When you think "library," do giant reptiles and squealing children come to mind? If not, then you have not been fortunate enough to witness Rich Ihle's Reptile Adventures this summer. The Phoenix Public Library hosts a fantastic kids summer program, where nearly every weekday there is someone cool presenting something awesome at various libraries across the city–and it's free to attend! We go to our local Ironwood branch every Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to catch the fun. Yesterday's presentation was our favorite! Rich Ihle, the creator of Reptile Adventures brought his friends, small and large, for families to oooh and ahhh at. The kids were all pumped, and Rich delivered. His funny, friendly attitude, coupled with the confidence and sternness to keep the kids' energy from getting out of control made for an incredible experience.
Rich began his presentation by telling everyone a bit about himself and how he came to be the "reptile guy." It seems he had a deep love for these creatures from an early age and would spend all of his money on reptiles. He encouraged the kids to find their passion and open books to learn all they can about it, as he did, which I thought was a wonderful message. He also expressed the importance of caring for pets properly, and how much work they can be. The guy kept it real.
Like all good entertainers, Rich brought out the little guys first. We met Sunset the Bearded Dragon, Slim the Blue-tongued Skink, and Freckles, the Leopard Gecko, among other friends.
I was totally impressed with them, but had no idea that the big guns were waiting in the wings.
Enter T-Bo the Rhinoceros Iguana.
He was incredible! And incredibly huge! Rich's interactions with him were nothing short of a headliner at The Comedy Spot. The kids (and adults) were squealing and shaking with excitement. Rich took him for a ride on his cooler, a giant-iguana RV, of sorts.
Just when we thought we'd seen the grand finale, out came Sunshine, who we got to touch.
What an experience! You can still catch Rich and "The Ultimate Reptile Experience" at libraries around the valley during this week and next, the last week of the program. I would highly recommend it, even if you don't have kids! Rich and his friends are also available for birthday parties, school presentations, and special events.