AnimalPalooza - Bringing Nature To You!

Are you the Bug Lady? Small children would ask as I crossed the playground, lugging two large duffel bags. Ripples of excitement punctuated with delighted shrieks spread from hopscotchers to kick ballers. The Bug Lady Is Here! I felt like a minor celebrity, and perhaps Pied Piper as children ran alongside, trying to peek into my bags.

Children love bugs. In my pre-Momma life I taught for using live insects for Insect Discovery Lab. Preschoolers and kindergardeners had no misconceptions, no prejudices. They loved to watch, to touch, to hold, the Giant Millipede. The Hissing Cockroach. The Australian Walking Stick. First and Second graders bubbled with uncontainable excitement, hands shot into the air and curiosity tumbled forth, even before meeting the insects. Where do they live? What do they eat? How long do they live? My bugs inspired Pure Wonder - the kind that only kids experience - that’s what I loved about my job. One particular second grader enthused to Norm Gershenz, the director of This is the best day of my life.

This is why I think all San Francisco parents of wee ones need to know about:
AnimalPalooza. This Saturday September 24, 11am to 5pm at Fort Mason.
“Get closer to nature than ever before with hands-on encounters with wild animals.”
Much more than bugs. It’s not every day that you meet a Lemur. Hedgehog. Skink. Ocelot. Fennec Fox. Brought to you by and featuring your favorite Bay Area non-profit conservation groups and education organizations.

Love and Respect for Nature. It was at the top of a mental list of Values I Want To Impart Upon My Daughter that I made while gazing down at my burgeoning belly, right after Fondness for Ultimate Frisbee. Hikes at Mount Tam. Turning over rocks near Stowe Lake. Swinging by the Cal Academy. David Attenborough documentaries. And every so often, an event like AnimalPalooza for an up close and personal encounter with animals we don’t see everyday. That ought to do it.