Rut’s up? Get a close look at the fascinating behavior of hooved critters during their breeding season, as they spar, grunt and bugle (sounds like a law firm!) in their battle for supremacy. At Northwest Trek’s Get Out of the Rut celebration over Labor Day weekend, take a tram tour out to the viewing areas and look for educational activities on Trek grounds. If you really want to explore the subject, sign up for an elk-bugling tour any weekend from Sept. 12 to Oct. 4. You’ll spend a couple of hours following an elk herd and listening for their eerie call (or bugle), followed by a continental breakfast at the Hellyer Natural History Center inside the free-roaming area. Get Out of the Rut weekend is Sept. 5–7, 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m., with hourly tram tours starting at 10 a.m. Free with admission: $7.50–$15.50 (includes tram tour); county residents $6.50–$13.50. The weekend elk-bugling tours run 8–10 a.m. and are for ages 13 and older. Admission is $47, and reservations are required (tickets go fast!); visit Northwest Trek to make yours online.
Museums for free. We do love the freebies around here, and here’s a worthwhile one: On Saturday, Sept. 26, more than 30 museums in Washington (and hundreds across the United States) open their doors to the public for free as part of Smithsonian magazine’s fifth annual Museum Day. Locations include the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum; Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum and Washington State History Museum in Tacoma; Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia; and Jefferson County Historical Museum in Port Townsend. Visit Smithsonian to download your pass. One pass is good for two people; one pass per household.
Son day. The Hands On Children’s Museum is resurrecting its popular Mother/Son Adventure Night on Saturday, Sept. 26. You and your boy can spend a little quality time creating crafts together and navigating an obstacle course — and there’s dinner! Best of all, it’s free (but preregistration is a must: call 360-956-0818, ext. 0). 6–9 p.m. 106 11th Ave. S.W., Olympia.