Zoo & Aquarium News

VLM opens Wild and Well –role-play exhibit for kids

Calling future animal keepers and vets! Come play, learn and dream in the new permanent exhibit, “Wild & Well,” that opened June 21 at the Virginia Living Museum, Newport News.

Designed primarily for preK to 3rd grade children, the Wild & Well exhibit offers hands-on exploration and learning about animal health with a secondary message about human health.

In the “Be the Keeper” area, children can cook, clean and care for native wild animals that live at the VLM. The area include a play kitchen, food bins, animal diet cards and animal holding cages with life-sized stuffed animals. The balanced VLM animal diets with a good mix of meat, vegetables, grains and vitamins will challenge the kids to make their own diets more healthy.

In the “Be the Vet” area children can role play as a wildlife veterinary specialist. They can “diagnose” various native animals and “prescribe” and “perform” treatments to improve their health. The area includes examination tables and tools, treatment materials, life-sized stuffed animals and a display of actual wildlife X-rays. Treating the injured/sick animals will help children relate to their own illnesses and injuries.

Videos and slide shows of the Museum’s animal keepers and vet tech provide inspiration for the role play.

“Kids learn best through creative play,” said VLM Deputy Executive Director Fred Farris. “As they play the roles of animal keepers and vets, they will learn about being healthy. They will also come to appreciate the key roles of the museum’s animal keepers and vets, people whose jobs are mostly done out of sight of the public.”

The $75,000 exhibit was partially funded by Riverside Health System and an anonymous grant.

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Fall hours begin Sept. 2: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Cost: $17 adults, $13 children (ages 3-12); ages 2 and under and VLM members free.

The museum is located at 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News, I-64, exit 258A.

 For more information visit thevlm.org or call 757-595-1900. -30- Marketing Director Virginia Gabriele757-534-7479marketing@thevlm.org

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