TOUCH AND LEARN
Children have a natural fascination with animals, and a hands-on program with exotic creatures can be educational, fun— and make for great photographs and memories. Some encounter programs specialize in snakes, frogs, and lizards; some bring along more cuddly creatures, like bunnies, ferrets, chinchillas and flying squirrels.
Be sure to ask whether the presenter prefers to work indoors or outside, and if there are any other special considerations. (Bug spray, for example, can be toxic to some of these little guys.) Also, children can get very excited to see and touch the animals. As most animals respond better to a calm audience, it can be helpful to explain your expectations to the kids in advance, with gentle reminders during the program.
Locally, you can check out Riverside Reptiles, www.riversidereptiles.com Reptiles on theMove, www.reptilesonthemove.com; Curious Creatures, www.curiouscreatures.org; Bwana Iguana Reptile Adventure www.bwanaiguana.com; and Animal Experiences by Dave, www.bestanimalexperiencesbydave.com; among others. Mystic Aquarium also offers on-site and traveling parties locally; visit www.mysticaquarium.org.