Jack Hanna’s exotic animal show comes to Kent State

Brittany Hill

A case of Yuengling isn’t the only difference between your usual Thursday night animals and the ones that will be in the Kiva Thursday. 

Jack Hanna’s exotic animal show, sponsored by Kent Student Center Programming, is from 5-6 p.m. and “will give students an educational, up-close look at some unique species of animals,” Jennifer Gunnoe, marketing coordinator of KSCP said.

Over the past 30 years Hanna has become the face of the Columbus Zoo. “He’s an animal expert,” Gunnoe said. Hanna has toured all over the world providing educational programs and has appeared with his animals on a number of television shows including “Good Morning, America” and “The David Letterman Show” 

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Although Hanna himself won’t be at the Kent State event, his animals and two of his animal program specialists will. Beth Nagoda is one of Hanna’s specialists whom students will see Thursday.

“The department we’re in, we do all of Jack’s promotional stuff,” Nagoda said. “So anywhere Jack has animals, we’re not that far behind.”

Nagoda said when she and the other specialists aren’t on trips with Hanna, they’re doing events like the one at Kent. “We’re going out and educating the public about the animals we work with,” said Nagoda. “And encouraging people to go to their local zoos and see what they’re about.”

Nagoda said another thing the animal program specialists like to do is promote conservation.

“A lot of the animals we work with . . . can be endangered species,” Nagoda said. “So it’s a great way for [the animals] to be ambassadors for their presence in the wild.”

KSCP Manager Sydney Jordan said that Kent State has hosted this program in previous years, and it has consistently been well received by students. 

“The audience loved the variety of animals they brought, “ Jordan said. 

“We never know what animals they are going to bring, so I am anticipating some surprises.”

 Although the exact animal lineup isn’t known, Gunnoe said that the animals in the show will be portable. “Some people go ‘I want them to bring an elephant,’” said Gunnoe. “Well, not to the Kiva.” 

The show will be free to students, but because the Kiva only holds 410 people, space is limited.

“We are planning to reach capacity,” said Jordan. “So, students should come early.”

Contact Brittany Hill at [email protected].