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'Playful Pets' facility keeps kids happy at Lone Tree Library

Playscape encourages imaginative activities for the younger set

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Friends Nora Klingel and Maddi Bowman had serious business at the Lone Tree Library recently. They brought their stuffed friends for a veterinary check-up, including X-rays, shots, looking into their throats and ears, and administering Band-Aids to all four paws. After spending the morning performing the examinations themselves, the 3-year-old best friends deemed their pets healed and happy.

Nora and Maddi were just two of hundreds of children who have taken advantage of the new Playful Pets playscape at Lone Tree library. The play area includes a veterinary-style pet care station, where aspiring veterinarians can don lab coats and perform tests using play devices and equipment.

Maddi's mom, Laura Bowman, said they have a chocolate Lab at home, and her daughter loves dogs.

“We've been to story times at the library, we actually come here a lot,” she said. “When we found out about this new feature I knew it would be fun for the girls.”

Julie Klingel, Nora's mom, said they brought Nora's puppy specifically so she could give it a check-up.

“They love it. And it's so nice to have something like this where they can come and play. And it's free,” said Klingel.

After securing their animal's health, young library patrons can clean their pets up at the Animal Grooming spa, where they can bathe, brush and dry their animals with toy tools provided.

While the playscape offers fun times for little learners, according to Lone Tree Library Branch Manager Susan Byrne, playing is an important part of learning.

“The kids are having a blast with our new Playful Pets playscape,” said Byrne. “The best part is, they're learning while they're playing.”

Studies show that children develop important social and emotional skills through interactive play. The new playscape provides the library's youngest patrons with innovative, playful spaces where they can interact with each other and library materials as they play and learn, according to Byrne.

“This is a nice alternative to some of the museums downtown, and it's close to home,” said Bowman.

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