It was standing room only at the Contemporary Club in Redlands Tuesday as animals took over the annual summer reading program hosted by A.K. Smiley Public Library.
But the event wasn’t a stampede or swarm of any sorts.
It was a hands-on animal display presented by The Wildlife Company as part of the programs free presentation series held Tuesday from 1-1:45 p.m. at the Club.
Hundreds of children and their parents were taken on an excursion around the world learning about wild animals and their natural habitats.
Brought out for the show was a red Argentine Tegu, Fiona the fennec fox, a kinkajou, an American Alligator by the name of Cpt. Crunch, anAfrican pygmy hedgehog and a crowd-gasping star of the show, Jasmin, a boa constrictor.
Children were brought up stage to hold the boa and the up-close encounter wowed the audience.
The Summer Reading Program, which features a reading challenge and weekly shows, is in its third year and aims to keep young minds active during the summer months, said Pamela Bunch, youth services librarian at Smiley Library.
While the program launched June 24, there is still time to join in on this year’s readings, Bunch said.
The program is designed for children ages 4-12 and runs through Aug. 5.
A reading program just for teenagers, ages 13 and up, is also available.
All shows are held at the Contemporary Club, 173 S. Eureka St.
Next week’s show brings Cowboy Ken to the Club where he’ll entertain the crowd with comedy and singing.
Upcoming shows are July 22 featuring David Cousin and his juggling, July 29 featuring Rebecca Martin the Bubble Chef and on the grand finale on Aug. 5 with One World Rhythm.
The full schedule is available online at www.akspl.org/kids/ and at the Young Readers’ Room.