Discovery Day teams hold fifth-annual event to educate and thrill over 600 visitors

Mark DeLap
Posted 5/17/23

Annual Discover Day is growing

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Discovery Day teams hold fifth-annual event to educate and thrill over 600 visitors


WHEATLAND – Children and adults alike were privy to learning about and in some cases experiencing what it’s like to be in the shoes of area professionals.

Kids and parents from all over Platte County came to the Platte County Fire Training Center May 6 for Discovery Day which featured professionals from all over Platte County and one participant from Laramie County who made their professions transparent and accessible.

A head count was tallied at 622 people that came to visit and that was not counting the professionals running the exhibits, teaching and the volunteers.

From highwire climbing gear to tractors, police cars and ambulances and even a helicopter technician, the public could come and find out about the vehicles and equipment our local Platte County professionals use in their everyday lives.

“This is where the kids can come through and turn on our sirens and our lights,” said Wyoming State Highway Patrol Trooper Jaime Wingard. “They can climb in and out of our cars as well as all of the equipment that is here today. They also got to see the helicopter land from Life Flight.”

The event is held annually at the Platte County Fire Training Center in Wheatland, and according to Guernsey police officer Mac Holt, his wife, Phathom Holt had initiated the event in 2017 and other than taking a year off for COVID, it has been successful ever since.

“She had to explain it to Kiwanis, and started this thing out of nothing and it was her brainchild from the start,” he said. “The last time we had it, we had 600 people here. My wife has merged it with Book and a Bite from the Platte County Library. The library had the books out and were also selling food. Kiwanis was providing all the cleanup and the setting and the arranging.”

The event was again a success on a very cool and windy Saturday morning which was usual for this spring as people were just glad it wasn’t snowing. The setup started at around 7 a.m. and people started rolling in at 9 a.m. The event lasted until 1 p.m.

“From 9-10 we had quiet hour,” Phathom Holt said. “It was for kids with special needs. I contacted Book and a Bite and that has been a wonderful partnership. I can’t say enough about it. We try to reach out to everybody. It’s a totally free event and I so want to thank all the professionals that come out and share their equipment and their expertise.”

This year Holt had Chrystal Tracy working with her as a co-organizer and both gals were pleased at how many people turned out. According to Holt, it’s grown each year since its inception and the professionals who have come each year have continually added to their displays and brought more fun things for the kids to do.

When people entered the grounds, there were complimentary earplugs handed out as there were sirens and horns sounding all morning from the kids who wanted to try the sirens out on the police vehicles and the fire engines. The Platte County Sheriff’s Department had a drone that was flying around this year and also a popular attraction for the kids were the four-legged police officers, Officer Toro and Officer Poncho.

Another popular station for the kids to go through was a Book and a Bite which was set up in the fire training center. It was nonstop kids and foot traffic all day. According to Julie Henion who runs the programs for the Platte County Library said they have already seen over 1,000 kids participate in Book and a Bite in 2023.

According to Henion, they were expecting to give away between 300-400 books on the day.

“This is awesome,” Henion said. “And the County Commissioners help fund it, so that was nice. This is one of my favorite jobs for sure. Today the library also provided lunch and Kiwanis is cooking it.”2023 Discovery Day Participants:

Gift Bag Contributions provided by: Lee's Towing, Platte Co Public Health, Platte Co Public Safety, CH Brown Family, Platte Co Weed and Pest, Bank of the West, Drube's Home, Simply Creative, The Wandering Hermit, First State Bank, Ace Hardware, Wheatland Lockwood Farms, Downtown Laundry, Department of Family Services, Cinema West, Blue Raven Realty, Wyoming Child and Family Development, Platte County Parks and Recreation

Display Vehicles Courtesy of: Basin Electric, Laramie River Station, Wyoming Machinery, Platte Co Weed and Pest, Wheatland Police Department, Platte Co Sheriff's Office, Town of Wheatland, Wheatland REA, Laramie Peak Motors, Hillside Rental, Wheatland Fire Department, US Postal Service, Bob Ruwart Motors, Banner Health EMS, Lee's Towing, CH Brown Family

Additional Support Provided by: Platte Co Fire Training Center, Platte Co Commissioners, Platte Co Library, Platte Co Library Foundation, Wheatland REA, Platte Co home schoolers, Thespian Troop 605, Hillside Rental, Wyoming Lifeflight, The Seidel Family, First State Bank, The Kiwanis Club of Wheatland