REED CITY — Students in Pam Bloom’s class at GT Norman Elementary School waited patiently over Christmas break for their class gift. To their surprise, they were in for a wild adventure.

Bloom said she wanted a gift that “would leave a lasting memory. Something that these kids could experience that they may not otherwise be exposed to.” With that in mind, she invited Kirk Elya and Claudia Herrmann from the Whispering Pine Mobile Zoo to bring a few of their exotic animals for the class to see up close.

Herrmann gave the class interesting facts about each animal as Elya walked around the room, allowing each student to pet them. Everyone enjoyed being able to see the animals, including a hairy armadillo, a pygmy hedgehog, a sugar glider and a fennec fox. Some of the animals, such as a legless lizard, alligator and California king snake were interesting to see, but a little more intimidating to pet. The class favorite was Dobby, the 5-month-old vervet monkey. Dobby, who seemed to love feet and legs, entertained everyone with his bouncy and curious behavior. The smiles throughout the room were evidence that Bloom’s gift, while very educational, also provided a great deal of fun for her class.