CHILDREN were wide-eyed with wonder when exotic creatures from all corners of the globe descended on a Darlington nursery school.

Giant snails and cockroaches from Africa, an owl from Asia, and a tortoise and toad from South America were among the guests at Elm Ridge Methodist Church Pre-School.

While getting hands on and up close with the creatures, children heard about their habits and habitats during a visit from Teesside-based Animal Story.

Loading article content

Pre-school manager Sue Walker said: “It was a great experience for the children and they had a fantastic time.

“It can also help children overcome any initial fears of animals they may have.”

The pre-school has been running for more than 25 years in the grounds of Elm Ridge Methodist Church, a Victorian former Pease family home on Carmel Road.

It runs during term time from Monday to Friday between 9.15am and 12.15pm, with places for children aged two to four.