Yesterday Jack and I went to the nature center near our house. There was an open house and a naturalist was displaying various creatures for kids to hold or look at. Jack loves this stuff; there's hardly a bug or small animal he sees that he won't try to pick up. Thankfully he doesn't ask to keep them or bring them home.
There were only four families at the nature center so there was plenty of time and space for everyone to see all the creatures. What all did we see?
-- Snake. I can't remember what kind it was but it was native to the area. I've only seen small garter snakes in our city. I had no idea that larger ones lived in the area. Jack held the two-foot long snake. I watched.
-- Salamander. A wet lizard. I used to find these in window wells but hadn't seen one in a long time. Probably because of global warming.
-- Turtles. Jack knew quite a bit about the painted and snapping turtles. I didn't know he had been reading about them.
-- Feral children. An older couple had brought their three young boys. Dad wore Birkenstocks. Mom didn't wear a bra (but most certainly should have, at least when she was much younger; it was probably too late now). The parents were nice people but a little too laid back. Other parents had to tell their kids to stop pounding on the glass of aquariums. The mom and dad must have thought their boys were just being "interactive" or something like that, even though there were plenty of signs telling us to not knock on the glass.
--Red tailed hawk. What a beautiful bird. When he broke a wing the Raptor Center nursed him to health but because he got used to human contact he couldn't go back into the wild. Only the naturalist could hold the birds. When she moved the bird slightly, his head was motionless, compensating for her every movement. Nature's version of image stabilization. Very interesting.
--Barred owl. Another gorgeous bird. He was in captivity because he had been abandoned as a baby and raised by people. It was really neat to see him up close. He pooped on the floor as he stood on the handler's glove. The kids loved it.
-- Man with really loud and annoying cell phone ring tone. Everything stopped as his phone belted out six seconds of some song. Over and over. He couldn't just answer the phone. No, he had to wait for the caller ID information to pop up first. Then he could answer the phone. Hey, yeah! How's it going?! I can hardly hear you! I'm looking at birds with my kids! What?! Yeah! Oh! Okay! Ah, nothing, just looking at birds! I'd better go no because I'm behaving like a complete ass and people are starting to look for sharp objects. All but the last sentence was said but hey, let me have my fantasies.
-- Wild turkeys. Several were outside the building but they came right up to the huge windows. They watched us as we watched them.
-- American Kestrel. Another in the raptor family. Smaller than the red tailed hawk. He must not have been very hungry last night - there was a half-eaten mouse on the floor near his stand. Ewww, gross said some of the kids as they kept coming back again and again to see the mouse.