By Lars Dalseide | February 4 2014 12:02

Youth focused area at NRA Outdoor Show gives parents a break, kids fun

Eddie Eagle leading the charge at NRA's Family Fun Zone in Harrisburg, PA

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - Somewhere around some corner of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center is something for everyone. Gun enthusiast have the Shooting Sports Hall. Bow hunters have the Archery Hall. And for the little ones there is the Family Fun Zone.

First appearing at the NRA Convention in Houston, Texas, the Family Fun Zone is a collection of games and test of skills for the up and coming outdoor enthusiast. It also has the advantage of providing the kids with a taste of fun in what could be a trying afternoon for ones so young.

“I was going to come one way or another but I’d rather have my family with me,” said Ethan from Aberdeen, Maryland. “This way they can remember something fun."

Starting with an introduction to the Eddie Eagle program, the Family Fun Zone walks the kids through a variety of hunting and hiking amusement. Next comes the camp face painting, the suction cup archery and the every popular fishing station.

“The kids really love the fishing station,” smiled NRA Sports Recreational Shooting Specialist Samantha Olsen. “I thought we might have to separate a few, but everyone is having a great time and hopefully picking up a few tips along the way.”

Also on the agenda is an opportunity to learn how to rope a steer, a chance to identify wildlife by way of footprints or fur, and the ever popular LaserShot.

Roping and goodies in the Family Fun Zone at the Great American Outdoor Show

Whatever they’re doing, it seems to be working. First day numbers had the flow reaching more than 500 kids making their way through the zone. According to Olsen, they’re ready for 5,000 kids in all.

“(The Family Fun Zone) is really important because they aren’t ready to handle a day full of shopping or listening to people talk,” Cassie from Frederick, Maryland. "It’s a really good break for the kids."

The Family Fun Zone is open everyday except for Saturday during regular show hours.

For more on the Great American Outdoor Show, visit their website at


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