The Macon Museum of Arts and Sciences has many fun, cool exhibits for children and adults alike. They feature art exhibits, a planetarium, a nature trail and right now, there is a beautiful Christmas tree exhibit. However, the section of the museum that draws more people than anything else is the mini-zoo and live animal show. The mini-zoo is a permanent exhibit that includes over 70 different animals: reptiles, birds, mammals and bugs of all kinds. At 3 p.m. on weekdays, and 1 p.m. on Sundays, zoo curator Sharron Wilhelm brings out all different kinds of animals for children and their families to see and pet. It’s like a tradition, explained Wilhelm, grandparents who brought their children now bring their grandchildren to the mini-zoo.
Their most popular animal is Georgia, the Moluccan Cockatoo. Georgia has beautiful light pink feathers, and she is quite the diva, said Wilhelm. “It’s always ‘hi Georgia,’ ‘bye Georgia.’ It’s always about her.” Georgia, who is as smart as a three-year-old child, is six years old herself, though Cockatoos are known to live 75 to 85 years. She was sold from the local pet smart, Wilhelm said, and changed owners three different times before she was donated to the museum. Wilhelm and her assistants often take Georgia on outreach events to schools, festivals and nursing homes in order to educate people on animal care. “It’s always important to research the animal before you buy it,” Wilhelm stressed to the children and parents who came to the demonstration. Often, it is harder to care for them than it seems.
This was the case with Daisy, the beautiful, yellow Albino Burmese Python that the mini-zoo features. She was a pet until she became too big to care for and was donated to the museum. Though she is about 11 feet long and 65 pounds right now, pythons are known to grow up to 20 feet long and weigh 200 pounds.
Other animals at the museum include Mater (full name To Mater Sandwich) the opossum, cringe-worthy hissing cockroaches and cute Tamarin Monkeys (my personal favorite). Of course, there are many other animals on display, but these are ones that I got to meet and which stood out to me. All of the animals get fresh food and water daily, and cages that often get dirty (such as the birds) get cleaned daily. Other habitats are cleaned as needed. The animal show is currently recreating their Adopt an Animal program. When it is up and running again, people will be able to sponsor animals, and all of the proceeds go toward feed and upkeep for the animals. Not only individuals can participate, it is a great program for schools and classrooms as well, said Wilhelm.
Right now, the museum is in the process of building a new digital planetarium, which will open in February of 2012. And next summer, a dinosaur exhibit will be featured. The Museum of Arts and Sciences is located at 4182 Forsyth Road, and admissions is just $8 for adults. Go and stop by, it isn’t just for kids!