July 15 - 17, 2020

Becoming an Outdoor Family 2020 - Pelican Lake

July 15 - 17, 2020 Pelican Lake Recreation Area • 17450 450th Ave WatertownSD  57201 View Map Organized by South Dakota State Parks


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About this event

July 15 - 17, 2020
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Pelican Lake Recreation Area

17450 450th Ave WatertownSD  57201
View Map

Becoming an Outdoor Family teaches skills for a lifetime of outdoor recreation. We'll introduce you to several outdoor activities, providing all the instruction and equipment you need to try it out for yourself. It's ideal for kids age 8 and up, but the whole family will enjoy spending time outside together, no matter the age.

The program includes instruction in your choice of four hands-on classes, participation in three general sessions and two nights of camping on an electrical campsite. Families arrive Wednesday, July 15, and depart Friday, July 17. For an additional fee, registrants can arrive a day early or stay through the weekend.

Event details and schedule

Pelican Lake Recreation Area

Watertown, SD
July 15-17, 2020 (Wed-Fri)

Program fee:

  • $90 per family

Fee includes

  • Instruction in your choice of four classes.
  • Participation in several general sessions.
  • Materials and equipment use during the program.
  • A t-shirt for each member of your family.
  • Electrical campsite for two nights. Bathroom and shower facilities are located nearby. Sites 6-33 in the east campground.

Financial assistance is available for those who qualify. Call 605.773.7048 to inquire.

Extended stay options

  • Arrive Early (+1 night): $27.56, arrive on Tues, July 14
  • Stay the Weekend (+2 nights): $55.12, depart on Sun, July 19

You are responsible for

  • Park entrance license - either a daily pass available for $8 per day or an annual pass for $36 (fees required per vehichle).
  • Lodging - you will need to provide your own tent(s) and/or camper. 
  • Individual items - bedding, towels, food, clothing, personal items, etc.

About pets

  • Pets may accompany your family to the park, but not to classes. Pets are not allowed in any buildings. Our schedule will keep us busy; please be sure they get proper attention and care.


  • Classes will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. We will do our best to place you in your first choice classes. Be sure to provide secondary choices in case your first choices are full. Your class assignments will be provided approximately two weeks before the event.
  • Families don't all have to attend the same classes, but children under age 15 must be accompanied by an adult to every class.
  • For classes that list an age recommendation, children under that age may attend the class with an adult, but may be limited in their participation.
  • Class choices include: 
    • Archery and Air Guns, ages 8+
      This is a two-part class. The first part will go through the basics of archery and archery safety, then getting to shoot the Genesis bows that we have (the same ones used in the National Archery in the Schools Program.) The second part of the class will go over general firearm safety and shooting air guns.
    • Birding and Birdhouse Building
      This session will take participants on a gravel trail to our observation tower while we view and identify the variety of bird species that live in the park. When we finish our hike, we will spend the last half of the session building a wood duck and blue bird houses. Binoculars will be limited, please bring your own if you have a set.
    • Deer Hunting 101
      This class will be a general introduction to deer hunting. Participants will learn how to identify deer and learn some beginner tips on deer habitat, sign, and finding hunting locations. We will also go over different hunting methods and seasons available in South Dakota.
    • Fishing (license not required)
      This is a crash course on all things fishing. We will learn about lakes, fishes of South Dakota, tying knots, different baits, lures and techniques to catch fish, and how to clean and cook fish. Once we’ve covered the basics, we will set up our poles and head out to the lake to test our luck on the water. A fishing license is not required for this program.
    • Geocaching and Orienteering
      Join us on a modern-day treasure hunt. During this class, we will learn how to use GPS units to find hidden geocaches within the park. We will enter and download coordinates and follow the course to finding the “treasure.” We will also cover the basics of orienteering by using a compass to navigate. There will be some hands on activities to get familiar with how that works.
    • Making Tracks Wildlife Hike
      In this class, we will learn about some of the critters that might leave tracks behind in our parks. To begin, we will be creating our own tracks out of plaster. Following that, we will learn about many of the animals we have here in South Dakota by their fur, skulls, tracks and a playing a game. We will wrap up by taking a hike around the park to see if we can identify any tracks that some animals have left behind.
    • Outdoor Photography
      Learn the basics of mastering outdoor and nature photography, regardless of what type of camera you use. We'll learn the basics of exposure, lighting, composition and a few tips to take your photography to the next level. 
    • Paddling, ages 8+
      Learn how to navigate the open water on a kayak or paddle board. In this class we will teach you paddling skills, safety, and what equipment is right for you. We will also have a kayak scavenger hunt set up on the lake. You will have to paddle to several points on the lakes to find clues and put the pieces together to solve our puzzle.
    • Plant and Tree ID
      This will be an introductory class to the different plants and trees in the park native to South Dakota. We will be wandering through pollinator plots looking for common plants and then head into the campground to see what kinds of trees make our park beautiful. By the end of the session, we will see how many different species we were able to find from the checklist.    
    • Trapping 101
      This class will teach the basics of trapping. We will demonstrate how to set a trap, signs to look for and give our tips and tricks of the trade. Staff will also demonstrate different “sets” trappers use in various situations to catch their game.  
    • Waterfowl Hunting 101
      In this class, we will help you get familiar with the basics of waterfowl hunting and how you can get into the field to enjoy another of South Dakota’s favorite fall activities. We will learn how to identify many common waterfowl species in our area, how to look for spots to hunt and set up decoys, learn your way around a shotgun, and some regulations with hunting in South Dakota.


Schedule - all times Central Time
(subject to change)

Wednesday, July 15

9:00 – 2:00 PM             Check-in (those that select the early arrival option arrive July 14)
4:00 – 5:00 PM             Welcome, Orientation
5:00 – 7:00 PM             Yard Games, East Campground    

Thursday, July 16

5:45 – 6:45 AM            Sunrise Yoga, Picnic Shelter
9:30 – 11:00 AM           Class Session 1
11:00 – 1:00 PM           Lunch on your own
1:00 – 2:30 PM             Class Session 2
3:30 – 5:00 PM             Class Session 3
6:00 PM                       Potluck Campfire and Dutch Oven Dinner
                                   Hot dogs will be provided; please bring a side to share.
                                   We’ll all work together to make dessert in Dutch Ovens!

Friday, July 17

9:30 – 11:00 AM           Class Session 4
4:00 PM                        Campsite checkout (for those not staying the weekend)
8:30 – 10:00 PM           Owls and night hike, Picnic Shelter

Additional naturalist programs to be held on Saturday                                     


Cancellation policy

  • If you cancel on or before June 15, a $25 cancellation fee will be deducted from your refund. Registrants who cancel after that time will be assessed the full program fee.

Event contact

Pelican Lake Recreation Area
605.882.5200, PelicanLake@state.sd.us
Registration issues - 605.773-7048


Pelican Lake Recreation Area • 17450 450th Ave WatertownSD  57201 Get Directions

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