From The World Of Parks & Recreation
By Doug Comer
Parks and Recreation, along with the friends at Prehistoric Planet, were on hand Easter weekend for the out of towners that came to see the Walking with Dinosaurs exhibit at the Harrison County Recreation Complex. Even though we were closed on Easter Sunday, we still had upwards of 400 people visit.
“It is a real treat when looking over the sign-in sheet and seeing all the visitors from other counties and states,” said Director Mike Book. “We had visitors as far as Maryland, Charleston (WV) and other areas in the state. Word of mouth from the locals telling what we offer has been the primary reason for the visits from a far.”
For the staff, it has been great seeing new faces at the facility as it allows them to teach the guests something about the exhibit hoping that they will pass their experience on to other family members. Also, it keeps the staff up to speed about the different areas of the exhibit where they normally would not be teaching during our field day exhibits.
As a teaser, we have added another feature to the exhibit. While we are keeping it hush hush, Book was willing to divulge a little bit of information as he explains.
“We ordered another piece that will amaze the kids and it finally arrived this past week. It will not only stand out as compared to a lot of the other pieces we have on hand, but it will be an instant draw to the visitors that have not seen the exhibit yet as well as those who are our repeat business.”
The piece will be on display this weekend and we encourage all everyone to come and take a look at the newest piece of the exhibit.
With a final date of April 23rd, the exhibit is well on pace to surpass last year’s numbers. And for Book, the more people that come to see the facility, the opportunity for learning something different about history increases. Because of the support of the County Commission and relations with the county school system, we are able to have exhibits as Book explains.
“We are mostly funded by the Vital Service Levy and because of it we are able to offer a free program to the people in Harrison and surrounding counties. Also, we have the support of our County Commissioners as they give us the freedom to find and either purchase or lease these items. And through a good relationship with the Harrison County Board of Education, we are able to coordinate the field days with the schools ensuring that the kids get a chance to visit.”
As you can see, Harrison County Parks and Rec not only supplies children with opportunities to participate in sports and recreation activities, but we find ways for kids to learn. Through our enrichment programs, children in the area can get away from the classrooms and the text books and see first-hand what a dinosaur looks like or touch a fossil that is 50 million years to their age.
“Education is a big part of a child’s life and if we can take some of the things we offer here with our enrichment and make it more of a hands-on experience, then we are doing our job. Parks and Recreation does many things here in Harrison County with our sports programs, but we also have the resources to provide education to our kids too. It’s this uniqueness that makes our department popular with everyone.”