I scheduled this event long ago and after what felt like FOREVER, last night it finally arrived! This is an animal refuge center that works closely with the community and partners with my daughters school district for day trips. We’ve been to many a birthday party here as well as cougar training, sloth presentations and new porcupine arrival.
A few years ago, there was a reptile habitat that we always visited. They ended up closing down and diffusing their animals to other local centers. This is one of the places that accepted many of the animals which included exotic pets that people had abandoned. So, some of the tortoises and snakes we’ve known for years!
I was already beyond excited, and we arrived to a cozy halloween setup with spooky music, much candy, cider and donuts and roving animal handlers carrying cute chubby rats.
This animal presentation was different than the others we’ve seen. At parties and school field trips, they show animals like armadillos, kangaroos and wallabies. For the Halloween ‘show’ there was Gila monster, indigo snake, black vulture, African raven, baby bat and a tarantula.
My goal of the night was to touch the tarantula. Not make friends with it. Not enjoy it. Just to touch it. Now…oftentimes in these settings they have tarantulas that either don’t have fangs, or don’t have venom. Both untrue last night. When “Bella” was brought out and aimed at the speaker, he stepped back and said, “oh, am *I* handling it?!” At which point this rockstar gal of a handler just did it herself with no trouble. As they brought her around, we were told to A.) Be quiet. B.) Don’t make sudden movements. C.) Just basically don’t do anything because Bella may jump *on to us*. The next step as it got closer was to threaten my daughter quietly “stop wiggling your chair because if that thing jumps on me I will die right here in this fucking conservatory.”…paraphrasing. Of course. Bella neither shot poison hairs into my eyes or jumped on my face which I thought was very cool of her. Fwends! 😍🕷
Included in the tickets were an opportunity to sit in on the night’s bat flight. Last year we skipped this event entirely because I’d thought this part was only for 18+. So I jumped this year when I saw no restrictions. We were rounded up in the large warehouse habitat next door where most of the animals homes are. I couldn’t see the speaker in the dark setting so I don’t have much information. But, after a few minutes they released 32 fruit bats for feeding and it was beautiful. Silent and peaceful as they flew overhead and in and out of their nooks searching for food in the night. The two resident sloths high on the ceiling even emerged from their buckets to get a snack.
So, even if we get rained out on the 31st, this halloween season has been wonderful. Just this was enough. And I can’t wait to go back next year.