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Not-so-creepy creatures visit St. Pius X School

Created: 09 October, 2009
Updated: 13 September, 2023
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3 min read

A students gets up close and personal with a Trantual as a part of the Halloween Spooktacular.
A students gets up close and personal with a Trantual as a part of the Halloween Spooktacular.

 Sharks. Alligators. Tarantulas. Owls. Vultures.

These are some of the animals that many people consider spooky or scary.

But on a recent morning, a group of 60 third and fourth graders from St. Pius X School, in Chula Vista, learned and discussed about the misconceptions surrounding these creatures when SeaWorld’s Animal Ambassador Team, animal expert Jack Hanna, and a variety of live exotic animals visited the school.

“You don’t have to be scared of these beautiful animals, but you do have to respect them,” said Jack Hanna, the star of the popular television series “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild.”

The presentation was part of SeaWorld´s not-too-scary celebration called SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular, and underwater fanta-sea running from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends during October.

Before Hanna’s introduction, a SeaWorld education specialist discussed the misconceptions about sharks, compared different shark jaws, and introduced children to Mr. Potato Shark, while illustrating different shark adaptations.

A few minutes later, children got excited when Jack Hanna and SeaWorld’s Animal Ambassador Team began to present live animals, including a tarantula, an owl, a three-foot alligator, and even a very curious kangaroo.

The parade of exotic animals amazed children, who had many questions for Hanna and the SeaWorld team, which dispelled many myths about some creepy and not-so-creepy creatures, including a vulture and a tortoise.

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Ivanka Yee, an 8-year-old third grade student at St. Pius X School, was one of the students who participated in the animal exhibition. She said that before learning about these animals, she had a few reservations about them.

“I was scared!”, said Ivanka. “I used to be afraid of them, but now I know that they are good animals. It was a good show!”

Third grade teacher Zena Lujan took her 24 students to the presentation. She said that the information students received there relates to the school curriculum on science.

An alligator along with Jack Hanna of the television show “Jack Hanna into the Wild” and a brave student St. Pius X student.
An alligator along with Jack Hanna of the television show “Jack Hanna into the Wild” and a brave student St. Pius X student.

 “It was an awesome experience because students are learning about animals in the classroom,” Lujan said. “Now when we talk about them in class, they will have the experience of having seen them live.”

Educating children about animals is the goal of SeaWorld’s educational presentations, said spokesperson Susie Campbell.

“These events give children a better appreciation of animals,” she said.

Finally, before putting away all the animals in the show, Jack Hanna told the children about his love for animals, and how he grew up in a farm. He encouraged children to pursue their interests, and to envision their goals, just like he decided to become a zookeeper and animal expert.

“Live and follow your dreams, whatever they are, whether you want to be a doctor, a teacher, whatever, just enjoy what you do as much as I enjoy my job every day,” Hanna told the children.

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During SeaWorld’s Halloween Spook-tacular, visitors can enjoy other exciting events, including special Halloween shows, photo opportunities with friendly Halloween-costumed characters, cookie decorating, and more.

Plus, kids are encouraged to come in costume and enjoy trick-or-treating in a safe, family-friendly environment.

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