Animal lovers of all ages will soon have a chance to get up close and personal with slithery, scaly — and feathery, too — members of the animal kingdom.
Slated for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, the Elachee Nature Science Center Wildlife Festival is an expansion of what was previously celebrated as Snake Day to include various wildlife species.
From snake and reptile species to falcons, owls and birds of prey, this event caters to anyone looking for hands-on experience with “native species found in their backyards, as well as captive exotic species,” according to a press release.
Elachee Wildlife Festival
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 10
Where: Elachee Nature Science Center, 2125 Elachee Drive, Gainesville
How much: $5 for members, $10 for non-members
Festival-goers will be able to interact with live animals, meet and greet ecology and conservation experts through activities and giveaways, visit a petting zoo with farm animals and reach new heights with guided tree climbing.
“There is no other festival in our area where you can climb trees, hold a snake, see birds of prey up close and talk to a tree expert,” said Maranda McGaha, Elachee’s director of school and public programs. “We hope that with the festival we are instilling a respect for the diversity of wildlife that we have.”
Admission is $10 for attendees 2 and older and covers all the activities inside of the festival. Admission for Elachee members is discounted at $5.
McGaha encourages visitors to bring their friends and family so they can “get up close and personal with the different wildlife” while learning more about the organizations dedicated to preserving them and their ecosystems.
“It’s a unique event and special for people of all ages, so it's not just focused on kids; the festival is for ages zero to 100,” said McGaha.
Parking is free, as Elachee will provide shuttles to transport festival-goers to and from the off-site parking area at Chicopee Baptist Church, located at 13 First St., Gainesville.
The shuttle service will run for the duration of the event.
For additional information about Elachee Nature Science Center and the Wildlife Festival, visit elachee.org/event/2022-wildlife-festival-at-elachee.