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Creatures featured

The Animal Planet Expo will liven up Coachman Park this weekend.

By TERRI BRYCE REEVES
Published June 15, 2007


photo
Lemonhead, an 11-foot albino Burmese python, wraps himself around an Animal Planet exotic-animal handler. Lemonhead is quite a load: 60 pounds.
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[Special to the Times]
An iguana may be part of the Animal House, joining critters like bearded dragons, corn snakes, hedgehogs and huge bullfrogs.

CLEARWATER - Creatures with long tails and colorful scales are coming to Coachman Park.

Like pythons, gators and lemurs.

It's Animal Planet Expo, a free, two-day animal fun fest making a 12-city tour this year. The extravaganza, sponsored by Animal Planet, Bright House Networks and Fresh Step litter, celebrates the wonders of wildlife, the companionship of pets and the roles animals play in nature.

Look for Frisbee dog shows, up-close encounters with a number of animal species, a bug house, adventure climbing, face painting and more.

Bring your best friend - well-mannered leashed cats and dogs are welcome. There will be water misters and watering holes to keep them cool.

This is the second time the expo, now in its 10th year, will make its way to Clearwater. The last visit was in 2002.

"We had an amazing turnout from residents and their pets, " said Animal Planet spokeswoman Susan Berube. "Over the past five years, the tour has really evolved, and those folks who brought the tour in 2002 are really looking forward to heading back with our new features and new furry friends."

She noted that all the signs are bilingual.

June is Adopt-a-Shelter Cat Month, and the Humane Society of Tampa Bay will offer adoptable cats and kittens at the Fresh Step Pet Den.

The shelter will receive a check for $10, 000 from the makers of Fresh Step litter and the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The ASPCA reports that nearly 4-million cats and kittens are looking for homes. They have launched a campaign called ASPCA Mission: Orange to create humane communities in targeted areas like Tampa Bay.

Terri Bryce Reeves can be reached at treeves@tampabay.rr.com.

IF YOU GO

Animal Planet Expo

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Coachman Park, 301 Drew St.

Admission: free

Animal Planet Expo includes:

Animal House: Get up close and personal with interesting animals like bearded dragons, corn snakes, hedgehogs and monstrous bullfrogs.

Bug House: Butterflies flutter around plants and are released into the community at 4 p.m. Sunday. Ants burrow into "blue goo" in a huge ant farm.

ROAR Reach Out, Act, Respond Stage: Live animal presentations include exotics like pythons, alligators and lemurs at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. A 16- by 19-foot LCD video screen will make viewing possible from around the park.

Kids Zone: Features face painting and Spider Mountain, an 18-foot-tall climbing tower made of elastic webbing.

Safari Snaps: Green screen technology poses attendees with likenesses of Animal Planet celebs Jeff Corwin and Terri and Bindi Irwin. Attendees can download the photos directly to their own computers when they get home.

Discovery HD Theatre Dome: An air-conditioned dome has two 65-inch, high-definition TV screens offering clips from Planet Earth, a Discovery Channel documentary.

Fresh Step Pet Den/ROAR for Adoptions: The Humane Society of Tampa Bay will have cats and kittens available for adoption. Shelter adoption fees apply ($60 to $75). Veterinarian Lila Miller will be on hand to answer questions from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday.

Friends of Animal Planet: Free carnival-type games and prizes.

Discovery Kids Endurance Experience: Win medals by hanging from a bar or scaling a climbing wall 24 feet high. (Note to parents: There are hand holds and harnesses for safety.)

Heroes of Animal Planet: Create a customized pet tag.

Frisbee dogs: Rescue dogs turned champion Frisbee catchers show their stuff at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

[Last modified June 15, 2007, 06:51:10]


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