The yearly event is a crowd-pleaser for both the young and young at heart.
Family members of all ages can enjoy a day at the ranch during the 53rd Annual Ranch Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday (April 2) at the National Ranching Heritage Center (NRHC) on the Texas Tech University campus.
The annual event is a crowd-pleaser for both the young and young at heart as horses, cowboys, cattle, ranch wildlife, a magic show and a chuck wagon greet visitors. Admission is free with a suggested donation of $5 per family.
Steak Express, kettle corn and lemonade will be available to purchase by cash or card for those who want refreshments while they visit.
“Hands-on activities and demonstrations will focus on ranch skills and the history and science of ranching,” said Julie Hodges, the NRHC's Helen DeVitt Jones Endowed Director of Education. “Children will have an opportunity to churn butter, participate in a stick horse rodeo, see wildlife and ride a horse. They also can learn about beef science, entomology, anthropology, forensic science, ranch wildlife and more.”
Visitors will have the opportunity to meet cowboys from the Four Sixes Ranch while they give horse-gentling demonstrations in the round pen throughout the day. Visitors also can see an old-time “Snake Oil” magic show by magician Barry Moffitt at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the 1909 Four Sixes Barn.
Horseback rides will be provided by the Texas Tech Therapeutic Riding Center, and members of the Lubbock County 4-H will provide a stick horse rodeo for children while the Tech Agricultural Law Association will introduce children to the art of paint branding.
Cabela's Outpost will provide a safe-shooting environment for children to shoot BB guns at targets placed inside an inflatable range, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) game wardens will discuss wildlife identification, conservation and hunting laws. The South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center will have live birds of prey for visitors to view while learning about ranch wildlife.
Hodges said children also can become ranch hands and receive work cards to earn wages for a hard day's work. Ranch hands who complete six “work” activities can go to the 1880 Matador Office to collect their wages (reproduction of 1869 currency) and buy special items at the 1870s Waggoner Ranch Commissary.
More than 150 volunteers, ranch hosts, student organizations and ranch-related organizations come together every year to make Ranch Day happen.
About the National Ranching Heritage Center
Supported by Texas Tech University and the Ranching Heritage Association, the NRHC is a 27-acre museum and historical park that offers educational programs and exhibits about ranching history and contemporary ranching issues. The center is located at 3121 Fourth St. in Lubbock and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free, and the historical park is wheelchair and stroller accessible. For more information, visit ranchingheritage.org or call (806) 742-0498.