LINCOLN SQUARE — If you've ever wanted to play Dr. Doolittle with a cheetah, here's your virtual chance.
The Smithsonian's mobile exhibit, "Animal Connections" — custom-built and housed in an expandable 18-wheeler — will roll into Welles Park this weekend.
The centerpiece of the exhibit is a virtual "Make Your Diagnosis" clinic that allows visitors to step into a veterinarian's shoes. Through a series of touch screens, users can examine and diagnose "patients" that range from a dog to a piglet to a cheetah.
Interactive displays, video screens and hands-on activities take visitors through a variety of features, including "Find Your Dream Pet" and a behind-the-scenes look at the way the National Zoo encourages natural behaviors in animals.
Created in part to inspire the next generation of veterinarians, "Animal Connections" explores the bond between humans and animals — from the pets we love to the wild creatures that leave us in awe — and our shared well-being. The exhibit is divided into five sections: animals in the home, on the farm, at the zoo, in the wild and at the veterinary clinic.
Just be careful when you ask the big cat to open its mouth and say "ah."
Animal Connections runs July 27-28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ar Welles Park, 2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.