Mila Hatchery Field trip

Daddy and Mila went to the Minter Creek Salmon Hatchery today for Mila’s first field trip of the school year. As part of writing this I looked for a website for the hatchery to include, but the state fish and wildlife people don’t seem to have one dedicated to each site beyond listing statistics and schedules. Nerd digression there. Mila and I packed my superman lunch bag with some snacks, hoped into the spaceship and took off. We managed to get lost for 30 minutes looking for the hatchery.

I had an idea where the hatchery was, but we were missing the directions. I and called dad who took Maddex there last year to clarify, but we still managed to lost. I blame it all on signage. The sign telling us to turn for the hatchery was only pointing one direction on the road. That direction was not the direction we were driving until we gave up, and turned around. On the way back it was hard to miss the huge 8×8 brown sign saying next right for the hatchery; Le sigh. I tend to lose my mind when lost and that half hour of being lost was not fun. Managed to put on a smile for the princess. Luckily time was on our side because the tour did not start until 10:30 and I had it in my mind it started at 10:00. Even after being lost for 30 minutes we managed to make it on time. YEAH!!

Mila was super excited, happy, and full of energy. She spent most of the trip dragging me around by the finger running in front of everyone else then around everyone else then sitting still while our guide was talking then dragging me around some more. We started off the tour by checking out the screened dam on the river to assist the fish to find the fish ladder leading into the spawning tanks. On the way to the next part of the tour Mila and I crawled over some grating for a better view the fish ladder. It’s difficult to see some of the fish path ways because they are all covered to prevent birds eating the fish.

The spawning tank was kind of meh. Due to all of the rain we’ve had recently the water was dark, almost black. The black water made it almost impossible to see fish unless they were jumping. From there we took a tour of the incubation room where they let the eggs bake and hatch. All of the hardware in the incubation room was manufactured locally in a facility in Tacoma WA. Buy local I guess? From there we toured a growing pond where baby Salmon grow up a bit before heading out into the ocean. It’s about a year to 18 months in fresh water before a salmon is baked enough to head to open ocean.

The grand conclusion of the tour was in one of the freezers at the facility where they pulled out some multi year old frozen fish to show the kids what a 20# salmon, and sturgeon looked like. Then they pulled out some predators that visit the facility; a small minx and a sea otter. Mila got to pet and touch all of the frozen animals then we loaded up into the car and took off home. Successful trip and great daddy Mila time. Now some pictures:

The screen to help fish find the hatchery vs. heading further upstream. Encourage nature

Mila and Miss Kemper looking the river screen

Fish Ladder

Mila hanging out with her teacher

Mila checking out the frozen minx

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