During a trip to the zoo, it is generally taboo to interact with the animals, however at the Wildlife Festival in Penticton it will be quite the opposite.
A collection of critters whose homes range from Argentina to the Canadian Arctic will be coming to the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre to get up close and personal Dec. 5-6.
The event will feature two alternating, 30-minute performances throughout the day. Matthew Morgan with the Canadian Raptor Conservatory will be on hand to demonstrate the power and beauty of birds of prey, and will let them loose in the Convention Centre, a crowd favourite.
“The birds of prey are live, free-flying, so they fly right overtop of people’s heads,” Morgan said.
The presentation features live hawks, owls, a few falcons and one eagle.
“It’s a pretty genuine reaction to be honest. You can see in the crowd the first one out there, as soon as the hawk touches their head with a wing they light right up,” Morgan said.
The Wildlife Festival is a collaboration between multiple organizations to bring a demonstration of wildlife found both in Canadian backyards and across the world. The Backyard Conservation Fund of Canada will also be on hand with pythons, rat snakes, tarantulas, scorpions, tortoises. There will be demonstrations with visual aides and 20 live animal exhibits.
The other rotating performance will be put on by Kyle Lawrie with Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo.
“We have a wide variety of different reptiles,” Lawrie said. “It’s a very interactive presentation. Afterwards people can interact with them, touch them. If they want to either face their fears, or just get up close and personal with the actual critters.”
Snakes, lizards, turtles, toads and frogs are just some of the reptiles that will be attending.
It can be tough travelling on the road with so many different animals, but thankfully Morgan said through the different organizations they are able to pick the ones best suited to hitting the road.
“Both our organizations are lucky enough to have enough animals that we can pick and choose the best ones for travelling,” Morgan said. “Lots of these birds are trained from almost birth to travel and so they are very, very good at it.”
The 15-minute performances will begin every half hour starting with the reptile demonstration at 10:15 a.m. Doors to the Wildlife Festival open at 10 a.m. each day and the event runs until 5 p.m.
General admission is $12.50 and children two and under get in free. Tickets are available at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. Those who bring proof (with a screen shot or photo) that they shared the event posting on Facebook at facebook.com/wildlifefestival will receive discounted tickets at $10 per person.
For more visit www.wildlifefestival.ca.