Kids get sneak peak at 'AnimalPalooza'


First graders at Clarendon School got a sneak preview of some of bugs that come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

"I want to bring them in, to get them back out, out into nature," said Norman Gershenz from "Children are born naturalists. They're close to the ground. They see things. They are close to it."

The kids got a preview of AnimalPalooza, which is taking place Saturday in Fort Mason. Gershenz has been able to bring together Bay Area conservation groups for the first time to show fascinating examples of life on earth. A millipede was brought to the kids, and feels like a walking toothbrush on you, from and a hedgehog from the San Francisco Zoo was also brought.

Kids will see things and be able to hold them. Maybe it will change some misconceptions that kids may have.

"This is one of the smallest species of pythons, it's called a ball python. She's fully grown," said Jessie Bushell from the San Francisco Zoo. "She was somebody's pet. They couldn't take care of her any longer."

That is an issue many places face. It's illegal to have a hedgehog as a pet in California.

"We often get these guys as pets because they are sold in pet store in other states," said Bushell.

They are unusual animals, just be careful what you call them. You can't call them creepy or crawly.

"We never use those words here," said Gershenz.

AnimalPalooza is meant to be informative and to inspire children and their parents.

"If we're able to save the rainforest, what happens to all of these animals?" said Gershenz.

"The animals will have more habitat," answered one kid.

"I believe once you put nature into children's hands, the next step is they'll be thinking about saving nature around the world," said Gershenz.

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