Jordan Ellis, 4, is not afraid of snakes, iguanas or alligators. In fact, she wants a chameleon for a pet.
But when she found out while visiting the World of Wonders Science Museum in Lodi on Saturday that she may get to help hold a 20-foot python, she seriously contemplated whether she wanted to participate.
Her older brother, Julius Ellis, did not hesitate to say he would be in on the action.
“I held a Burmese python once, so I think I’m fine,” he said reassuringly. “Besides, I’m looking to get a crusted iguana for a pet.”
The Ellis siblings were just two of dozens of locals who visited the museum Saturday to check out its newest one-day exhibit — the Reptile Roundup.
The exhibit featured not only live animal exhibits, but also dozens of skulls and bones from various creatures from around the world. Some came from as close as right here in Lodi, while others came from as far away as Australia.
Including the exhibits, a presentation had children and adults screaming and squirming as animals including iguanas and turtles made an appearance in an education-oriented “show and tell.”
Edgar Ortega of the Central Valley Herpetological Society taught audience members quick but interesting facts about reptiles, like the fact that snakes shed their skin all at once, whereas lizards shed their skin in patches.
For those who were brave enough, Ortega let audience members even touch a Cuban iguana named Bam Bam and a 20-foot python named Miss Piggy.
When showing off a baby King snake, he joked that he called the animal a “snaby,” a combination word of “snake” and “baby,” which had even the most squeamish children cooing.
“Guess what you are all like?” he said to people sitting in the back room of the museum. “You are all exactly like turtles. You will eat just about anything. Guess what, same with turtles.”
The WOW Museum holds regular one-day exhibits where it invites outside vendors to come in and help educate those in and around Lodi about special topics, from bugs to reptiles to horses.
The next planned exhibit will be the Drivers & Drovers event, held on April 28 at Stokes and Den Hartog Farms on Kile Road in Lodi.
Contact reporter Katie Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.