'Exotic Zoo' Brings Wildlife Education to Kids

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Meet Javon Stacks. Stacks is licensed and trained by the USDA as a wildlife educator, classified as a breeder and exhibitor. He’s loved animals since grade school. Here are some quick facts on his traveling wildlife education program that visits various locations throughout southeast Michigan to teach kids.

Animal 101: Armadillos, Flemish Giant rabbits and massive pythons: Stacks brings unique animals to kids in Detroit classrooms, libraries, festivals and day care centers around southeast Michigan, allowing them to truly touch and interact with wildlife.

Will travel: “It is a mobile zoo,” Stacks explains. “It comes to you.” His shows are a great, free way for kids who don’t normally have access or resources to visit bigger zoos to meet creatures.

‘Cute and Cuddly’: This show visited Detroit Public Library locales in summer 2015. “It entails a lot of mammals like rabbits, an artic fox, a baby kangaroo and a kinkajou,” Stacks says. In this close-up, hands-on experience, kids learn about where the animals come from, what they eat, which could be kept as pets and – thankfully for parents! – which ones can’t.

All ages: Shows are open to all but focus primarily on ages 4-18.

Hands-on is huge: Actually being around critters brings all those schoolbooks and lessons to life. “Kids get more interested in the material and they check out more books,” Stacks says. “Kids also learn to respect animals more by being able to touch and interact rather than just look at the animal.”

Keeping it fresh: Stacks is always bringing new animals. “This year we will be using a capybara, and it is the largest rodent in the world – it can grow up to be about 150 pounds.”

Insider insight: “I breed some of the animals myself. I also have friends that own travelling zoos. We contact each other and let each other know what babies we have coming up and what new animals we are breeding. It’s like a network of zoos working together.”

Exotic Zoo

Location: Stacks is based in Farmington Hills and travels in Detroit and southeast Michigan
Phone: 734-444-5266
Cost: Free/library shows; contact for additional details

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