Aussie critters come across on pirate ships

By By Jordan Gribble / Special to the American Press

Kangaroos and other rare animals from the Australian outback will be on display in Aussie Kingdom at 6 p.m. Friday, May 3,

on the grounds of the Lake Charles Civic Center.

The show will feature more than 25 animals, including marsupials such as kangaroos, wallabies and wallaroos; Australian-native

birds such as the kookaburra and rainbow lorikeet; and lizards like the bearded and frill dragons.

Aussie Kingdom owner Carolyn Lantz said her love for animals led her to begin traveling across the United States and Canada

to educate people on the wildlife found down under.

“I’ve been doing this show for five years, but I’ve been raising kangaroos for eight years, and I’ve just become obsessed

with them,” she said.

“I got a wallaby as a pet, and kept getting more and more of them. The more animals I got, the more people wanted to come

by my ranch to see them. I decided that it was time to start bringing them directly to the people.”

The stage show will feature six species in an educational presentation that will teach audience members a bit about each animal.

“They don’t do tricks or anything,” Lantz said. “Whatever they do on stage is completely up to them.”

The exhibit does not feature a petting zoo, and audience members will not be allowed to touch the animals. Lantz said it’s

still an experience that zoos can’t offer their guests.

“At this show you’ll be 3 feet away from the animals, and they’re always moving and hopping around,” she said. “At a zoo,

you’re most likely to see them just laying around. This is a good opportunity to see them as they really are.”

In addition to the stage show, the exhibit will feature interactive displays on Australia’s wildlife and culture, including

its art and music.

“I truly enjoy showing these animals and helping to educate people on just how unique they are,” Lantz said. “It’s important

because I think that we are more likely to preserve what we know.”

If You Go

Location: Lake Charles Civic Center.

Cost: Free with the purchase of a Contraband Days ticket, which are free for children 5 and under and $5 for everyone else.

Show Times: 6 p.m. Friday.; 1, 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 1, 4 and 6 p.m. Sunday; 6, 7 and 8 p.m. Thursday, May 9; 6, 7 and 8 p.m. Friday, May 10; 1, 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday, May 11.