Reptiles Alive! at the Francis A. Gregory Library in SE DC

Come kick off your Summer Reading with Reptiles Alive’s PREMIER live animal show at the Francis A Gregory Library in SE DC. Everyone will have a blast while learning all about reptiles and amphibians.  The Wildlife Educator will share fun facts and wild stories about where the animals live, how they survive, and what we can do to help animals all across the world.  Check out our blog to learn more about animals in our area and what is happening at Reptiles Alive Headquarters!

Reptiles Alive! at the West End Library NW DC

kids party ideas - animal birthday party - reptile birthday

Come on out to the West End Library in NW Washington, DC for a wildly exciting live animal show featuring 6 animals from all across the world.  The Wildlife Educator will tell interesting facts and funny stories that are sure to wow children of all ages.  Stick around after the show to check out a book on one of the amazing animals featured in the program.  You can also find out more about our awesome animals on our animal page.

This show is in support of the DC Public Library Summer Reading Program.

Five Tips on Hiring Live Animal School Assemblies

September is here and you have been put in charge of hiring this year’s school assembly performers and special classroom visitors.  You have so many great options: musical performances, dance companies, history actors and so much more.  But when you ask students which assemblies they remember most, love the best, and want to see every year you’ll hear “bring the animals!”

It is no secret that kids love animals.  Reptiles, birds, mammals, insects and all kinds of creatures have the ability to catch students’ attention more than any video screen ever will.  The trick is to hire the best quality, and most professional animal presenters.

rachel assembly 1

Here are 5 tips on getting the best animal show for your school’s assembly budget.

1.  Finding Your Animal Assembly

Does your school or school district have access to a list or catalog of approved school performers?  This is the FIRST place to look.  In Northern Virginia, Bluemont Artists in Education  offers a list of approved performers who have demonstrated their show’s educational value and professionalism.  Of course, if your school is located in the DC/MD/VA area, you call Reptiles Alive!  🙂

A second option is a Google search for animal shows in your area.  Try search terms such as “school assemblies in [your area]” or “live animal shows in [your area]”.

2.  Choosing Your Animal Assembly

Once you have a list of choices, now it’s time to do some research.  Is the company licensed by your state to present live animal shows in public?  Is the company fully insured with both liability and workers compensation?  Can the company provide you with references from previous schools?

Animal shows for schools need to be ultra safe and educational.  Keep in mind that the most professional and experienced animal presenters with the appropriate insurance may also be more expensive than less experienced or amateur presenters.  Don’t make the mistake of choosing a live animal show based on price alone.

3.  Before Booking Your Animal Assembly

You will need to gather the following  information from your school’s principal, PTA president, or whoever is ultimately in charge:

  • What is the maximum budget you are allowed to spend on the show?
  • How many students will be attending each show (keep in mind that smaller groups are better and keeping the grade levels close, ex K-2nd and then 3rd-5th is smart)?
  • How many shows will you need?
  • What times will you need the shows?
  • What dates are available and desired in the school’s calendar and performance space?
  • Will you have a parking space available for the performer to load/unload safely and efficiently?
  • Will you be able to pay a deposit?  What are your school’s standard payment terms for school assembly performers?
  • Does the school require the performer to submit a Certificate of Insurance and if so, what, if any, special language will need to be on the Certificate?

 4.  Booking Your Animal Assembly Show

Contact the animal show company as soon as possible as many performers book up early and quickly.  At Reptiles Alive LLC, we often book shows more than a year in advance!   Be sure to follow the company’s instructions on what you’ll need to do to confirm the booking,  including signing contracts, paying a deposit, and reading any preparation materials.

Many animal show companies provide teacher’s guides and other resource materials for their assemblies.  If these materials are available, be sure to pass them along to the teachers.

At school, remember to “officially” reserve the room the assembly will be in. Let the principal and/or custodian know of any set up needs the performer will have that day.  Let the office staff know the date/time of the assembly and add the date to the school’s calendar.

5.  The Day of Your Animal School Assembly

A day or two before your assembly, contact the animal show company to confirm the date and times of your show (most performers will contact you to confirm).  Find out what time they plan to arrive and double check with them what they will need from you for the performance (parking, tables, nearby electric outlet, etc…)

On the day of your show, remember to have a parking spot reserved and the assembly room ready.  Remind the office staff of the show so they know where to send the presenter when he/she arrives to set up.

Then enjoy your ssssuper happy animal assembly day!


Epic Desert Road Trip – Part 1 Reno to the Great Salt Lake

On October 19, 2010 I flew to Reno to meet up with my brother from Hawaii and my Dad who lives in Reno in the summer and Arizona in the winter. Our mission: drive from Reno, NV to Surprise, AZ via Colorado and visit as many National Parks as we could along the way.

We started our epic journey by packing up Dad’s 2000 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. We had a lot of stuff, including two boxes of home-grown tomatoes plus three grown adults to take, but my experience loading vehicles for live animal shows has taught me a thing or two about how to pack!


Will and Dad and a Packed Monte Carlo

We headed out of Reno on I-80 east, along the Truckee River.


The Truckee River

We were following much of the Truckee River Route of the California Emigrant Trail. We stopped at a rest area that marked the Forty-Mile Desert.  This part of the trail was described as the most dreaded section of the entire route to California.  We decided to have lunch.  Too bad those emigrants in the mid 1850′s could not have gotten in a time machine to join us.


Lunch in the Forty-Mile Desert

We continued heading east until we reached Wendover NV.  We spent the night there and in the morning, we toured the historic Wendover Air Base. “Wendover Air Base operated primarily as a training site for the crews of B17, B24 and B29 aircraft, including the Enola Gay and Boxscar, the crews of which were responsible for the first deployment of nuclear weapons over Japan in 1945.” – (Tooele Co Website)


Wendover Air Base

The Great Salt Lake loomed ahead – and we stopped at one of its shores to explore and have lunch.


Great Salt Lake


Caroline examines the Great Salt Lake


The Great Salt Lake is too salty for most plants and animals to survive, however, there is one famous resident of the salty lake: Sea Monkeys! Sea Monkeys are actually shrimp that are able to exist in salty inland lakes around the world.

No reptiles live in the Great Salt Lake, however, many species of snakes and lizards live in the surrounding desert. Sadly, I found a juvenile gopher snake in the parking lot of the lake’s marina, but it had been squashed by a car.


Smooshed Gopher Snake

Next Posting…Arches National Park


Arches National Park