ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany Civic Center packed a bunch of fun, a lot of learning and thousands of parents and children into four hours starting at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The 15th annual Kids Expo sponsored by Dougherty for Children brought 40 exhibitors to the center to meet with parents about health, education and safety.
The children also got to pet a snake and some fierce looking roaches, courtesy the Chehaw exhibit.
"We wanted to bring everyone together so that they can learn about the many programs available to them in the area," said Anne Stokes, chairwoman of the event. "There are many groups children can get involved with, Boys Clubs and Girls Clubs, Girls Inc., they are all here."
The booths were all set up in the civic center to allow free movement. Many people moved from booth to booth gathering pamphlets and information about nutrition, pediatric care in the area and other areas of parental interest.
"I didn't know they had things like 'I Care' to help parents," said Megan Candidate. "My children aren't old enough for school but when they are I'll get involved."
"I Care" is part of the Dougherty County School System's program to involve parents in the areas of character and community involvement, said Tameeka Daniels, program coordinator.
A parent takes a pledge to teach a child to "set goals, be self aware, value achievement, maintain self-control" and seven other traits of good character.
Two of what seemed to be the most popular booths for children were set up by staff from Albany State University and Chehaw.
L. Danielle Johnson, of Albany State performed what looked like magic for children by using simple chemical reactions to make a baggie of liquid turn the astonishing colors of a sunset.
"Science is easy and fun," said Johnson, the program manager of the Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Aerospace Academy Project at ASU.
"If I can get the kids interested in science, they'll have a good future and make a lot of money too."
The other popular booth was set up to feature nature and creepy crawlies. Chehaw, the combination zoo and nature park off Philema Road had a booth with a snake and two Madagascar hissing cockroaches for children to pet.
"Of course we're a popular exhibit," said Jackie Entz, an education instructor at the park. "We have animals."