Calling future animal keepers and vets! Come play, learn and dream in the new permanent exhibit, “Wild & Well,” that is scheduled to open June 21, 2014 at the Virginia Living Museum.
Designed primarily for preK to 3rd grade children, the Wild & Well exhibit will offer hands-on exploration and learning about animal health with a secondary message about human health.
In the “Be the Keeper” area, children will be able to cook, clean and care for native wild animals that live at the VLM. The area will 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 will role play as a wildlife veterinary specialist. They will “diagnose” various native animals and “prescribe” and “perform” treatments to improve their health. The area will include 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 will 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 is being 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. Cost: $17 adults, $13 children (ages 3-12); ages 2 and under and VLM members free.