Thursday, June 11, 2009

Baby Tigers on the prowl!


The neatest organization came to town last week and our family was fortunate enough to get to partake of their offerings. Joe Exotic, the magician came to our mall and put on his show everyday for 5 days. Now you must understand that our mall was for years called "The Mall". Period. Because basically that is about all you could say in the matter. Our big store is JC Penney and we never have the retail fronts all filled, sometimes half is good. So, Joe Exotic goes to "dying malls" (ours definitely qualifies) and puts on his shows. For free. The mall donates the location, local restaurants donate the meals. They sleep in their buses (all 14 members of his entourage) and they come to perform (with a very strong anti-drug and anti-drinking message for the kids) a very well done magic show. We went to the Friday night performance - it was 1 1/2 hours long, and free. I was very impressed. Joe did tricks and illusions that included audience members, and some that were simple, and some that were as good if not better than what I've seen David Blaine and Kriss Angel do. The classic Harry Houdini trick with the bag, box, 3 locks and the body switching... that was phenomenal. So why was this free?

Joe travels around raising money through donations to support the G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma. It's a non-profit organization that rescues abused, abandoned and neglected exotic animals with a special emphasis on large cats (namely tigers and lions). They provide a home for over 1400 animals, over 180 of them are tigers. It is a pretty amazing thing that they do. Joe travels 364 days a year and puts on over 260 magic shows every year. He does all of this in memory of his brother who was killed by a drunk driver.
One of the things they offer those that come to the show (as a fundraiser of course) is to go in a huge cage with baby tigers and play with them (pet them really, you can't pick them up). My kids and I (except Quinn) got to do that and it really was an amazing experience. At what other time in our lives will we be this close and personal with tigers? Since Quinn didn't get to go, we brought home a baby tiger for him to keep. He was pretty happy with that :-)

Check out the website for this amazing place here.

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