Held outside under tents on a perfect summer-like night, the theme of the annual fundraiser was Egypt all the way. From henna-painting and belly dancers to live wild animal guests and “desertinis” it was a night for enjoying the exotic and benefiting a good cause.
The museum’s president/CEO Bob Griesmer, celebrating 20 months as head of the place, has some big plans and the immediate ones include a permanent butterfly exhibit that would be housed in a new building in the open courtyard.
But not just any building. A 21-by-40 foot building shaped like a monarch butterfly chrysalis expected to open in the next several months.
“The kids will love it,” said Griesmer, clearly happy about a gala that this year attracted nearly 300 people, twice a many as a year ago. “They will enter through the caterpillar mouth. It will be great!”
Ona more serious note, Griesmer said the museum is working hard at making the place a lifetime learning experience for both children and adults. A new playground is being installed. There will be a “Thinker Linker” giant wooden block hands-on blocks exhibit and a “Spineless Wonders” exhibit featuring all kinds of spiders coming soon.
Business aside, it was a night to party. Professional henna artist Heidi Olson was ready to get revelers painted up just right, there was a dress-up booth so guests could channel their inner pharaoh or queen and of course, a tour of the museum’s King Tut: the Boy King exhibit was also featured as part of the festivities.
And as the human guests perused auction items with FoxCt personalities Laurie Perez and Jim Altman as auctioneers, there were also those other guests who didn’t care so much for the revelry as much as the chance to get out of the cage and mingle a bit.
Jay Kaplan, the museum’s director of wild life and head of its Roaring Brook Nature Center facility, had a few dates for the night including Calvin, the famed fennec fox, who, with his siblings, made the news when a fox hound nursed the babies after the fox mother abandoned the litter.
“These guys are pretty tame because they are used to being handled,” said Kaplan as he cuddled Calvin and headed out into the crowd who are treated each year to a close up and personal look at some of the museum residents. “And the good news is that after the fox hound nursed them, she was adopted by a West Hartford family,” said Kaplan. “It was a happy ending all around.”