SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Residents of assisted living centers always love it when friends and family stop by to say hi. Today, one center in Sioux Falls got some special visitors and boy did things get a little wild.
Residents of Prairie Creek Memory Center came out of their shells today and took a walk on the wild side.
The Great Plains Zoo and its Zoo Mobile stopped by with a few animals; like an opossum, a ball python snake, a bearded dragon lizard and a red-footed tortoise, which Bruce Stauffacher liked the best.
“I used to see so many of them, I lived on the farm up by Brookings; always encountered turtles going across the road,” Stauffacher said.
Ruth Kinney says she liked the opossum.
“Because he’s cute, he has the puffy little face, he’s so cute,” Kinney said.
The animals provide an emotional experience for residents.
“It brings back a lot of memories for the residents living with us, they can reminisce about the old times,” Senior Living Manager Tony Harris said.
A lot of the residents grew up with pets or had pets prior to moving into memory care.
“Never have seen these particular animals before,” Kinney said.
And while they probably weren’t quite this exotic, they do bring back wonderful memories, which is therapeutic in a way.
“A lot of the residents can relate, maybe it’s something that happened many years ago or a special memory they may have had with someone, it can trigger a memory to think about those times,” Harris said.
Along with getting to touch or pet the animals, the residents also learned a little bit about each one, what they like to eat, where they originate from and how long they live.