UC Davis offers myriad ways for people to connect with animals over the next several days, starting Wednesday (April 30) with the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibition Animal Connections: Our Journey Together.
Then, Saturday and Sunday (May 3-4), you’re invited to open houses at the California Raptor Center and Bohart Museum of Entomology, and to Wild Family Day in the arboretum, presented by the student organization Wild Campus, dedicated to the conservation of local flora and fauna.
All four events are free and open to the public.
• Animal Connections: Our Journey Together — A traveling exhibition (in a semi-trailer), introducing grown-ups and children to the complex bond between people and animals. Presented by the Smithsonian Institution to mark the 150th anniversary of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Wednesday (April 30), 10 a.m.-5 p.m., outside Veterinary Medicine 3B.
The 1,000-square-foot exhibition features hands-on and minds-on activities, in interactive displays, videos and games, including “Find Your Dream Pet,” which asks about the environment and care you can give a pet, and about the relationship you hope to have with the animal.
The exhibition focuses on animals in the home, at the farm and at the zoo, in the wild and in the veterinary clinic.
Created to inspire the next generation of veterinarians, the exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to be virtual vets — using a multiuser, touch-screen (computer) table to examine an ailing dog, piglet or cheetah; run tests and make diagnoses; and decide on treatment.
“Animal health is directly tied to our own well-being,” the Animals Connections: Our Journey Together website declares, “and we can look to veterinarians as active partners in ensuring our shared health.”
• California Raptor Center: Spring Open House — Come on by to see Sullivan, a golden eagle, and other magnificent raptors, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 3, with special presentations at 10 a.m. and noon on raptor biology and ecology.
You’re also welcome to come early for the Hawk Walk; meet at the center’s gate at 8 a.m., and bring binoculars.
The center, a program of the School of Veterinary Medicine, provides care for injured raptors (eagles, hawks, vultures and owls), rehabilitating them and, whenever possible, releasing them back to the wild. Birds that cannot be released are trained to take part in the center’s education program.
During the open house, organizers said, visitors will have the opportunity to see many nonreleasable raptors that are housed in display cages. Some birds will be “on the glove” (perched on trainers’ hands) for people to see.
The center’s museum will be open, and T-shirts and other souvenirs will be for sale.
The open house also will include wine tasting with Hawley Winery and beer tasting with Mendocino Brewing Co.
The open house is free; however, “we greatly appreciate tax-deductible donations that help provide care and feeding of resident raptors, underwrite education programs, provide medication and medical supplies for rehabilitation, and maintain our unique center,” officials said in a news release.
Directions: Take the UC Davis exit from Interstate 80 and turn south on Old Davis Road. Cross the railroad tracks and continue until just before the Putah Creek bridge. Turn left onto the paved levee road. Follow it for two-tenths of a mile and keep on the pavement as the road veers left, taking you down off the levee. Then make a quick right turn into the free parking area. Do not use GPS; it directs visitors to the wrong place. Map.
• "Moth-ers Day" — This event, a week before Mothers Day, is now a four-year tradition at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, 1124 Academic Surge. The open house will run from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday (May 4). "We will be celebrating the diversity of moths and making moth-inspired cards in advance of Mothers Day," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. "We'll have a cloth and light set-up to show people how moths are collected, and we will have displays about the differences between moths and butterflies." Read more.
• Wild Family Day — The student organization Wild Campus started Wild Family Day three years ago, presenting educational displays and live animals, plus games and other activities. Marielle Medina, executive director, offered this preview for the event this Sunday (May 4), 1-3 p.m., in and around the arboretum's gazebo: butterfly catching game, mammal tracking, make your own bird seeder and plant poppies for Mothers Day, plus live bats, fish and reptiles — and, of course, face painting!