Local zoo works to provide fun and education to community

				                                Although a little shy, this little girl gently pet the bristly defenses of a rather cantankerous hedgehog named Amy. (Photo by Ashley McCarty)

Although a little shy, this little girl gently pet the bristly defenses of a rather cantankerous hedgehog named Amy. (Photo by Ashley McCarty)

By Ashley McCarty

People’s Defender

Family Traditions Animal Adventure has enamored the community as they sought to enrich both children and adults over the past two weeks.

Last week on Monday, Family Traditions Animal Adventure began their five-day camp which would not only provide campers a hands-on experience with the animals but also cultivate knowledge about them.

“We ran it Monday through Friday from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. We had around 50 campers each day, we averaged between 47 and 50 all week long. Some visitors attended from as far as two hours away, and even Southshore, Kentucky. We did activities around different animals on different days, like one day we covered birds, so the children got to build enrichment items for our parrots. They also got to dance with our cockatoo, Charlie, who loves to dance, and go into our parakeet encounter and feed them. There are about 125 parakeets, and they fly down, so the campers really liked that. For the younger children, we did duck, duck, goose on that day, and it was also centered around different themes. One day we took a hike and looked at native wildlife and signs for native wildlife, what we can do to keep our wildlife wild. Things like that,” said owner Ryen Shiveley.

On Friday, the campers would learn about domestic farm animals as well as life on a farm. The older campers walked, brushed and prepared ponies for the younger campers to ride, and campers had a chance to show their artistic abilities by making farm animals from simple craft supplies.

On Monday, June 7, Family Traditions Animal Adventure began another outreach, packing up some of their most endearing animal ambassadors to visit the county library branches.

“We’re bringing out our animal ambassadors and talking about them. We’ll have different species at each location, so tomorrow there may be a new set of animals that go with us. We’re just trying to educate and introduce both children and adults to animals that they may not have ever experienced,” said Shiveley.

At the West Union branch, Shiveley was accompanied by their six-week-old ring-tailed lemur, their elderly hedgehog, Amy, and their 10-week-old gray fox, Maple.

On Tuesday, they would visit the Peebles location, followed by North Adams on Wednesday and Manchester on Thursday.

“Our summer hours begin Wednesday. It will be Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sundays 1-5 p.m. We have several events planned throughout the summer and into fall, and you can check that out on our Facebook page. We do overnight campouts and things like that, where we’ll do animal encounters, outdoor movies, and then they get to camp out and see the zoo at night,” said Shively.

The ever-popular Sloth Encounter is booked through August; however, upcoming encounters will be posted soon on their Facebook page, as well.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/Family-Traditions-Animal-Adventure-LLC-340723623008760.

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