The Florence R. Foerderer Live Animal Center
The Live Animal Center, located in the rear of the ground level, is home to more than 100 live birds, mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates. Floor-to-ceiling observation windows afford visitors an interesting look behind the scenes, where busy staff and volunteers feed and groom the live animals and perform other routine tasks to keep the animals safe and healthy.
All of the animals are injured or were born in captivity and would not survive on their own in the wild. In exchange for room and board, these animals help us teach visitors about conservation and the environment.
Part of our Mission
These animals play a central role in educational programs throughout the museum. They're featured in the daily Naturalist Presentations and in Outside In, a hands-on children's discovery center located on the third level. Elsewhere in the museum, live animals participate in gallery mini-shows and special events. They also play a starring role in Discovery Lessons, which are interactive classes and workshops for visiting schools, summer camps, and other groups. Our teacher-naturalists even take the animals on the road to schools, nursing homes, and community events through our Academy-on-the-Go outreach program.
Many Mouths to Feed
Feeding the inhabitants of the Live Animal Center is no easy task. Manager of Living Exhibits Laura McRae, her staff, and her volunteers have to cater to the likes and dislikes of animals, which range from an endangered chinchilla and a personable cockatoo to a Vietnamese beauty snake. It takes 175 hours a week of labor to keep the animals healthy and happy. Here's a typical weekly food shopping list:
- 10 lbs. of greens (collard, kale, chard, etc.)
- 3 cases of fresh fruits and vegetables
- 20 lbs. of dry commercial diets (as in duck food, chinchilla food, etc.)
- 1,000 frozen mice
- 60 grapes
How to Support the Live Animal Center
For more hands-on involvement, anyone age 14 or older who loves animals and doesn't mind working hard or sticking to a schedule is invited to apply to be a volunteer in the center. For more information on volunteering, check out Volunteering at the Academy or contact Lois Kuter at email@example.com or 215-299-1029.
Those participating in college programs that involve the care of live animals may be interested in pursuing an internship at the Live Animal Center. In particular, the Delaware Valley College's Department of Animal Biotechnology and Conservation has a Zoo Science Major with internships at the Academy's Live Animal Center. Anyone interested can contact Lois Kuter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-299-1029 for more information.