Patty Greibrok starts the show by dancing with the kids. -- Quinn Andersen
Patty Greibrok starts the show by dancing with the kids. -- Quinn Andersen/Albert Lea Tribune

Archived Story

It’s a zoo at the library

Published 11:00am Friday, July 26, 2013

Animal handler delights children

Children laughed and cheered throughout a show featuring animals Thursday at the Albert Lea Public Library.

The Zoo Man walks around to let everyone touch a corn snake Thursday at the Albert Lea Public Library. -- Quinn Andersen
The Zoo Man walks around to let everyone touch a corn snake Thursday at the Albert Lea Public Library. — Quinn Andersen/Albert Lea Tribune

The Zoo Man was the final show in this year’s summer reading program at the Albert Lea Public Library.

“We had a great program, and a great summer,” said children services librarian Patty Greibrok. “We look forward to next year.”

The Zoo Man, also known as Brent Meilke, has been coming to the Albert Lea Public Library for 27 years. He prefers to go by Zoo Man.

The theme for the summer reading program was “Dig Into Reading” and the Zoo Man said that he did his best to bring animals that fit with the theme.

Children are excited to hear the Zoo Man introduce the first animal during a special program at the Albert Lea Public Library on Thursday. -- Quinn Andersen/Albert Lea Tribune
Children are excited to hear the Zoo Man introduce the first animal during a special program at the Albert Lea Public Library on Thursday. –
Quinn Andersen/Albert Lea Tribune

“I never know what animal I’m going to bring,” the Zoo Man said. “It all depends on feeding and shedding schedules.”

This year he brought a 7-month-old savannah monitor, an albino corn snake, a royal python and a chinchilla.

“I like animals, and I like kids,” said Zoo Man. “It keeps me young.”

When he isn’t on the road, he runs three different health clubs and is a professional bodybuilder and powerlifter.

A child poses with a royal python after the show. -- Quinn Andersen/Albert Lea Tribune
A child poses with a royal python after the show. — Quinn Andersen/Albert Lea Tribune

Greibrok started off the show by coming out in a turtle costume and having children come dance with her.

The Zoo Man brought out the savannah monitor first. Then he showed the chinchilla, known as the world’s softest animal, according to the Zoo Man. Next he brought out the corn snake and showed some lovely young ladies how to wear him as a necklace. Finally he showed the children the royal python and wrapped him around children’s necks so that the python could give them a hug.

The Zoo Man has traveled to 47 states and Canada to do shows for the last 30 years. He owns Prairie Winds Zoo in Sleepy Eye but is mostly on the road doing Zoo Man shows.