As an animal lover growing up in Kansas, our annual grade school field trip to the University of Kansas Natural History Museum was always a high point. I adored the famous Panorama of taxidermy, and the working, cutaway beehive, but what I looked forward to most was the chance to gaze upon a real jackalope.
We adults require our animals to be just what they are, but I often think the world would be a better place if we hadn’t lost whatever it is about kids that allows them to accept the possibility of crazy animal hybrids. I’m as big a stick in the mud as any when it comes to combining species. After all, it recently took 30 minutes of bickering and this Wikipedia entry to convince me that cattle and buffalo had been crossed to produce an animal called a beefalo.
If there is one place such a creature could roam free, it’s in the children’s collection at the library. In fact, there are so many weird animals to be found here, I sometimes think of it as a warmer, fuzzierIsland of Dr. Moreau, with the sociopathic, mad scientist of that title replaced by a maniacal Lisa Frank, fresh off a post-doc fellowship in genetics at Johns Hopkins, flush with grant money, and ready to combine as many cute animals as she can get her hands on.
Most remember the Gryphon, a lion and eagle mash-up immortalized by Victorian illustrator John Tenniel in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But there are so many other wondrous species within the pages of books, I’ve compiled them over the years into a sort of children’s literature bestiary. Without further ado, here are my five favorites: Read More..
On Thursday, July 13 at 11 AM and 2 PM in the Auditorium, join the Topeka Zoo as they present live animals and discuss how these creatures provide us with a better world. From disease control to keeping our planet clean, these furry, feathered, and scaly animals provide services we cannot live without. Be sure not to miss this wild presentation! TWO FREE SHOWS! ALL AGES!
On Wednesday, July 12th from 2-3 PM in the Auditorium, Rachel from the Topeka Zoo will use live animals and bio-facts to discuss threatened and endangered animals, the causes for animals being threatened or endangered, and what we can do from right here in northeast Kansas to reduce threat to endangered species around the world. Program is for ages 5-6. Register: 785-843-3833 or at Library Chidren’s Desk.
On Monday, July 10th from 2-3 PM in the Auditorium, we’ll have live animals join us from Prairie Park Nature Center! We’ll learn amazing facts about animals, how they improve our world, and how we can protect them. Program is for ages 7-11. Register: 785-843-3833 or at Library Chidren’s Desk.
We’re transporting to the beautiful Latin American country of Columbia on Tuesday, Oct 4 from 6-9 PM with a gorgeous box office smash and delicious tamale dinner!
The evening kicks off on the Library Lawn at 6 PM with a $5 tamale dinner that will help support KU’s Latin American Graduate Organization.
Then, we’ll move indoors for Magia Salvaje (with subtitles), a film featuring never-before-seen images of Colombian nature, starring the Andean condor, the silver arowana fish, the spectacled bear, the jaguar, the Orinoco crocodile, the humpbacked whale, the pink dolphin and many others. “This is the perfect, 90-minute opportunity to learn more about Colombia’s unique biodiversity and to fall in love with the heaven on earth that is Colombia.” (colombia.co)
Pet World will join us with an amazing array of animals to learn about. We hope you can join us for this fuzzy finale to Exploratorium! Registration required. Call (785) 843-3833 or register in person at the Children’s Desk.
Come meet some of the most adorable animals in the world from the coolest pet store in town. Pet World animal experts will be on hand to show off their radical beasts and creatures. Petting will happen. Registration required. Call (785) 843-3833 or register in person at the Children’s Desk.