ITHACA, N.Y. — Kids and adults were covered head to toe with mud Saturday for the sixth annual International Mud Day at Ithaca Children’s Garden.

In the middle of the Hands-on-Nature Anarchy Zone in Ithaca Children’s Garden, hundreds of people throughout the day splashed and played in a crater of a mud pile. Children slid down mud-slicked slides into a massive puddle, threw bucketfuls of mud at each other and made mud pies at a Mud Kitchen.

Less than an hour into the event, the Ithaca Fire Department arrived to flood the mud pit with more water.

The annual event is a chance for kids — and adults — to just play.

Elaine Springer, communications coordinator for Ithaca Children’s Garden, said International Mud Day is about getting your hands and body dirty as a way to connect with the Earth and just have fun.

“What’s great about this event — and the garden and the Hands-on-Nature Anarchy Zone in general — is that it’s a place for them to just feel free to get reconnected with the Earth and to play and to use their imaginations,” Springer said.

International Mud Day first began in Nepal and Australia in 2008. It has since spread around the world, though Ithaca can claim it had the first International Mud Day in the Northeast.

The event took place with the support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service and a grant from the Tompkins County Tourism Program.

Just this week, the Hands-on-Nature Anarchy Zone received the American Public Garden Association Program Excellence Award.

Check out some photos from the event. All photos by Kelsey O’Connor/Ithaca Voice.

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.