While fossils and artifacts might immediately pop into your head when you think of The Carnegie Museum of Natural History, keep in mind that the museum has a living collection…and you can meet these adorable animals in person!
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History has more than 30 live animals that participate in its programming to help staff members teach visitors and members about conservation. Although they’re mighty cute, these exotic animals aren’t pets. Most of the animals have been rescued or rehabilitated, while others are visiting the museum as part of exchange programs with other organizations, such as Godzilla, a baby American Alligator. Lizards, hedgehogs, birds, skunks, and even a Coati are among some of the other creatures in the collection.
Godzilla and his furry, scaled, and feathered friends can be seen in person at the museum through a live interactive show. Every day, the museum hosts “Live Animal Encounters” at 1:30 p.m. in the Earth Theater near Discovery Basecamp. For just $3 per person (children under age two are free), you’ll be able to get close to the animals, while also learning about their habitats, behaviors, and other scientific facts.
Fun fact: did you know that Bob the corn snake, who hails from the Southeastern United States, would typically be found in a corn field if he lived in the wild? He wouldn’t be eating the corn though! Corn snakes eat rodents (who eat corn), so these snakes are often nicknamed “A Farmer’s Best Friend” in the South because they naturally keep the rodent populations down in corn fields.
The animals are shown in rotation based on their availability, so you’ll get to meet different animals at each show! Recently, the museum has been introducing one of the newest members of its animal family to select test audiences—a playful Geoffroy’s cat named Prince.
Leslie Wilson, a Vet Tech and Lead Trainer who is on the museum’s staff, works closely with veterinarians and other museum staff members to care for the animals. Leslie is a Certified Veterinary Technician with a degree from the Vet Tech Institute in Pittsburgh, as well as a BS in Biology from West Virginia University. She previously worked at Hilltop Animal Hospital and Oglebay Good Zoo and held internships at the Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Zoos.
If you’re looking for more time with the animals, book a special activity or meet-and-greet for your group either at the museum or for an off-site event. Additionally, you can host your child’s next birthday or sleepover party in the museum, where you can cordially invite some of the animals from the collection to be special guests at your party.
Enjoy getting to know the adorable critters in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s live collection!This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.