PBS39 Returns to Step Outdoors Lehigh Valley on Sun., Jun. 5

Last Updated by Gerard Longo on

Step outside and enjoy the great outdoors during the 2nd-annual Step Outdoors Lehigh Valley presented by Lehigh Valley Zoo June 4-5 at SteelStacks. This year’s festival features a Keystone DockDogs canine competition, cycling ride with the 2016 Olympians, “A Taste of the Wild” culinary event and more. The festival, which is free to attend, will include two days of presentations, hands-on activities and educational experiences designed to encourage children and families to get outdoors, as well as learn about the many wildlife, outdoors and conservation-focused groups working in the region.

At Step Outdoors, children can enjoy presentations and activities by more than 35 different local and state groups. Activities include archery, urban bird walks, cycling/biking, gardening, geocaching, art & nature activities, hiking, nature photography, bluebird box building and more. 

One of the highlights of the festival is the chance for kids to meet a variety of animals and wildlife during presentations in the ArtsQuest Center’s cinemas. On both days, the Lehigh Valley Zoo will offer presentations featuring its live education animals. In addition, the zoo will offer a specially designed nature play experience where families can explore movable plant boxes to learn more about butterfly and insect-friendly habitats, get down and dirty using kid and garden-friendly mud paint, and create their own rock art to add to their garden.

New for 2016 is the Keystone DockDogs Competition, which will feature man’s best friend performing high-flying feats as they leap into a 40-foot swimming pool on the Air Products Town Square. The competition, which takes place Saturday and Sunday, will showcase dogs in a variety of categories including Big Air Dogs, Extreme Vertical and Speed Retrieve. 

Other new attractions include a family cycling ride on June 4 led by former Olympic Gold Medalist and Valley Preferred Cycling Center Executive Director Marty Nothstein and two of this year’s Olympians; cooking demonstrations by the International Dutch Oven Society; a ReelKids casting contest for ages 7-15 presented by Lehigh Valley Junior Bass Masters and a Saturday nature photography workshop led by Stephen Cunic, which culminates with the opportunity to photograph the endangered peregrine falcons that nest on the former steel site.  

On June 3, 6:30 p.m., Step Outdoors kicks off with “A Taste of the Wild,” where guests can sample game and fish inspired hors d’oeuvres while getting up close and personal with a variety of Lehigh Valley Zoo animals including an African Penguin, Three Banded Armadillo, Crowned Crane and more. Tickets for the event, a fundraiser supporting Step Outdoors, will go on sale later this week. 
“Lehigh Valley Zoo is a leader in conservation efforts,” says Lehigh Valley Zoo President & CEO Melissa Borland. “We are not only dedicated to saving animals from extinction, but also conserving the resources within the world we live which includes our food resources.  Partnering with ArtsQuest and the Taste of the Wild culinary experience gives us an opportunity to educate the public about these issues and we are excited to do so.”

Families looking for unique experiences that tie art to the outdoors will want to check out the Banana Factory Arts Center’s tent, where kids can work with the staff on fun, wind-related art projects such as creating kites and whirligigs. In addition, the Banana Factory is offering a variety of outdoors-focused tuition workshops both days including a mini terrarium workshop, opportunity to make your own glass hummingbird feeder and a fun-filled experience where kids can create bandanas for their furry friends. 

Step Outdoors Lehigh Valley is supported by Lehigh Valley Zoo, in association with Cabela’s, Green Mountain Energy, Service Electric and Adams Outdoor Advertising. Festival hours are 10-a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, or to register for any of the workshops, visit www.steelstacks.org/stepoutdoors.

Organizations participating in Step Outdoors 2016:
PBS39 (Sunday only)
Appalachian Mountain Club
Banana Factory Arts Center 
Bluebird Society of Pennsylvania
Cutters Bike Shop
DaVinci Science Center
Delaware Valley Orienteering Association
Ducks Unlimited
Dutch Springs
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites
Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania
International Dutch Oven Society
Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center (Saturday only) 
Jacobsburg Historical Society
Keystone DockDogs
Keystone Elk Country Alliance
Lehigh River Stocking Association
Lehigh Valley Audubon Society
Lehigh Valley Junior Bassmasters (Saturday only)
Lehigh Valley Zoo
National Wild Turkey Federation – Walking Purchase Chapter
Nockamixon Sail Club  
Northampton County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs
Penn State Extension Master Gardeners and Master Watershed Stewards
Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission
Pennsylvania Game Commission
Ruffed Grouse Society
Sierra Club--Lehigh Valley 
Trout Unlimited
United Bowhunters of Pennsylvania
Valley Preferred Cycling Center 
Wild Bird Center of the Lehigh Valley
Wildlands Conservancy

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