities, there was live music that people could listen to while they sat down for food from the vendors and trucks. Mcky and his wife have been performing for Baby Animal Days for four of five years, he said.

“The first time I came, we had a blizzard and hail storm,” he said. “We had a tent out here and everybody was freezing and there were only two people other than my wife and daughter that were there.”

Mcky’s wife, Katie, added that he had been trying to tell a story and his lips were blue from the cold.

Baby Animal Days is a community-centered event, Repko said. Even though a lot of the activities are oriented toward kids, he said it’s a good opportunity for people to visit with community members and meet the baby animals.

A lot of older kids and college students even come out to see the animals, Smith said.

“It’s just fun to be out here in a congenial environment,” Mcky said.”You know, watching people enjoy themselves and have a good time in a very pleasant environment.”

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