On Friday, visitors to the Carter County Free Fair got to experience a one of a kind petting zoo — one dedicated entirely to insects, arachnids, and arthropods. The display, known as Insect Adventure, came courtesy of Oklahoma State University. Dr. Andrine Shufran, insect adventure coordinator, said this is the first year the traveling menagerie has come to the Carter County Free Fair.
“I’ve been doing the state fair for 15 or 16 years, and we also try to do about 12 or 13 county fairs every year as well,” Shufran said. “It kind of just depends on which counties gets their dates set first.” Fortunately, Carter County made the list for 2018. She explained how the display works.
“As part of the county fair, we’ve brought Oklahoma State University’s live bug petting zoo,” Shufran said. “We have all sorts of different species from around the world that people are able to touch, ask questions about and interact with.”
Throughout the day on Friday many classes of school children stopped by to enjoy some hands-on learning with the unusual specimens.
“The kids are
wonderful,” Shufran said. “They are definitely interested in touching and they are never afraid. The fear of all things creepy and crawly often comes later in life. Because of all the TV shows and movies, by the time they are teenagers, they are under a lot of misconceptions about this group of animals.”

In order to help squash the fear, Shufran, an entomologist, is on hand the entire time to answer any questions anyone young or old has about the misunderstood creatures. For those who missed out on Friday’s event, they can check out http://www.insectadventure.okstate.edu/ for more information about this program.