IN WHAT was its fourth year as part of the Royal Adelaide Show, the Agsplorers Track forged ahead with its goal of educating children about agriculture.
Arming families with a guidebook that included fun agricultural facts, quizzes and puzzles, Agsplorers guides participants through feature breed sites for poultry and pigeons, beef cattle, sheep, dairy cattle and pigs.
The children collected stamps and giveaways from stands including PIRSA, the Learning Centre and Golden Grains, and visited sites such as the Farm Expo, Exhibition Dairy and the Milking Barn.
There were 12 stops this year, with the show museum and archives, and goat and alpaca shed the new additions.
The track was the brainchild of Naracoorte's Amanda Lock, a passionate shows and agricultural advocate.
After one trip to the Royal Adelaide Show with son Eddie, she realised they had not taken home anything to do with agriculture.
"We'd taken home showbags, we'd taken home all sorts of random, crazy things but we hadn't taken home anything to do with agriculture," she said.
"I wanted to see kids leave the showgrounds with a message about agriculture and that's where the booklet, the information in it, and the track started."
The booklet was primarily aimed at middle primary school-aged children, but there was information and activities to cater for kids right up to year 7, according to Mrs Lock.
The track aims to get children exploring the showground's agriculture area.
"Everything is based from the poultry pavilion down to dairy - it is all agricultural education along the trail," Mrs Lock said.
"We try and remind them of agriculture after they've left the showground.
"It's important as a basic introduction to agriculture and understanding a farmer's way of life and that people deal with these animals every day. It's a good opportunity to start talking about the food cycle and where food comes from.
"They're up close and personal with animals instead of just seeing them in pictures or on the television. It's tactile - they can see, touch, feel, smell which creates strong memories."
The Agsplorers Track has grown from 1000 children participating in the first year to almost 20,000 hitting the trail this year.
"It's great entertainment for kids and parents compared to a minute or two on a show ride," Mrs Lock said.
"It sparks a conversation and is an entry point to agriculture."
One of the volunteers manning the SA Country Shows stand during the Royal Adelaide Show was Nicholas Tremaine, who is a great advocate for country shows, travelling back to Parndana on Kangaroo Island from Sydney each year to help with his local event.
The SA Country Shows stand gave out bookmarks with fun facts about country shows, along with the dates of upcoming shows in SA.
"The idea is to promote the country shows to city-based families who might like to go for a day trip because a lot of the shows are quite close to Adelaide," Mr Tremaine said.
"The best part about the trail is that before we had it, a lot of these kids probably wouldn't have ventured down into the animal sections of the Royal Adelaide."
Nick and Karrissa Routley, Port Broughton, took their children Jason, Amelia and Harrison along the Agsplorers Track, saying it was appealing because it was entertaining, free and took them into areas they wouldn't normally venture, such as the grains pavilion.