Sometimes it takes a child to remind adults that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Dozens of local youngsters were proving that to their parents Saturday as they ventured out fearless to meet lizards, tarantulas and even an alligator that came to town with Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo.
Madison Pascoe, 5, is no stranger to the creatures. She and her dad Rich came to the exhibit when it was in Thunder Bay last year. She held a tarantula that time. This time, she raced up to greet a massive anaconda with no fear. While she and other children put their hands out to meet the snake, Rich and other parents were a little more hesitant. They only went up to it after being encouraged by the children.
“You pet it,” Madison told her dad.
“I think you’re a little braver than me,” Rich said as he hesitantly put his hand out.
Madison said the snakes were her favourite part of this year’s exhibit.
“They felt slimy,” she said.
Rich said it’s great to see how much his daughter enjoys meeting all of the creatures the show has to offer.
“Just watching how much she enjoys all the animals and how fearless she is,” he said.
Zoo education director Kevin Dungey said he’s taken the mobile exhibit from coast to coast and sees how brave children are all the time. Fearing creatures like the scorpions, spiders and snakes that the show exhibits sometimes comes from parents. For the record, this 30-year-old reporter was weak in the knees the entire time he was at the CLE Coliseum for the exhibit. Children can learn early that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
“When we have an opportunity to get through to these kids and actually put tarantulas in their hands that are bigger than their hands are we get to get at them before these fears grow in them,” he said. “They’re not the dangerous scary animals you see being sensationalized on TV all the time.”
The exhibit is open Sunday and Monday.
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