I think you're heading in the right direction by going to the range open house. No doubt there will be many experienced shooters, and several range officers there who can help you get started. Just make sure to tell the Range Officer that youre inexperienced, but want to learn. You'll likely get some good hands on help.
As far as a bolt .22 goes, I recomend the Savage Mark II. The fit and finish isnt quite as nice as on the marlin or ruger, but the savage will outshine both in accuracy.