FANTASIA’S BIG BON VOYAGE PARTY

FANTASIA’S BIG BON VOYAGE PARTY

FANTASIA’S BIG BON VOYAGE PARTY

Brooklyn Children's Museum; 145 Brooklyn Avenue; Brooklyn, NY 11213

February 9th (2:30-4:45pm) - Fantasia’s Big Bon Voyage Party. Friends and fans are encouraged to visit through February 9th to wish Fantasia well and add “Fan” mail to her good-bye celebration.

Fantasia, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s (BCM) beloved Burmese python, is getting older. As the centerpiece of the Museum’s Live Animal Collection for fifteen years, Fantasia has entranced visitors with her majesty and beauty. Alongside the other 55 species in our Live Animal Collection, including Kirby the Bearded Dragon, Iggy the Green Iguana, and R2D2 the 60 year old Eastern Box Turtle, Fantasia has taught children of Brooklyn about invasive species and habitat conservation. Her presence has highlighted BCM’s role in the forefront of hands-on science education.

A much smaller Fantasia arrived at the Museum in 1998. Burmese pythons live to be about 15-20 years old in the wild and can live 20-25 years in captivity. Fantasia is now 20 years old and 23 feet long. For this next phase of her life, she needs more space and ongoing veterinary care. BCM is pleased to announce that, through a long term loan partnership, the Staten Island Zoo—one of the most respected institutions in the country in the field of reptile care and husbandry—has offered to provide Fantasia with a new home. Fantasia will become an important part of their herpetology collection, where she will live in a large, warm enclosure and receive the best veterinary care.

“We believe this partnership with a fellow City cultural institution will provide the ideal setting for Fantasia. Keeping her in New York City was a priority and we look forward to deepening our collaboration with the SI Zoo as Fantasia continues to attract Brooklyn visitors as well as new fans. In the coming months we will work with the Zoo to identify a new animal for our Collection that will excite and educate children just as Fantasia has done.”– Mindy Duitz – Interim President/CEO Brooklyn Children’s Museum.

“The acquisition of Fantasia is an exciting event for the Staten Island Zoo. At 23 feet long and approaching 300 pounds, she is arguably the largest snake in New York City, with an impressive fan club, and perhaps the most photographed, judging by her presence on popular social media sites. We are preparing an exhibit space that is larger than her present enclosure at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, with an environment that includes a pool where she can immerse her whole body,” explained Kenneth C. Mitchell, the Staten Island Zoo’s executive director. “We’re equally enthusiastic about the collaboration potential between our institutions, sharing our dedication to education, and more particularly, conservation education,” he added.

Beyond Brooklyn

Big Pond is a 310 acre great pond located in East Otis, Massachusetts, that offers swimming and boating, as well as trout and bass fishing and relaxation! ©Mark D Phillips

The morning broke with a fiery radiance our first morning on Big Pond. The red skies were followed by a bank of fog rising from the water. As a kayaker appeared, the glassy water reflected the solitary paddler.

What an introduction to a week away from the bustle of New York City!

Maya Angelou, who died May 28, 2014, at SportsBall 2006, the annual award extravaganza of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health held in New York City where she was presented with the "Courage to Care" Award. ©Mark D Phillips

In 2006, I had the honor and priviledge to meet and photograph Maya Angelou during the 2006 Sports Ball extravaganza of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health.