Hattiesburg Zoo to host Story time


Bookworms and animal lovers alike are in for a treat at the Hattiesburg Zoo.

The zoo is bringing back its Story Time series at 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. every Friday throughout August and September in the zoo’s education room, during which the EdZOOcation staff will read books to children and even introduce some ambassador animals up close.

“We just want students to have the opportunity to learn a lot about our zoo and the animals that are there,” said Shuntasia Coleman, public relations coordinator at the Hattiesburg Convention Commission, which runs the zoo. “It’s really important to get kids exposed to different animals, as well as allow them to see why it’s important to read.

“And it’s important to get them involved in literature, especially at an early age. So it’s just a fun, unique way to get them involved and do something educational.”

The EdZOOcation staff will chose various books from their library to read to the kids before bringing out the ambassador animals, which help out in the zoo’s educational and outreach efforts. Some of the many ambassador animals include baby American Alligators, a Black-Tailed Prairie Dog and a few different species of snakes.

Coleman said the event, which is free and open to the public, has been well-attended in the past.

“We’re really excited to be able to get those young ones who can attend to be able to experience this unique program,” she said.

Jeremy Cumpton, education manager at the zoo, said he’s also looking forward to Story Time.

“We’re excited to continue providing this educational outlet to our community,” he said. “At Story Time, we offer games, puzzles and coloring sheets to help provide an enriching environment for young learners. Not to mention we get a visit from our ambassador animals each week.”