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Children blend history and art at MuZooUm Trot Camp

By Camille Doty
Aug. 9, 2012 at 3:09 a.m.

Rocket the horse visited the Nave Museum on Thursday morning to help children learn the basics of horsemanship.

Mark your calendar

MuZooUm exhibit opens Aug. 23.

The serene, blue sky complemented the Nave Museum like a perfect still photo Thursday morning.

Beneath the trees, budding artisans began to sketch and paint their surroundings.

One quarter horse caught Marco Di Leo's attention.

The 10-year-old Patti Welder Magnet Middle School student wanted to capture the essence of 6-year-old Rocket.

"I never thought about what I was doing when I was making art, but now I want to put more detail into my work," Marco said.

The newly inspired artist was one of 14 children to experience nature creatively during the first MuZooUm Trot Camp, which was Tuesday through Thursday at the Museum of the Coastal Bend, the Texas Zoo and Nave Museum.

Each day centered on a theme, from learning about Native Americans, cowboys, and Texas habitats, to constructing original art pieces.

The three-day camp exposed the children to three different venues while learning Texas history, said Texas Zoo Executive Director Amanda Rocha.

Kate Garcia brought her beloved horse Rocket to town to give the students a history and safety lesson. The children later painted a portion of the 1,000-pound horse on their 12-inch canvas, which will later be displayed as part of an exhibit.

Garcia said the exercise gave the kids the opportunity to flex their artistic muscle.

"Everyone sees things differently," she said.

Andre Belange, 10, enjoyed learning about cowboys because he was fascinated by their rugged lifestyle.

When asked what his favorite part about camp was, he responded, "Everything."

McKayla Goodman had a soft spot for hard-shelled creatures. "We got to pet the baby turtle, it's like the size of a quarter right now," she said.

The 9-year-old Mission Valley Elementary School student said she learned reptiles do not have live babies.

Orlando Di Leo, Marco's brother, said he liked channeling his inner-artistic side and paint. Having fun with his older sibling was a bonus.

Marco made keen observations and proceeded to ask Garcia about Rocket's size and color. He wanted to go home and tell his family what he learned.

"All this stuff is new to me," Marco said.

Intrigued, Marco wanted to take full advantage of being so close to this four-legged animal. "You don't get see a horse in the city of Victoria everyday," he said.

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