A new show at the North Texas Fair and Rodeo is attracting parents and their young children by putting on a program called the Amazing Rainforest Experience, which includes some of the world’s largest and smallest exotic animals.
It is the first time the show has been included in the fair, and officials said it has been three years in the making.
“We’ve been working with the fair for a long time to get this off the ground,” animal trainer Robert Mullen said. “So far, it’s been a great experience being a part of the fair.”
It didn’t take long for parents and children to fill the seats of the attraction before show time. The show opened with a tiger emerging from backstage into a caged arena to greet the audience.
Trainers talked about the importance of conservation as the tiger paced back and forth. They said to ensure that humans and animals thrive, a balance between Earth’s resources must be met because greed could lead to the extinction of many animals.
Mullen led the show and introduced the audience to a handful of exotic animals. The 30-minute show included three tigers, a puma, snakes, a lemur and Mullen’s best friend, a capuchin monkey.
The show included music from popular Disney movies, including The Lion King and Tarzan, to set an exotic mood as trainers had the animals perform tricks in the arena.
As the animals performed, the trainers delivered facts about each creature.
For instance, trainers compared a tiger’s stripes to a person’s fingerprints, saying that each set of stripes is unique.
The show received mixed reviews from a few audience members. Many of the children who attended enjoyed seeing the animals perform, but others said they wished the show was longer.
“I think it’s a good addition to the fair,” said Claire Shoemaker. “It’s a change from all the cattle, horses and bulls we always see. I loved it, but I wish the show was longer and that there were more animals.”
The show is a part of PM Productions Entertainment Inc., which is based in Florida and owned and operated by Mullen.
Mullen has produced educational animal shows since 1990. Though he’s been working with wild animals for more than two decades, he said the job can be unpredictable.
“You know these are big animals,” he said. “We get our bumps and bruises, but that just comes with the job. We put a lot of work into making sure the animals are safe and to make sure we’re safe.”
Beyond the training, Mullen said his mission is to make sure audience members leave his shows with a new appreciation for animals and their habitats.
The show will continue today and Friday with performances at 7 and 8:30 p.m. On Saturday, shows begin at 3:30, 5 and 8 p.m.
The North Texas Fair and Rodeo is located at the North Texas Fairgrounds, 2217 N. Carroll Blvd.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.