TICONDEROGA-Nancy Carlson loves animals. She thinks everyone should enjoy nature's creatures.
"We have a natural connection with animals," Carlson said. "I want people to overcome their fears about animals and develop a healthy respect for them."
To accomplish that goal Carlson has opened All 'Bout Critters at 84 Montcalm St. in Ticonderoga. Many people have visited the shop thinking it's a pet store. It isn't.
"It's hard to put us in a category," Carlson said. "It's really family entertainment with a goal of educating people about animals."
All 'Bout Critters offers animal and nature education programs for school groups, birthday parties, camps, senior citizens groups, families and others. The programs can be on location or people can visit the storefront on Montcalm Street.
"We tailor each program to match our audience," said Carlson, a trained naturalist with 25 years of experience. "Every program is age-appropriate."
Programs include Animal Adaptations; Sense-Ability; Changes; Hibernate, Migrate or Survive; Meet the Greens; Circle of Life; Pond Ecology; and Meet the Marines.
Each program features animals from All 'Bout Critters. There are 60-70 animals on site.
"We have a lot of animals here that I use in our programs and I have connections with other naturalists," Carlson said. "I can get just about any animal people are interested in."
All 'Bout Critters is open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. Mondays and Fridays; 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m.Tuesdays; 9:30 to noon and 3-5 p.m. Thursdays; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Other times Carlson takes her programs on the road.
Carlson, who has a degree in biology, has presented programs at the Black Watch Memorial Library in Ticonderoga and at Ticonderoga and Crown Point schools since opening. She noted All 'Bout Critters programs support state science curriculums.
"I've gotten a very good response," Carlson said of her visits to local schools and the library. "People love animals and want to learn mor about them."
All 'Bout Critters also offers "mini camps," where children spend several hours at the store learning about animals, doing crafts and taking part in hands-on activities.
People are welcome to visit All 'Bout Critters. Besides the animals on display, the store has an activity area for children as well as a program room.
For more information call 984-0030 or go online at ww.abcritters.com