Rowan Wild exhibit at Utzman-Chambers House provides close-up encounters with animals

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 8, 2021

SALISBURY — In search of something to do with her grandsons and nephew, Deb Smith brought them to the Utzman-Chambers House on Saturday morning.

Standing under a tent on the front lawn of the historic home, Jordan and Trey Luukinen, Smith’s grandsons, and Kristofer Corby, her nephew, were wowed by the variety of reptiles, amphibians and arachnids on display from Rowan Wild, a nature facility at Dan Nicholas Park.

The three boys didn’t just get to look at snakes, turtles and a bearded dragon, they got to pet them too. There were also skeletons and skulls of animals for them to examine, as well as fox and bear pelts.

“It held their interest and it was educational,” Smith said. “I think they really learned a lot getting to see the animals and skeletons.”

The animal exhibit was the latest in a series of summer events and concerts being held at the historic home, which is owned by Rowan Museum.

Misty Parrish, an educational specialist with Rowan Wild, was excited about the opportunity to educate young people on animals found in the wild.

“I feel like a lot of the public doesn’t get to see and feel and have this kind of experience with these animals,” Parrish said. “Being able to bring wild animals to them in a safe way and making it a little bit more accessible takes away some of the fear they may have and gets them curious. They may want to learn more about these animals, and in turn, if they learn more about it hopefully they want to protect them.”

In addition to getting acquainted with the animals, the three boys also got a tour of the home, which is the oldest house still standing within the original city limits of Salisbury. Bringing people to the house is one the main reason’s Rowan Museum is hosting the summer series.

“This is an attempt to bring people to the downtown area to learn about life in Rowan,” said Randy Lassiter, the event organizer.

The next Saturday morning event at the Utzman-Chambers House will be held Aug. 14 and will feature a presentation called “Extending Summer” from the Rowan County Agricultural Extension. Attendees will learn about herbs, nutrition and food preservation. The last Saturday event will be held on Aug. 21 and will give aspiring artists a chance to paint, draw or pastel under the guidance of representatives from Waterworks Art Gallery. Materials will be provided. All Saturday events are from 9-11 a.m.

A “Sunday Serenade” concert will be held today from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Utzman-Chambers House today.  The “Old Porch Rockers,” otherwise known as John Stafford and Archie Tucker, will be performing. The last Sunday concert will be “Cruisin’ On the Utzman-Chambers House Porch” performed by Andrew Hodges and Jeff Martinez on Aug. 22. Concert goers are invited to bring coolers, chairs and blankets and are encouraged to come early for a tour of the home.

About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at

email author More by Ben