THE year of the snake inspired children’s Chinese New Year celebrations at nurseries across the town.

Youngsters from The Co-operative Childcare in Walcot and Busy Bees in St Andrew’s Ridge took part in festivities yesterday to mark the event.

About 25 children from The Co-operative Childcare were treated to a visit from ZooLab, which included the chance to get up close to a snake, rats, a spider, a bearded dragon, a cockroach, creepy crawlies and African land snails.

Deputy manager at the nursery in Walcot, Gemma Hillcoat, said: “The children have really enjoyed it. It was hands on so they could stroke them and feel the different textures and learn all about them and how they eat and move. The snake was the main attraction because it is the year of the snake.

“We embrace diversity at the Co-operative and celebrate many festivals including Diwali and Chinese New Year to incorporate different cultures so they are aware of the world around them. It was a really lovely event and they all enjoyed taking part.”

The children and about 10 parents were told about the 12 year cycle of the animal zodiac as part of the hour-long event.

They also had a Chinese lunch to continue their celebrations.

Chinese New Year took place on Sunday and celebrations were held across the town.

About 45 youngsters from Busy Bees made Chinese lanterns, a snake made of paper plates and Chinese flags.

Assistant manager, Laurissa Hyner-Anderson, said: “We have had a great time. It is important for the children to learn about different cultural celebrations around the world. We teach the children about different religions and beliefs.

“We have children in the nursery whose cultural background is Chinese so the event is supporting their needs too.”

They also had noodles with sweet and sour vegetables for lunch.