BOLTON (CBS) – Many zoos run education programs for kids to help teach them about animals.
But there's one center in Bolton that's not only letting children get an up close look at some unique creatures, they're also giving them hands-on experience while making sure some abandoned animals get a second chance.
It's the creation of owner Ed Laquidara, an admitted, lifelong animal addict.
"I just grew up a swamp rat. I grew up in Wilmington, Massachusetts with a swamp in front of my house and Silver Lake right across the street," he told WBZ-TV.
That early obsession eventually blossomed into Animal Adventures in Bolton, a rescue and educational center.
Since he opened in 1997, he has taken in all kinds of animals, like Erkle the Emu who really, really loves meeting people. There are also two kangaroos who were rejected by their mother, porcupines, lemurs, a monkey and even a serval, like the one found recently in Lincoln.
The center holds classes and tours. One group of kids was getting to learn what it's like to be a zookeeper when we were there. The focus, however, is on saving and taking care of the animals that had no other place to go.
Laquidara also showed us a pearl fox.
"We took her in from someone that had her illegally," he said.
With few options for these rare rescues, Laquidara, along with two of his daughters, open the door and no animal seems to be off limits.
Even a Carpathian lynx.
"He is one of the biggest lynx in captivity," said Laquidara.
Animal Adventures is given 300 surrendered animals a year. Some get new homes, but they keep 200-to-400 at any given time.
They are privately funded and are hoping to expand to take in more rescues and build a new building for the kangaroos.
For more information, visit their website.
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