By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterOctober 28, 2016
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Children who love all things creepy crawly received a treat Oct. 20 as the Center Library brought in creatures capable of making even the bravest of people cringe.
Creepy Critters, a special live-animal education program, had parents and children squealing in their seats as they got to get up close and personal with different insects and animals -- including a tarantula, a scorpion, cockroaches, rats, snakes and even a kangaroo.
Throughout the program, children got the chance to not only see the different creatures, but learn about each of the critters, as well.
From Madagascar hissing cockroaches and tarantulas, to an Egyptian fruit bat to a milk snake, the children and parents learned about what each of the creatures eat, what type of habitats they need to survive, as well as the purpose they serve in their environments.
For many of the parents and children, like Janice Hartmann, military spouse, and her daughter, Chloe, the experience was one they won't soon forget.
"We heard about this and just thought it would be something we would love to see together -- we were right," said Janice. "All the kids and I were just screaming and shifting in our seats, but we really did love it."
Chloe's favorite part was learning about the different animals and getting to see them in person, and although she said it was a good time, none of the creatures were any she'd like to take home.
"I thought the tarantula was cool, and I learned a lot about where the animals live and things like that," she said. "I don't think I'd want any of them as a pet, though, but I still thought they were fun to look at."
Janice said it was a great opportunity for children to learn about the different animals and what not to do should they encounter them in the wild.
"It's nice that they were able to learn about these animals, too, because it's not often that you get the chance to get them up close to animals like this, not that I would want to normally," she said. "But it's important for them to know the role that these animals play in the world and probably even more important for them to know to leave them alone if they ever see one."
Stacy Leeman, military spouse, brought her children, Braden and Mark, and said it was a great learning experience for not only them, but her, as well.
"I have to say that this was great for the children, but it was great for me, too," she said. "Of course, I sat in the back because I didn't really want to be too close to the animals, but I did learn some things about them. I'm glad my kids got to learn about them, too -- I know they'll be talking about it for a while."
Despite her fear of the creepy critters, Leeman said she was glad to have been able to share the experience with her children.
"I'm glad my kids got to see these, and learn that they aren't supposed to try and handle these animals if they ever came across them," she said. "I don't know if they would or not, but they're still at that age when they're curious about everything, so the fact that they got to see these animals up close and personal is a great way for them to learn about them."