Jersey City

Afternoon at the Museum: What Happens When There Are No Guests at Liberty Science Center

NBC Universal, Inc.

Humans aren't the only species missing seeing their friends and other people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Without any guests at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, the animals who live at the now empty museum are lonely too. That's where Nicole Conklin comes in. She's on the museum's animal husbandry team and goes to work every day to make sure animals like Bananas the macaw.

"This is my passion, so I don’t mind being considered an essential worker and coming here to care for our animals," Conklin tells NBC New York.

She feeds all the animals, from chinchillas to Cotton Top Tamarins, and makes sure the social butterflies among them get the attention they need from a human.

"Reptiles get salads today and our rats get salads today too," Conklin explains. Not only is she feeding the furry and not-so-furry creatures, but she also cleans their habitats and the animals too.

Corey the chinchilla needs extra help to take a bath because she has such dense fur, she's not supposed to get wet. "[Water] would mold her fur, so what she does and what she would do in the wild is take a dust bath," Conklin says.

Thanks to Conklin, Corey still gets to live her best life and gets cleaned up even though no else is allowed to visit her right now.

She would run Bananas around the room and give all the animals a little extra love and interaction.

"It provides them mental stimulation. It provides them physical stimulation so those are important because it keeps the animal physically and mentally healthy," she said.

The goal, of course, is to get eager learners back at the museum in person as soon as it’s safe for them to be here. But in the meantime, Conklin has got it covered, taking the wildlife through these unprecedented times.

Copyright NBC New York
Contact Us