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Reptiles kick off library events
For 7-year-old Zach Wolf, having a live alligator for a hat was a blast.
“It was awesome,” Wolf said breathlessly as he rubbed his hands through his hair. “But it made my head a little itchy.”
Wolf was not the only one to try on the alligator accessory. Children and adults laughed and smiled with wide-eyed appreciation as zoologist Scott Petersen, also known as the Reptile Man, made his way through a crowd of almost 500 at the Silverdale Mall on Sept. 1 letting people pet Lucy the Alligator and sometimes placing the reptile on their heads.
Petersen made his rounds after making a presentation on reptiles that included a king cobra, a rattle snake, Lucy the alligator and a tortoise named Sponge Bob Scale Pants.
After the presentation, Petersen let others hold a nine foot python and released a tortoise who wandered the space with a convoy of young people following behind.
Eleven-year-old Haley Wolf, Zach’s sister, said she did not have the chance to wear Lucy, but she did get to pet the python.
“I got to pet the snake,” Haley Wolf said. “I think it’s cool.”
The reptilian romp was the first installment of the Fall at the Mall series for the Kitsap Regional Library.
The library will continue hosting the events near the mall’s food court through Oct. 27 and will include presentations on do-it-yourself artisan food, the Knights of Veritas, a steam punk event and will end with the Undead Project Runway.
Carol Schuyler, Director of Support Services for the Kitsap Regional Library, said the series was a way of reaching potential patrons for the library and introducing potential patrons to all the library has to offer.
“We really want people to know what the library is all about,” Schuyler said. “And this is a way of reaching beyond our walls to potential patrons.”
Schuyler said the events at the mall should appeal to all ages and walks of life and give people an idea of the offerings at the branch libraries.
“We have everything to offer from baby story times up to finding work after 50,” Schuyler said. “We offer career development and summer reading programs for young people. We really span all ages.”
Heidi Wolf, Zach and Haley’s mom, said she thought the Fall at the Mall events were a good idea, and her family took advantage of the programs at the library often.
“We do a lot of reading,” Heidi Wolf said. “We go to the Manchester Library all the time,”
Tom McKinnon said he had brought his four children, who range from 10 months to seven years of age, to see Peterson because it fit in with their love of the library and to see the Reptile Man.
McKinnon’s 6-year-old son Thomas said he thought Lucy was cool and felt strange to his touch.
“It was like rubber,” he said of the alligator.
David Balderrama said he brought his son 7-year-old son Joseph to see the reptiles and to support the library.
“My wife and I are avid readers, and we want the same for him,” he said.
Joseph Balderrama said he liked the library because he found books that were fun and taught him about animals. He said he liked the book “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and also books on his favorite animals.
“Pandas are my favorite animals,” he said. “My second favorite is dolphins and my third favorite are orcas.”
Petersen said he enjoyed the excitement the critters brought the young people. He said he had loved reptiles and amphibians since he could remember and wanted to share that passion.
“My mother said as soon as learned to walk I was bringing in frogs and snakes,” he said. “It has been a source of excitement and happiness for me and I want kids to know that excitement, too.”
He said the presentation for the library also reflected his passion for reading.
“I think it’s great working with the library,” he said. “If you get kids interested in science and nature they are going to want to read. I read copious amounts of books when I was young because of my interest in science and nature. I think they go hand in hand.”
The Fall at the Mall events will be held at 1 p.m. each Saturday through Oct. 27 near the food court at the mall, and presentation lengths will vary.
Schuyler said she hoped people would take advantage of the presentations and learn more about the library.
“We like to believe the library should be the center of everyone’s world,” Schuyler said.