Itching for Shark Week to come back? Well, Elachee Nature Science Center thinks it has something just as good: Snake Day.
That’s right, a full day of snakes at its center in Gainesville.
What: Festival at Elachee featuring over 100 snakes and reptiles
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14
How much: $10 per person for ages 2 and up, $5 for Elachee membersMore info: www.elachee.org/public-programs/special-events/snake-day/
“It's our biggest public event of the year and it's an intriguing topic that attracts an extraordinary cross section of our community,” said Peter Gordon, director of education at Elachee.
The event, scheduled 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, will feature more than 100 live snakes and reptiles for you to look at and learn about from the 20-plus exhibitors. Tickets are $10 per person for ages 2 and up, but Elachee members get in for half that price.
“There's just something compelling and interesting about snakes and the fact that we live in the South and have such a diversity (of snakes), there's a lot for folks to learn about,” Gordon said.
And if you’re at Elachee on Sept. 14, you’ll be able to do just that. Gordon said one of the main goals of this event, which is in its 27th year, is to “dispel a lot of myths about snakes.”
“This idea that the only good snake is a dead snake, we try to work a long way in that regard to try and dispel that myth,” Gordon said. “These are essential and very much vital parts of our ecology of Northeast Georgia.”
He hopes that over the years and for years to come, people have come to appreciate snakes. Children are learning about them in class, so seeing them at Elachee will hopefully connect what they’ve learned with what they see. He hopes the same for adults.
“Folks come away, hopefully, with a new appreciation and respect for them and that goes into practice in their daily lives,” Gordon said. “If they see a black rat snake or a garter snake in their yard, their first impulse isn't to reach for their hoe, but to think, ‘This is a cool animal. It’s harmless. Let's watch it and see what it does,’ and kind of go from there.”
Apart from the educational aspect of the event, Gordon said they will have different Snake Day crafts and face painting for the kids. They’ll host hikes and the whole nature science center will be open to look around. Dickey’s Pit Barbeque, Frozen Frenzee and Hot Dog Ninja will be there to make sure the family is fed.
“Rather than a drop in, it becomes for many people, three, four or five hours,” Gordon said. “They'll spend a whole day circulating through the exhibits. So it's a great family event. And kind of a kickoff for our fall season.”
He often sees the same people come back to the event each September and is excited to see some of the same faces again. But he’s more excited about the new faces he’ll see who come to learn about snakes and see what Elachee has to offer.
“It's just a really fun festival and I think folks understand that and that explains why they keep coming back year after year,” Gordon said.