Baby alligators bring crowds to library

By Judith Roberts, publisher

Gator Man Gabe Griffin and his congregation of baby alligators were guests at the Lincoln Parish Library Tuesday afternoon as around 90 patrons — including numerous children — learned more about Louisiana wildlife and got a close encounter with baby alligators.

Marcie Nelson, interim director of the library until July 1, said the numbers of patrons participating in the summer activities were almost back to pre-COVID numbers.

“This is normal (numbers), pre-COVID,” Nelson said. “The past couple of years have been weird. I would venture to say that today … this is back to pre-COVID. That’s exciting to us. We’ve been seeing upwards of 10,000 to 11,000 people coming through our doors every month. We’re starting to inch closer and closer to pre-COVID numbers faster than we expected. This is a sign we’re getting back in the right direction.”

Ruston resident Amanda Ambrose brought her three kids to the library and said she frequently attends library events — especially ones with animals.

“Anything that involves animals, not only do the kids love, but I do, too,” Ambrose said. “They loved seeing the baby alligators and even touching them.”

Another local, LaErica Moss, brought her son as well to the event and said the whole family enjoyed interacting with the alligators.

“He had a good time. He held three different alligators,” Moss said. “I saw it on Facebook and I thought it would be interesting.”

LPL teen coordinator Kris Patrick said she found out about Griffin and other resources through a summer reading workshop and said she thought this would be a good event for the community.

“The kids are so excited,” Patrick said. “We are partnering with Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries very heavily this summer. We’re doing all kinds of things.”

More animals will be available for the community to interact with July 27 when Terry Vandeventer, also known as The Snake Man, visits the Library Event Center at 2 p.m. 

“Anybody who is interested in coming to the library events can follow us on Facebook or come to the library and pick up a flier,” Nelson said. “We have about six special guests this summer, and we’re doing three or four programs a week. There’s plenty to do, and it’s all free.”

 


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