Cat Tales debuts new 'touch and learn' exhibit - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Cat Tales debuts new 'touch and learn' exhibit

Posted: Updated:
SPOKANE, Wash. -

There's an exciting new experience happening in north Spokane. 

You've probably been to Cat Tales before, but there's one group of people who haven't been able to enjoy the zoo to their full potential. Fortunately, that's changing.

Seeing a wild animal up close is one of the most exciting moments you can experience, and zoos bring that moment to life. 

Thousands of people visit Cat Tales every year to come within feet of a lion, tigers, a bear, and plenty of other "oh my" unique creatures. They got a new bobcat about three months ago, and one of the white tigers arrived last year.

But what if you couldn't see those beautiful animals? Suddenly Cat Tales might not be as exciting until now.

Ryan Wyche, Zoo Director & Senior Keeper) "We're celebrating the opening of our new touch and learn exhibits for people to be able to come out and just kind of get a little hands on experience," explained Ryan Wyche, the Zoo Director and Senior Keeper. "We've got a variety of different replica skulls, claws, whiskers, fur samples."

Wyche says he's been wanting to do this for years, and he found the inspiration from the inland northwest lighthouse for the blind.

"We have guests come out from time to time who are visually impaired, and they can be able to hear about the cats and hear the cats make noises," Wyche said. "So it's especially nice to have an opportunity like this that we can present to them to be able to get an idea of what a tiger would look like, in so far as how large it is, or what the fur feels like."

Lighthouse Director of Public Relation and Development Greg Szabo, who's visually impaired, was the first to touch and learn.

Stepping into the new display, Szabo picked up a 2 foot long matted clump of fur.

Wyche explained to him "That is actually a dread from the lion's mane, they don't brush their hair very often, so they'd get mats forming, and that's from one of the lions we had here at the zoo."

Szabo's reply, "awesome."

Through the exhibit, Szabo realized a parallel to his own life. He learned tigers use their whiskers to measure the width of a space, to figure out if they'll be able to fit through it. Szabo says his cane serves the same purpose for him.

Going through the touch and learn center, he says the new exhibit will change the Cat Tales experience for blind people like himself.

"Coming out and getting an idea of tactically what the furs feels like," Szabo explained, "what the skulls are like, that's really a neat and wonderful idea for people to take advantage of that. I think it's an awesome idea."

Even for people who aren't visually impaired, the small zoo is hoping the touch and learn center will help more people connect with what they're doing -- rescuing wild animals from all over the world.

"One of the biggest things people always ask out here," Wyche told us, "is can I touch the cats? Can I pet them? Obviously that's not safe for that to happen, but this is a way for people to be able to get an idea of what that experience might be like."

Cat Tales is actually running a special through the month of February -- admission is just $5 for everyone, so you can go check out the touch and learn exhibit.

If you want to learn more, but you can't make it up there, Cat Tales is also launching a Facebook live zoo chat, every Saturday morning at 9 o'clock. You just have to "like" the Cat Tales Facebook page

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Toddler shoots pregnant mom outside Indiana thrift store

    Toddler shoots pregnant mom outside Indiana thrift store

    Wednesday, April 18 2018 4:40 PM EDT2018-04-18 20:40:25 GMT

    MERRILVILLE, Indiana - An Indiana woman is in critical but stable condition after her 3-year-old daughter accidentally shot her with a gun her father left in the car. Police in Merrillville say two small children were waiting in the car with their mother while their father shopped inside a thrift store when the shooting happened Tuesday afternoon.

    >>

    MERRILVILLE, Indiana - An Indiana woman is in critical but stable condition after her 3-year-old daughter accidentally shot her with a gun her father left in the car. Police in Merrillville say two small children were waiting in the car with their mother while their father shopped inside a thrift store when the shooting happened Tuesday afternoon.

    >>
  • Family tries euthanizing cat after he walked 12 miles to return home

    Family tries euthanizing cat after he walked 12 miles to return home

    Thursday, April 19 2018 1:23 AM EDT2018-04-19 05:23:12 GMT
    @a.cat.named.toby@a.cat.named.toby
    @a.cat.named.toby@a.cat.named.toby

    RALEIGH, North Carolina - A North Carolina family gave their cat away and then tried to euthanize him after he walked 12 miles back to his home. According to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Wake County, North Carolina, Toby the cat made the long trek back to his family after they tried to give him away. When he returned, they took him to a shelter to put him down. The shelter called the SPCA to ask if they would help 

    >>

    RALEIGH, North Carolina - A North Carolina family gave their cat away and then tried to euthanize him after he walked 12 miles back to his home. According to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Wake County, North Carolina, Toby the cat made the long trek back to his family after they tried to give him away. When he returned, they took him to a shelter to put him down. The shelter called the SPCA to ask if they would help 

    >>
  • Dog daycare owner finds pile of dog poo piled on her car

    Dog daycare owner finds pile of dog poo piled on her car

    Wednesday, April 18 2018 8:11 PM EDT2018-04-19 00:11:41 GMT
    Tails-A-Wagging Facebook pageTails-A-Wagging Facebook page
    Tails-A-Wagging Facebook pageTails-A-Wagging Facebook page

    BELLINGHAM, Wash. - The owner of a Bellingham dog training and daycare center had a foul start to her work week. According to a post on the Tails-A-Wagging Facebook page, a vandal reportedly dumped "over 100 lbs. of dog feces" on owner Angela Lenz's car sometime Sunday night. "The feces was a mixture of old and new, and had been collected for a while," the Facebook post said. "The size of the various fecal dropping varied, 

    >>

    BELLINGHAM, Wash. - The owner of a Bellingham dog training and daycare center had a foul start to her work week. According to a post on the Tails-A-Wagging Facebook page, a vandal reportedly dumped "over 100 lbs. of dog feces" on owner Angela Lenz's car sometime Sunday night. "The feces was a mixture of old and new, and had been collected for a while," the Facebook post said. "The size of the various fecal dropping varied, 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Community comes together at candlelight vigil for Medical Lake students

    Community comes together at candlelight vigil for Medical Lake students

    Thursday, April 19 2018 2:14 AM EDT2018-04-19 06:14:13 GMT

    MEDICAL LAKE, Wash. - It was an incredibly emotional night in Medical Lake as a candlelight vigil was held in this community that continues to heal. The Medical Lake family gathered tonight to be with each other and be there for each other.  On Saturday, 17-year-old Journey Tueller was killed, and three other students, Laci Sica, Savannah Sutton and Hailey Gross were injured in a crash as they were on their way to catch a team bus. 

    >>

    MEDICAL LAKE, Wash. - It was an incredibly emotional night in Medical Lake as a candlelight vigil was held in this community that continues to heal. The Medical Lake family gathered tonight to be with each other and be there for each other.  On Saturday, 17-year-old Journey Tueller was killed, and three other students, Laci Sica, Savannah Sutton and Hailey Gross were injured in a crash as they were on their way to catch a team bus. 

    >>
  • Family tries euthanizing cat after he walked 12 miles to return home

    Family tries euthanizing cat after he walked 12 miles to return home

    Thursday, April 19 2018 1:23 AM EDT2018-04-19 05:23:12 GMT
    @a.cat.named.toby@a.cat.named.toby
    @a.cat.named.toby@a.cat.named.toby

    RALEIGH, North Carolina - A North Carolina family gave their cat away and then tried to euthanize him after he walked 12 miles back to his home. According to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Wake County, North Carolina, Toby the cat made the long trek back to his family after they tried to give him away. When he returned, they took him to a shelter to put him down. The shelter called the SPCA to ask if they would help 

    >>

    RALEIGH, North Carolina - A North Carolina family gave their cat away and then tried to euthanize him after he walked 12 miles back to his home. According to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Wake County, North Carolina, Toby the cat made the long trek back to his family after they tried to give him away. When he returned, they took him to a shelter to put him down. The shelter called the SPCA to ask if they would help 

    >>
  • Big hurdle cleared for a sportsplex in Spokane

    Big hurdle cleared for a sportsplex in Spokane

    Wednesday, April 18 2018 10:10 PM EDT2018-04-19 02:10:35 GMT

    Spokane, Wash. Spokane County Commissioners have approved a $25 million bond to help build the Spokane Sportsplex. The Sportsplex would be a multi-purpose sports facility. It would be able to host national and local sporting events "We are almost at the end of the big phase which is we've identified the funding. The county, as you know, quoted to sell bonds for us, and the cities provided the land and will be providing us a 5 million dollar contribution as well....

    >>

    Spokane, Wash. Spokane County Commissioners have approved a $25 million bond to help build the Spokane Sportsplex. The Sportsplex would be a multi-purpose sports facility. It would be able to host national and local sporting events "We are almost at the end of the big phase which is we've identified the funding. The county, as you know, quoted to sell bonds for us, and the cities provided the land and will be providing us a 5 million dollar contribution as well....

    >>