Children laughed, gasped, clapped and smiled at zoo animals on the Douglas County Courthouse lawn on Saturday morning, Oct. 2.

The program, sponsored by the Douglas County Library Friends and Foundation, featured animals from the Hemker Park and Zoo, a family owned zoo in Freeport. Children were introduced to a Velveteen bunny named Whiskers, a skunk named Petunia, along with a cockatoo, a baby alligator and several snakes.

Anne and Roger Branker from Hemker Park and Zoo brought out the animals one by one and gave interesting information about them. Skunks, for example, are near-sighted and can spray from 15 feet away; a baby alligator eats 25 smelt three times a week; and one of the differences between crocodiles and alligators is the shape of their mouth. Alligators have a U-shaped mouth while crocs are V-shaped.

The hour-long program for all ages was held outdoors with parents and children sitting on lawn chairs and blankets.

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