Wildlife expert and conservationist Peter Gros of "Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom" brings his exciting international experiences — and a company of animal co-stars — to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s James K. Polk Theater on Friday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m.

Tickets for this family friendly performance start at $15, and are on sale now at www.tpac.org, by phone at (615) 782-4040, and at the TPAC Box Office, 505 Deaderick Street, in downtown Nashville.

In his popular live presentations, Gros shares timeless tales from the animal world and highlights his many adventures with a mix of video clips (and bloopers). While introducing friendly exotic animals to audience members, Gros also tells inspirational stories dealing with issues of conservation, travel, and wildlife filming.

“This live show gives me a chance to reach young people and excite them about wildlife in the natural world,” Gros said, whose fascinating stories have thrilled and educated audiences for years. “The audience will get to meet wildlife closer than ever before, and hopefully they’ll leave with some optimism about all the progress we’re making in preserving wildlife in wild places. Ultimately, this is a show about hope.”

Among the animals that Gros could bring to TPAC are: Madagascar hissing roaches, a binturong (also called a pole cat), a legless lizard or glass snake, a large red-legged tarantula, a crested African porcupine, a large boa constrictor, an African monitor lizard, a Eurasian eagle owl, a black vulture, a kookaburra, a beaver, and a lemur.

More about Peter Gros

On "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" on Animal Planet, Peter Gros provides the link between the original series, where he served as co-host, and the new specials. This ensures that the new specials remain true to the heritage of the beloved original series. Gros was also featured in the "Cheetah: Race Against Time" Wild Kingdom special in 2005 and "Magnificent Moments" in 2007.

The original "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" series - a program honored with 41 major awards, including four Emmy Awards and an endorsement by the National PTA for television programming recommended for family viewing - was one of the best known and longest running series on nature and the animal world.

Gros is a frequent guest on LIVE with Regis and Kelly and the CBS Early Show. In addition, he has appeared on numerous talk shows, including the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Gros is also an active conservationist. He is intimately involved in a nationwide conservation education program conducted at the local community level. Gros' research expeditions have taken him to Lake Baikal in Siberia to explore the wonders of the world's largest, oldest and deepest lake, and to the Amazon Basin where he led an expedition of 39 six-graders from Zeeland, Michigan, to study the Peruvian rain forest. He has also studied the effects of ecotourism on wildlife in Venezuela, Costa Rica, Belize, Mexico and the Galapagos Islands. In addition, Gros has served as the U.S. representative on the Citizen Ambassador Program's research study of tigers and rhinos in the Chitwan National Forest in Nepal.

In his travels throughout the world, Gros and his animal friends help teach about the importance of caring for the world around us. Peter Gros has nearly 30 years of field experience with captive wildlife. In his former position as Director of Land Animals and vice president at Marine World/Africa USA, he established breeding programs for 377 endangered animals. He also developed a rehabilitation program for birds of prey, as well as the largest captive breeding colony of ostriches in the United States. He is a licensed Exhibition & Animal Educator for the U.S.D.A. and an active member of the American Zoo and Aquariums Association and Zoological Association of America. Gros is also on the Board of Directors of the Suisun Marsh Natural History Association. He is a frequent lecturer on conservation and preservation at universities, zoos and nature and science centers around the nation. Gros currently serves as president of the Green Valley Center for Wildlife Education.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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