MASSENA - The Massena Public Library has some special visitors on Tuesday afternoon, but they weren’t there to read books.
They were zoo animals who were brought for a show-and-tell session to kick off the special programming for this year’s summer reading program.
Joli Reynolds, education coordinator at the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park, Watertown, entertained a packed house with tidbits of information about the animals that made the trip from Watertown, including a Blanding’s turtle, ferret, salamander and others.
“We have animals that are native to New York state, animals you might see here in New York state in the wilderness,” Ms. Reynolds said. “I didn’t bring any wolves or eagles with me today, but I did bring some pretty cool animals.”
With each animal, she discussed some of its features and then took it for a tour around the room so everyone in the audience could get an up-close and personal look.
The first visitor out for display was a Blanding’s turtle. Ms. Reynolds pointed out its webbed feet.
“Guess what kind of habitat he lives in. He has really big feet and webbed toes. He belongs to a group of animals called reptiles,” she said, explaining that the turtle could be found in water.
It fell into the same group as lizards, snakes and alligators, she said, and was cold-blooded.
“He likes to live in warm places,” Ms. Reynolds said.
She brought along a large sea turtle shell to show the group of young and old alike, noting that it was made out of bones.
“Turtles have a spine just like we do. They have a rib bone, but they’re not spaced like ours,” she said.
A ferret, which falls under the weasel family, also made a guest appearance, and Ms. Reynolds said they could be found anywhere.
“Do ferrets live in the north country? No, usually they’re people’s pets. He does have a cousin who lives in the north country,” she said.
She said all weasels had two traits in common - sharp teeth and a long body that was “really bendy.”
In addition, she said, they were “really stinky.”
As she carried the ferret around, Ms. Reynolds also had a wolverine pelt that visitors had an opportunity to touch.
“Awesome,” one young participant said.
“They’re not really found in New York state anymore,” Ms. Reynolds said, noting there was some question if they were ever in the state.
Tuesday’s event drew a standing-room only crowd, but it was only the first of many visits and other activities scheduled as part of this year’s summer reading program at the library.
A Science Club for children ages 6 to 12 runs at 2 p.m. Wednesdays from today to Aug. 6. Participants will learn about a different type of science each week, including Grossology, Robots and Weather, and will do hands-on experiments.
Also today, and again on Aug. 6, a Nature Center Storywalk will be held beginning at 10 a.m. at the Nature Center at Robert Moses State Park. Participants will hear a story while walking on the trails and will do a craft following the Storywalk.
Special preschool Storytime summer sessions for children ages 5 and younger will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 17, 24, 31 and Aug. 7. The themes will be “5 Senses” on Thursday, “Space Station” on July 17, “Luau” on July 24, “Grossology” on July 31 and “Weather” on Aug. 7.
During the July 17 Luau Storytime, when youngsters are encouraged to wear their favorite tropical clothes or beach wear, they’ll make leis and have a tropical snack. They’ll read stories about science and learn how to make their own gross slime during the July 31 Grossology Storytime.
Professor Klutzo will host a “Did You Know Show” at 2 p.m. July 15. He’ll explore science through magic, music and juggling, and he’ll be joined by his sidekick, Percy the Penguin.
The library will offer a drive-in movie” at 2 p.m. July 17, with one catch - participants have to make their own car that they’ll drive in to watch “The Lego Movie.”
Belly Buttons the Clown returns with her high-energy magic show at 2 p.m. July 22, and children of all ages are welcome to try out several different experiments during Mad Scientist Day, which will be held at 10 a.m. July 25.
Father and son Dave and Kyle Fultz return at 2 p.m. July 28 with their “Gravitational Bull” juggling program, which includes music, magic, storytelling, balloon sculptures and juggling of all kinds.
Youngsters can learn to make tie-dye T-shirts at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. July 29, and the Dancing Bear Puppet Theater will present the puppet show, “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse” at 2 p.m. Aug. 4.
The summer reading program wraps up from 2 to 4 p.m. Aug. 7 with the annual skating party at the St. Lawrence Centre Arena for those who have completed 200 minutes of reading over the summer. Readers who record 200 minutes also receive a Stewart’s ice cream and Pizza Hut coupon. Anyone who records 100 minutes of reading receives a book and a Subway meal.