Critters on the Move, Oh My!

If you have been keeping up with Kidspace news, you already know that we are in full swing with some major changes around here. We have said goodbye to Bugsy’s Diner and the Bug Inn, and are eager to welcome the Storyteller’s Studio in mid-November.


I know that many people enjoyed viewing bugs, creepy crawlies, and other critters in Bugsy’s Diner and inside the Big Inn, and one might wonder where they all went! Well, Kidspace’s animal collection is undergoing some exciting changes! They have all found new, permanent homes in the Nature Exchange.

The Kidspace Live Animal Collection is now focused on a group of animals that children can have direct, interactive experiences with. Having the opportunity to touch and interact with an animal helps children develop empathy for nature and inspires curiosity about our natural world. Children will hear the stories of our Kidspace Critters during our daily animal encounter, and in turn they will develop their own stories about how they fit into the animal kingdom.  Since the animals all live so close to each other now, children can easily view and compare species. It's a one stop shop for critter immersion! 


Over the past few decades, children’s play environment has drastically changed. Many children are getting less and less exposure to the outdoors and with this, less exposure to animals that we share our planet with. Many children’s experiences are disconnected from nature, and their experience is driven by media. Children watch documentaries and TV programs about animals and nature (which can be great!), but it can also make nature seems very exotic and far away. The reality is there is so much incredible nature all around us, even in Los Angeles, and humans are an integral part of it—not just observers. Exposure to animals not only helps develop important behavioral skills for children, but it helps develop a responsibility to this planet and all of its inhabitants.

Hopefully this new and improved animal collection will inspire even the youngest of our guests to empathize with the natural world we live in. There is an opportunity every day to meet one of these animals up close and personal with one of our museum educators. You might meet Baldwin the Ball Python and learn about how he smells with his tongue and never blinks! Or maybe you will meet Khan the Emperor Scorpion who is the largest species of scorpion in the world, and surprisingly friendly. There is also an opportunity to meet with the Nature Specialist (me!) on the last Friday of every month to explore how we care for these animals at Kidspace during my Animal Homes program. And keep an eye out for the Kidspace Observation Bee Hive moving soon to the Nature Exchange as well. We have many critters with awesome stories they would love to share with you!


Blog by:

Kelley Benes, Nature Specialist, has been with Kidspace Children’s Museum since 2016. In her spare time, she is training to be a docent at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. She currently oversees Kidspace’s live animal collection and the Nature Exchange.