More than forty years ago the National Ranching Heritage Center opened its doors. Their mission, "preserve and promote the legacy of ranch life in the American West."

Well, that mission continues today as the NRHC is excited to open something new for the community.

The new Cash Family Ranch Life Learning Center will offer an enriching and comprehensive learning experience about the realities of ranching. Children will learn how beef cattle are the “magic machines that turn grass into beef.” Adults will learn such little-understood concepts as how the four-chambered ruminant stomach really works.

National Ranching Heritage Center
National Ranching Heritage Center

This building will be an indoor and outdoor comprehensive learning experience designed to be an educational resource for visitors from all sectors of life. It will give an accurate, adult-level ranch life experience in a format that will enrich the lives of visitors of all ages through the character of everyone’s friend, Hank the Cowdog.

National Ranching Heritage Center
National Ranching Heritage Center

Hank will be your guide as you explore what life on Hank’s ranch is like. Indoor exhibits will provide windows into aspects of modern ranching. You will walk away with a greater knowledge of the ranching industry and its impact on your daily life. Each exhibit highlights the science, technology, common sense, values and grit it takes to be a modern-day rancher.

National Ranching Heritage Center
National Ranching Heritage Center

Outdoor exhibits will bring Hank’s ranch to life. You can explore a half-acre of exhibits and natural areas focused on natural resources, wildlife, ranch nutrition, cowboys and horses, ranch equipment, and ranch family responsibilities.

Here is the story on how this idea came to life.

The new center will open its doors for the very first time to the public from Friday, October 13th to Saturday, October 21st.

**All events are free to the public. Some special programming requires reservations.

Friday, Oct. 13 at 10 a.m. | Hank the Cowdog Concert

An hour of fun and wholesome family entertainment! Through songs and readings, John R. Erickson brings to life the characters from his award-winning Hank the Cowdog series of books and audiobooks with special guests, Kris and Mark Erickson. Following the concert, John R. Erickson will hold book signing. Reserve Your Spot

Saturday, Oct. 14  All Day | Coloring Contest

Stop in Security Headquarters in the Cash Family Ranch Life Learning Center to enter a Hank the Cowdog coloring contest. Winning entries will be featured on the National Ranching Heritage Center’s social media outlets. While you are inside, visit Hank the Cowdog’s desk to receive clues to solve a ranch mystery! 

Sunday, Oct. 15 from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. | Ranch Wildlife

There are many species of wildlife you might see on a ranch. The South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center will be in the amphitheater with their wildlife ambassador animals for a presentation about native wildlife. Afterwards, explore the Prairie Ecology exhibit and try to identify wildlife tracks in the outdoor exhibit Reserve Your Spot

Monday, Oct. 16 from 1:30 – 3 p.m. | Cattle Basics

As Hank the Cowdog says, cattle are eating machines that can turn grass into delicious beef, which is a nifty trick. Learn about these amazing animals as you explore the Cattle Basics exhibit and see cattle up close in the amphitheaterYou will also have the opportunity to participate in a staffled cattle breeds activity in Security Headquarters.  Reserve Your Spot

Tuesday, Oct. 17  from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. | The Perfect Ranch Horse

 What traits make up a perfect ranch horseDo they learn these traits or are they born with themGet the answers to these questions, and many more, and even meet a horse in the amphitheater Reserve Your Spot

Wednesday, Oct. 18 from 2 – 3 p.m. | Day in the Life of a Cowboy

Learn what tools, equipment and gear it takes to be a cowboy from real working cowboysPut your knowledge to the test as we play the new Ranch Life Learning game, A Day in the Life of a Cowboy.” Reserve Your Spot

Thursday, Oct. 19 at 10 a.m. | Toddlers Explore!

Calling all littles! Children 4 & under can explore the Cash Family Ranch Life Learning Center while you play in Sally May’s kitchen and explore little Alfred’s collection of Happy Toy Maker pickups, trailers and corrals. NRHC Education staff will host a story time with “Cowboy Small” at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. 

Friday, Oct. 20 from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. | Windmills

Water is the most valuable resource on a ranch and is a tool used to provide drinking water for cattle. In this STEMfocused activityyou will explore the windmill exhibit at the Cash Family Ranch Life Learning Center and make your own windmill.  Reserve Your Spot

Saturday, Oct. 21 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Picnic in the Park

Join us for a beef hot dog cookout on the NRHC patio and then explore the Cash Family Ranch Life Learning Center. The first 200 visitors will receive a hot dog plate, including a drink and chips. 

 For more details head on over to their website.

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