The Magic of Wild Things

The Magic of Wild Things

Bring animals to you, and utilize their personal stories to learn natural history, unique adaptations, and a conservation message.

There is a magic that happens in the eyes of a child when they see a wild animal up close for the first time. Imagine the wonder of seeing a red-tailed hawk swooping overhead, a kangaroo hopping by, or a lemur leaping through the air. It’s one of the gifts that we experience every time we at Wild Things visit children with our wildlife programs. Now imagine these same children not only being excited to learn the fascinating stories of these amazing animals but also building love and respect for wildlife.

Wild Things was incorporated in 1987 for two fundamental purposes. One, to provide a home for animals in need of help, and two, to provide an educational experience for audiences of all ages in Northern California. Each animal at our center has a unique history, whether it’s a native animal whose injury keeps it from being rehabilitated back into its natural habitat, or an exotic (non-native) animal that was formerly part of the illegal pet trade.

In our wildlife programs, we bring the animals to you and utilize their personal stories to teach natural history, unique adaptations, and a conservation message. For example, 27 years ago, Tawny, our red-tailed hawk, was found with a shotgun injury to her left-wing. A caring family scooped her up and took her to the raptor center at UC Davis, where they were able to save her life, but not able to give her full flight back. Because of her calm demeanor around people, they decided to find her a permanent home. At the recommendation of US Fish and Wildlife, she was sent to Wild Things to be an ambassador for her species. It’s remarkable for us when sharing this bird to see the kids’ knowledge, understanding, and empathy grow when meeting her. What’s astonishing is the number of students who have no idea that these beautiful raptors live right alongside us.

Wild Things offers a variety of programs. Each program includes a different group of animals and covers various topics. Topics include: North American Wildlife, which includes the magnificent bald eagle; Beasts of the Backyard covers animals that live alongside us in Northern California; Scaly Wonders consists of a variety of reptiles. Other topics include The Amazing Amazon and Animals of the World. There is something for everyone.

A new member of the Wild Things family is named Darwin. He is so much like you and me because he has opposable thumbs, but he also has an opposable big toe! Like us, he is a great problem solver, is inquisitive, likes to play, and even has a belly button! As you might have guessed, Darwin is a monkey–a weeper capuchin monkey to be exact. He was unfortunately taken from his mother at a young age and became a victim of the illegal pet trade, purchased by a celebrity in Los Angeles. He became well known on Instagram, where California Fish and Wildlife found him and luckily confiscated him. Because he could not be released back into the wild, we committed to giving him a caring home, where he enjoys time with other capuchins, especially a 50-year-old female, Hobo, who acts as his surrogate mother.

In today’s world, a kid’s life can be more about video games and concrete than hiking and playing in the creek, so meeting an emissary from the natural world is an exciting, emotional way of building connections and developing understanding. Only with an appreciation for nature, will the children of today love and protect our world, and drive change for good.

We at Wild Things believe that this vital message does not have to be gloomy and can be shared in a fun-filled and energetic experience that we bring right to your school, library, or private event. Working with these magnificent creatures is our pleasure, and sharing with children and adults of all ages is our privilege. Please call 530-878-2618 or email for more information or to schedule a program. Mention you saw us in Growing Up Chico.

We look forward to seeing you!
As a non-profit that depends on outreach education programs to support our animals, the COVID-19 virus has been hitting us hard. We had to cancel all programs scheduled for the near future. If you would like to support the care of our animals by donating, you may do so at and click donate (Conservation Ambassadors is our umbrella organization). Thank you for your support!

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