Yes, fishing, paddling, shooting, mountain biking, ATV riding and outdoor sports are the action stars of the third annual Hoosier Outdoor Experience at Fort Harrison State Park, Sept. 17-18.

But more laid-back cultural activities abound among the more-than 50 activities, too. As with the other activities, all cultural events are free to the thousands who will flock to the former military base in Indianapolis for the two-day event.

“The cultural activities are more children-focused,” said Cathy Draeger-Williams, coordinator for the cultural area of the Hoosier Outdoor Experience, “but adults can participate along with children and may learn a new hobby, too.”

All ages can throw an atlatl, a prehistoric device used in Indiana starting around 8,000 B.C., that makes throwing a spear with accuracy and distance easier. Some kids can throw 100 feet or more—distance comes from touch—so they just might outperform their parents.

The cultural area also features a mock archaeological dig to uncover buried mock artifacts; a hands-on fossil-mineral-rock area for learning about Indiana’s geology up-close from experts; and a station at which kids and adults can watch how to make tools out of flint by hand, using ancient methods. A Hoosier history and archaeology trivia contest also will be offered.

Last year 18,400 people attended over the two days, an increase of about 5,000. Plenty of room for many more awaits in the state park’s spacious 1,700 acres. All are welcome for both days.

There’s something for everyone who even thinks they might enjoy being outdoors more.

The Experience runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. It is presented by the DNR and the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation to introduce people to outdoor activities they may have never tried.

Online advance registration at hoosieroutdoorexperience.IN.gov is requested to assist with staffing and planning. Watch for activity updates and logistical information there or at Facebook.com/HoosierOutdoorExperience.

If you already enjoy outdoor sports and recreation and want to help others learn to enjoy them as much as you do, sign up to volunteer at dnr.IN.gov/5412.htm.

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