youngsters from South Tyneside have been getting up close and personal with a collection of creatures after winning a competition.
From meeting tortoises to touching tarantulas, 40 children enjoyed a fun-filled afternoon as part of the Make Tracks this Spring campaign.
The scheme, organised by Schools Go Smarter, saw youngsters attempt to spot creepy-crawlies as they walked, cycled, or rode to school.
Children who registered for a free sticker pack were entered into the competition, with the winners getting to enjoy the animals brought along by Seaham’s Scales ‘N’ Tails team.
More than 15 little critters were featured on the stickers, and the fortunate youngsters got the chance to meet some of the animals they had been trying to spot, as well as some more exotic ones.
Laura Shorthouse, of South Shields, took along her daughter Leyla, five, and nephews Riley, four, and Lennon, two, to the event at the Parks Sport Centre in North Shields.
She said: “We’ve had a really good day out.
“The children have had a lot of fun holding, touching and learning about the animals and insects.
“Getting in the car might be the easy option, but it’s not as much fun as walking.
“On the first day back from the Easter holidays, we have decided we are going to walk to school and see if we can spot any of the creatures we saw today.”
The idea of Make Tracks This Spring is to reduce congestion on the region’s already-busy roads by encouraging people to leave their cars at home.
With the help of a free sticker pack, the campaign asked parents to leave the car at home and turn the school run into an adventure for their children by helping them to look out for urban wildlife.
Go Smarter is being delivered on behalf of the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority, a partnership between five local authorities, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland and Nexus.
To find out more about Make Tracks This Spring, go to www.gosmarter.co.uk