Who misses going on school field trips? I know I do. Visiting the Springs Preserve’s Wild Animal Interaction one weekend brought all those feelings back.
It’s not every day you can hang out with little critters (nieces, nephews, cousins and siblings don’t count, guys!). Not only do you get to hang out with these fun and friendly animals, you get to learn facts about them too. Can this blog count as my class report?
During the hour-long Wild Animal Interaction, I got to hang out with a boa constrictor, toucan, bearcat, armadillo, a coatis (member of the raccoon family) and a baby kangaroo.
Pandora, the red boa constrictor was such a sweetie pie and oh-so patient. When the zoo keeper draped her across my shoulders, I felt like Aaliyah in her “We Need a Resolution” music video. For those of you terrified of snakes, you really shouldn’t be. Her skin felt really cool and smooth — quite refreshing for a warm, sunny day. She didn’t bite at all and even a couple of brave toddlers carried her like it was nothing.
The endangered Bornean Binturong (Asian bearcat) kind of reminded me of a black Chow Chow. While I could feel his heavy paws march across my shoulders, I wasn’t intimidated in the least bit. Like Pandora, the bearcat was very friendly. A fun fact? These bearcats smell like popcorn. The keeper said it’s a way for them to get the ladies. I’m not sure if she was kidding, but what I can say is that it worked on me.
Seeing and meeting a toucan in person for the first time was a colorful experience. I learned that a toucan uses its long beak to blend in with the leaves and shadows as a defense mechanism. The beak also helps regulate body temperature and cools its body. That day, Can-Can the Toucan used its beak to poke and tug at me. I’m also thinking Can-Can is friends with Froot Loop’s Toucan Sam since she’s a big fan of fruit. Her favorites include blueberries and papaya.
I also got a chance to meet a playful American coatis. This raccoon-tailed hooligan snatched the headband off my head. I didn’t mind. The coatis species live in the Andes rain forest, as well as Texas and New Mexico. They’ll eat anything, so if you live in either of these two states you might see one rummaging through your trash.
I also had fun carrying the armadillo and baby kangaroo. The armadillo hid in its shell so it looked like an egg. Bundled in a blanket, the baby kangaroo behaved well by staying still and looking cute.
There are different types of animals each weekend, so you should try and come back more than twice. They rotate six animals at a time and occasionally bring some of the same ones back.
I recommend going to the free show, “Wild Things at the Springs” at the amphitheater before heading to the interaction portion. You’ll learn fascinating facts and what’s being done to save these species. Showtimes are Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. through June.
The interaction is also available until the end of June. Admission is only $10 with a purchase of a Springs Preserve day pass. These critters belong to Roos-N-More zoo in Moapa, a city between Las Vegas and Mesquite.
If you’re looking to have that “field trip feeling” back, I’d mosey on over here. Then you can say you hung out with the real party animals.