A scientific celebration of creatures big and small, furry and scaly, is set to take place at the Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH) on Saturday, June 18, when the museum hosts its first-ever Wildlife Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event, which is part of the museum’s annual Science Festival series, will offer visitors a chance to view a wide variety of live animals, museum animal taxidermy mounts, and specimens from the museum’s scientific collections, as well as the opportunity to experience special presentations by wildlife experts and participate in wildlife-themed activities and crafts.
“If you love animals, or simply want a fun, family-friendly outing, our inaugural Wildlife Festival is the place to be,” said VMNH Visitor Services and Events Manager Robbie Hendrix. “Just for the price of general admission, visitors will have access to all of the festival offerings, as well as access to the museum’s exhibit galleries.”
A highlight of this year’s event is the lineup of live animals scheduled to make an appearance at the festival, including:
- Birds of Prey (raptors)
- Monocled Cobra
- Eastern Rat Snake
- Hog-nosed Snake
- Coachwhip Snake
- Louisiana Pine Snake
- Canebrake Rattlesnake
- Timber Rattlesnake
- Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
- Eastern Copperhead
- Burmese Python
- Jaguar Carpet Python
- American Alligator (juvenile)
- Large Snapping Turtle
- Woodland Box Turtle
- Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin Turtle
- Blue-tongued Skink
- Giant Cane Toad
- Black Widow Spider
- Deathstalker Scorpion
- Australian Fattail Scorpion
- Giant Vinegaroon
- African Spurred Tortoise
For the festival, the museum will also bring out a variety of specimens from its animal taxidermy collections that are not normally on public exhibit, including red and gray foxes.
“The museum’s Lee and George W. Lester, II How Nature Works gallery and Hahn Hall of Biodiversity offer visitors a wealth of amazing taxidermy displays to view every day, but Wildlife Festival will also provide visitors with a one-day-only opportunity to view specimens that haven’t been exhibited in many years,” said Hendrix.
Additionally, Wildlife Festival will offer visitors the opportunity to experience special presentations by wildlife experts, including:
“Animal Control…Questions, Concerns, & What to do?”
Presented by Jayme Clark, Martinsville Animal Control Officer, at 11 a.m.
“Bears, Bobcats, and Coyotes…Oh, My!”
Presented by Katie Martin, Deer, Bear, Turkey Biologist at the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, at 1 p.m.
“Wild Wonders in Your Backyard”
Presented by Darin Handy, All Are God’s Creatures Sanctuary, at 3 p.m.
“While an emphasis is placed on offering visitors a lot of fun and excitement when they attend a VMNH Science Festival, these events are equally purposed to provide visitors with an exceptional learning experience and appreciation for our natural world,” said Hendrix. “We’re really excited to offer visitors the opportunity to learn from three amazing animal and wildlife experts through our lineup of special presentations.”
Wildlife Festival will also feature all of the fun activities visitors have come to expect from a VMNH Science Festival. The event will offer balloon animals, face painting, caricature art, and wildlife-themed crafts and activities led by the museum’s education department. Food trucks will also be stationed outside of the museum to provide visitors with lunch and snack options.
“We excel at science here at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, but we also have a knack for fun,” said Hendrix. “We’re really excited to offer visitors a very special day on June 18.”
Admission to the festival is $10 for adults ages 18-59 and $5 for children and youth ages 3-17, college students, and seniors 60 and older. Admission is free for children under 3, VMNH Members, members of ASTC Passport participating institutions, and EBT card holders who present their EBT card and official photo ID at the door.
Wildlife Festival is made possible due to the support of The Helen S. and Charles G. Patterson, Jr. Charitable Foundation Trust.