Chautauqua Exhibits a Delightful Excursion

January 28, 2009

Lori and lion cub.
Lori Ceier with lion cub.

Florida Chautauqua Assembly: A Journey into Africa in DeFuniak Springs Jan. 29-31

The Chautauqua Assembly in DeFuniak Springs is a four-day, conference-style event featuring keynote speakers, performances, special events, and day sessions. With a variety of subjects, it is a must for anyone interested in an educational experience.

I took in the exhibits at the Walton County Fairgrounds and was delighted to find a wide array of wildlife exhibits as well as the free-standing displays about Africa created by Walton County students.

The wildlife exhibitors include Brian Staples and his son, who are working with Jim Fowler from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom fame. I had the unique opportunity to interact with a female lion cub under their supervision. Fortunately for me, she was most interested in getting a good belly rub.

Brian and his son were most gracious in allowing me this opportunity.

Chautauqua Assembly Exhibits in DeFuniak Springs from Walton Outdoors on Vimeo.

Also hosting a display was master falconer Dr. Robert Gordon of Winged Ambassadors. Dr. Gordon had a great horned owl, a screech owl, and two hawks in his entourage.

The Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge shared the stories of some of their permanent residents from the refuge, including a barred owl, and a fox.

There are several other animals on display, including monkeys, kangaroos, parrots, and several barnyard friends as well.

There is much to experience at the Assembly. Something for everyone as there is much to offer during this conference. For me today, it was hearing the happy mumblings of a young lioness!

For more information about the Chautauqua Assembly go to:

The Chautauqua Assembly wildlife exhibits and student displays are at the Walton County Fairgrounds. Hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. through Sunday.

From Hwy. 90 in DeFuniak Springs, take SR 83 north about 1/2 mile. Fairgrounds will be on the right.

    1. Looks like you are truly experiencing life at it’s best. Way to go.

    1. Thanks, Lori, for attending and supporting the most incredible Journey DeFuniak Sprngs has ever taken. Hope you and others will make it back this weekend for the Martin & Osa Johnson Safari Museum, Naomi Tutu’s presentation (Desmond Tutu’s daughter) and the N.W. Florida Symphony Orchestra Chamber Concert. We appreciate all you have done to help promote this great event! Great video!

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