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Two chances to see Busch Gardens animals in Raleigh this month

Animals from Busch Gardens will make appearances in Raleigh twice this month ... at the CoolKidz Expo and at the Southern Women's Show.

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Six-banded armadillo
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

Two sets of animals will make the four-hour trip from Busch Gardens in Williamsburg to Raleigh in the next couple of weeks.

At the CoolKidz Expo, scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday at the downtown Raleigh Convention Center, the focus wil be on animals of the rainforest. The following weekend, the Southern Women's Show will feature a program about endangered animals and conservation.

The show at CoolKidz is designed for kids ages 10 and under, said Hope Durley, Busch Gardens animal care supervisor. The theme park will bring a green-wing macaw, Amazon parrot, a six-banded armadillo and other creatures found in South America.

There will be plenty of moments where the audience can participate. Kids will be able to pick out items from a table that relates to an animal that they're learning about. So they might find an egg or a feather when the focus is on the green-wing macaw, which is one of the larger macaws in the rainforest. And one lucky audience member will get picked to dress up as a surprise guest creature. The rest of the crowd will get to guess what it is.

"It's a really, really fun part of the show," Durley said.

Busch Gardens will have two shows each day of the kids expo. They're at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Click here for the full entertainment schedule at the expo.

There are fewer playful, hands-on moments at the presentations planned for the Southern Women's Show at the State Fairgrounds. At these shows, Busch Gardens will bring a variety of animals that are threatened including a prehensile tailed skink, American alligator and screech owl.

"The message is conservation and why it's important to protect habitat and do our part as far as conservation goes," Durley said.

The Busch Gardens show will be at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. April 24 and noon April 25 at the Southern Women's Show, which runs April 23 to April 25.

Busch Gardens in Williamsburg is about four hours from Raleigh. The theme park includes, among many other things (and I didn't know this), a Sesame Street Forest of Fun. You can also take backstage tours to see the animals, including some that will be making its way to Raleigh. A long weekend perhaps ...

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