Visitors to William S. Hart Park were welcome to several on site events to participate, learn and have fun with A Day at the Ranch and Open House on Saturday.
“It’s becoming an arts enterprise zone,” said Al Ewing, a recreation services leader with Hart Park.
Participants gather to listen to country music, as well as dance and sing karaoke. While the emphasis is country music, Ewing said he played other genres by request. He added that his goal is to play songs that guests have forgotten, so they remember them upon hearing at Hart Park, such as classics from ABBA to the Beatles.
As people gather in the park for their own purposes or day trips, Ewing hopes people gather in bringing a sense of community welfare.
For “A Day at the Ranch,” the park featured “California Flora and Fauna,” an educational and hands-on activity area where guests can learn about the native plants and animals living around the property. A display stand, led by volunteers Jacob Levy and Madison Leas, labelled and listed the natural aspects of the park.
“William S. Hart only wanted native plants on his property, so basically I just went around and did a lot of research on what the natives are, what’s special about them,” said Levy, who is a botany student. “What I would want people to walk away with is this plant, the California buckwheat, which you see everywhere, it’s really important for bees, natives used to use it for medicine and teas.”
Leas’ display featured not only different species, such as bison, rattlesnakes and squirrels, but also different kind of owls, lizards and birds in the area, including quails and skinks. She also showed guests the different footprints that can be found, such as from coyotes.
“I think that the museum does a lot of things that are focused on cowboy lifestyle or rancher things like that, so I think this time they wanted to do something that was different,” she said.
At the mansion, guests were also offered an Open House tour, where they could freely walk its halls and ask docents whatever questions they may have.
Administrator Margi Bertram said there is a focus to hold an Open House once a month and work themes into the tours. She said that due to large groups of people who happen to be playing “Pokémon GO” on their phones, a theme in mind would feature games that would be played at the mansion while Hart was alive.
Overall, she said, encouraging people to stop by with events and the Open House worked well and hopes it continues with more events to come.