Wild Wonders brings exotic animals to kids
Janice Peterson - The Associated Press
THE DAILY HERALD
Many kids have never touched a baby skunk or an African pigmy hedgehog, and they may not have chased a 90 pound tortoise across the lawn. But, with the help of Genola-based Wild Wonders, toddlers and teenagers around Utah County have had the chance to get in touch with some of Utah's wilder creatures and some from around the world.
Wild Wonders is a state and federally licensed facility for wild animals that cannot be sent back to the wild. Run by Sarah and Spencer Jacobsen, the facility houses more than 20 wild and exotic animals that are frequently taken to schools to educate children. The Jacobsens took a fox, a raccoon, a baby skunk and a hedgehog to Spanish Fork for a presentation to Segway employees and their children Wednesday, where even young toddlers were entranced by the animals. Most were brave enough to stroke the skunk down its back and touch the prickly hedgehog, but only a handful of children were willing to let the tarantula scale their arm.
Jacobsen said the goal of the program is to teach children and adults at least one thing they did not know about the animals, and she hopes the facility in Genola will become a small Utah County zoo in the next five to 10 years.
What are others saying about Wild Wonders?
"It was a really fun and informative experience. My granddaughter loved the turtle and the birds." -Dave
"Thank you for celebrating Jared's birthday with us! You were amazing and are so good at what you do. The animals didn't disappoint. The children can't stop talking about it. Thanks for all your time and attention in making it such a successful party!" -Julie Jensen
"Thank you for the informative presentation today. The kiddies enjoyed seeing the critters." -Cami Hansen
"Thank you for a great program and thank you for providing such a vital service for animals. I think everyone who attended had a fun time and learned something too! The animals were fascinating and the story was interesting and informative. We hope to have you again sometime." -West Jordon Library
"Thanks to you and your wife for taking the time out of your day to present your extended family of friends." -Dianne C
"As Moms we leaned things that were new too." - Kellie Robison, Preschool Teacher
"It was a lot of fun, and I was glad my niece and nephews could come. They really thought it was cool." -Jennifer Turner
"After the animal show I took my kids to Seven Peaks, at the end of the day when I asked what their favorite part of the day was they told me it was the animal show." -Christian Hyer
"Wanted to thank you for such a lovely program you presented last night. You were so great at making the information fun to learn. The stories were colorful and the animals so interesting. Awesome to see them up close. Thanks again!" -Assistant Cubmaster, Parkway 5th Ward
"I want to thank you for doing an amazing job at my son's 9th birthday party! The variety of animals you brought was WONDERFUL! You were entertaining, educational and fun! The kids all had a GREAT time!! I will definitely recommend you! And thank you for all you do to help animals! You are their angel." -Warmly,, Christina Herrmann and Family
"I just wanted to tell you thank you so much! The Birthday Party on Friday you did for us was amazing! ALL the kids loved it and I was impressed. You have an amazing business. I can't wait to spread the word. My kids are still talking about it. My oldest keeps telling me she really wants "Coco" as her pet. It was more than I expected. So Thanks You!" -Melissa Eastman
"Trina Ellis has been taking her first-grade students at Santaquin Elementary to Wild Wonders' field trips for the past four years. Not only does Wild Wonders provide up close and personal experience with wild and exotic animals, one of its primary missions is teaching children about the unique beauty and value of animal conservation.
"My students absolutely loved it," Ellis said. "And all the parents think it is wonderful for their kids to learn about animals that are native to our area."
Owner Sarah Jacobsen has a hands-on approach when it comes to learning. She knows when children interact with the animals, they have a greater appreciation for their role on the planet."
Wild Wonders brings zoo to students in education effort
THE DAILY HERALD
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