Despite the hot, humid weather, the Northumberland Public Library’s second annual free Petting Zoo was a big success, drawing an estimated crowd of about 500 eager kids and their parents on July 9.
The event ran from 9 a.m. to noon and the large crowds had plenty of animals to interact with as they walked through the various exhibits in the field behind the library and also in the library’s Meeting Room. The event, held during the library’s Summer Reading Program, was “a win-win situation,” said Jan Bates, the library’s Coordinator of Children’s Programs. That’s because about 100 children also “came into the library and checked out books,” she explained.
Animals at the event included ball pythons, Gordon the Tortoise, sugar gliders, a Tegu lizard, large and small goats, pigs, geese, ducks, chickens and exotic birds. Also on hand were earthworms, bees in a glass hive, a gerbil, a guinea pig, a Bearded Dragon lizard and more.
“It’s the most useful opportunity to get kids involved with animal husbandry,” said Bernadette Barber, who was there with her two pigs – Hamlet and Chop. “I think it is really cool because it gets kids used to animals,” agreed Gavin Rogers, owner of Gordon’s Pet Store in Warsaw. Rogers brought Gordon the Tortoise, Patty the ball python, a Tegu lizard, a pair of exotic birds and several other animals to the Petting Zoo.
While the weather was hot, Cheryl Jett’s ducks and geese managed to keep cool. They put their small wading pool to good use. “They are absolute sweethearts,” Jett said. “They’ve been enjoying the pool all day.”
Kids said they had a tremendous time. Eriann O’Bier, 12, said it was fun and she particularly liked the Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Why? “Because they are small,” she explained.