Maggie, the life-size milking cow, waits for the Early Learning Center to open. The Waukegan Public Library’s new Early Learning Center exhibit, “Oink, Baa, Moo: Farm Fun”, funded exclusively by North Shore Gas will unveil the exhibit at a grand opening reception, Dec. 9, from 1 to 3 p.m. The event is open to the public, free of charge, and includes entertainment and refreshments. | Special to Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 4, 2013 1:17AM
Children of all ages will have fun on the farm at the Waukegan Public Library’s new Early Learning Center exhibit, “Oink, Baa, Moo: Farm Fun.”
The library, at 128 N. County St., will unveil the exhibit, which features 2,200-square-feet of displays and interactive learning centers that include a barn slide, apple orchard, chicken coop and life-sized milking cow, at a grand opening reception, Dec. 9 from 1 to 3 p.m. The event will include entertainment and refreshments.
With the help of the 4-H club, the University of Illinois Extension and the Lake County Farm Bureau, library staff researched the animals and agriculture of Midwestern farms to accurately portray the significance of farming on local communities. Local representatives from 4-H and the Farm Bureau will be at the opening with samples of local produce and family crafts.
Maggie, a life-sized fiberglass milking cow sponsored by Golden Oaks Farm in Wauconda, will be the focus of the new exhibit. Maggie is over five feet tall and features a working udder that recirculates the water that children “milk.”
The only dairy farm in Lake County, Golden Oaks Farm produces more than 18 million pounds of milk per year with a herd of about 700 milking females and 650 young cows.
After the ribbon-cutting, students in third to fifth grades from Glen Flora and John Clark Elementary Schools will perform farm-themed songs. Baby farm animals from Buggy Whip Farm will feature a pot-bellied pig, lamb, bunnies, ducklings and a pygmy goat. Puppetry by Wild Cow Puppet Craft will feature “The Three Little Pigs,” “The Little Red Hen” and “The Gingerbread Man” every 20 minutes and families can create their own farm-themed puppets.
Each year, the early learning center features a living element so that children can observe and learn about the daily habits of the creatures or animals featured in the exhibit. The library’s current creepy and crawly scorpion, tarantula, hermit crab and Madagascar hissing cockroaches will be replaced this year by fuzzy baby chicks hatched from fertilized eggs every five weeks. Families can monitor the eggs in an incubator on the children’s department desk and then visit and hold the newborn chicks once the eggs hatch. The library’s first batch of chicks will be on display at the opening.
In addition to all the interactive elements in the early learning center, the library will reveal its new Smart Board, an interactive whiteboard with touch screen technology that will be used with children’s programs, school field trips and gaming at the library. The new Smart Board is an important educational tool that will give Waukegan students more extensive experience with computer-based learning.
The launch of “Oink, Baa, Moo” marks the fourth year of rotating exhibits in the children’s department at the library, following “Dig the Dinosaurs,” “Under the Sea” and the most recent “Creepy Crawlies.” Each exhibit, including all programs, displays and installation, is funded by donations from North Shore Gas and the Morrison Family.
For more information, call (847) 623-2041, ext. 231 or visit www.waukeganpl.org.