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March Break downtown includes snakes and huge frogs

March Break activities bring kids downtown

Snakes aren’t slimy, they’re actually quite soft, reptile handler Thomas Carey told dozens of kids on Wednesday. To dispel the slimy misconception, he let kids feel for themselves.

School-aged children packed into the Guelph Civic Museum for Carey’s Travelling Reptile Show, part of March Break activities in downtown Guelph.

While he spoke, a very large snake rested around Carey’s shoulders. Kids touch it and the other reptiles and amphibians the owner of Hamilton Reptile brought along. Among them was the largest toad any of the children had ever seen, and lizard that can run on water.

Part of March Break in Downtown Guelph, put on by the Downtown Guelph Business Association, the reptile show, and other activities had the museum crawling with kids.

“I love it,” said Ken Irvine, the museum’s program coordinator. “This is what it should be like. We’re really happy that kids are coming out and taking advantage of March Break programming. When they see how much fun it is to be here, they’ll come back.”

Willie Spencer brought her two grandchildren to the museum on a rainy Wednesday. They visited the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington on Tuesday, but found Carey’s reptiles and the museum’s family gallery rivaled that experience.

‘They’re loving it,” said Spencer. “I can’t get them out of here.”

Activities are going on all week in the downtown as part of Downtown Guelph’s March Break event. Fifteen downtown restaurants are offering kids-eat-free deals, and the museum and Guelph Public Library have contributed activities for kids.

Play with Clay is one of the businesses involved, and it was teeming with children and parents on Wednesday. The open studio lived up to its name, as children and adults got to play with and paint clay figurines and cups with glazes throughout the day.

Shay MacDonald, 2, applied a lot of pink to the round little rabbit she and mom Kim Brown were getting creative with. Brown's son Blake, the school-aged child in the family, got to work with clay as well.

“It’s good to come downtown for March Break,” said Brown. “And we can take the kids out for meals without having to worry too much about the cost.”

Nina Kapuscinska owns Play with Clay with her husband Mario. The studio at 42 Wyndham Street N. is always busy for March Break, and that’s how they like it, she said. She called working with clay therapeutic for children and adults alike.

“Art is known to lower people’s blood pressure,” she said. “It good to give kids a break from being overly stimulated by the computer or iPad on their lap. And this allows parents to sit down and spend some creative time with their kids.”

Check out Downtown Guelph’s March Break offerings at


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Rob O'Flanagan

About the Author: Rob O'Flanagan

Rob O’Flanagan has been a newspaper reporter, photojournalist and columnist for over twenty years. He has won numerous Ontario Newspaper Awards and a National Newspaper Award.
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