Illinois Vet Med Open House Sunday October 6

This weekend the state’s only veterinary college will open its doors to the public.

If your child loves animals or is thinking about becoming a veterinarian someday, this annual Champaign-Urbana STEM event is not to be missed!  The Vet Med open house will feature more than 40 exhibits, demonstrations and hands-on activities for all ages. The Open House is free and open to the public; registration is not required.

We’ve asked Vet Med student Bridget McGarry to give us the insider’s scoop on this popular family-friendly event!

Tell us a little about yourself:

I am a third year student from Rockford. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Animal Science from the University of Illinois. Growing up I always wanted to be veterinarian because it combines my love of animals with my desire to help those in my community. After graduation I hope to practice mixed animal medicine.  This means I would like to treat all kinds of animals from dogs and cats to horses, pigs and cows. I currently have a cat named Darcy who I adopted my first year of veterinary school. She never fails to make me smile… or tip over an unattended glass of water.

VetMed Open House- 050

Don’t miss the Vet Med Open House this Sunday, Oct. 6th!

Anything families should look for at the Open House?

Open House is made for families! We have lots of great exhibits, many of which have ‘hands on’ opportunities perfect for kids. Plenty of booths will have animals present for visitors to see (and even pet) including dogs, horses, cows, reptiles, birds, pigs and sheep! We will also be hosting numerous demonstrations throughout the day.

My child loves animals and thinks he wants to be a veterinarian. Any advice or resources you recommend for my child? 

One of the goals of open house is to encourage the future of our profession. We love to hear and talk to interested students of any age! For those who are older and seriously pursuing the career, we will be hosting two admissions talks (11 a.m. and 2 p.m.) that will review requirements and advice for the application process. Those aspiring vets who are younger and a bit further away from college should try our Veterinary Pursuit scavenger hunt! This is a guided trip through the case of ‘Charlie,’ a sick horse where kids get to ‘be the vet’ and try and solve the case. The hunt starts at the Kid’s tent.

In general my advice would be to get out there an try as many different things with animals as you can. Maybe you can volunteer at a shelter, get a summer job, or ask your own vet if you could shadow them (when you are old enough)! Also remember that there are a lot more jobs that veterinarians due beyond treating dogs and cats. They can work on ANY type of animal on the planet (except humans, of course). They have jobs in the government, research, food safety, animal welfare, and much more.

What is your favorite exhibit at the Open House?

Now that’s a hard one because I know all the hard work the students put into their booths. It wouldn’t be fair for me to choose just one!

My family has little ones so we might be limited to just an hour (or two!) at the Open House.  How should we allot our time? 

If visitors were looking to hit the highlights I would definitely make time to see all the great animals at the Herpetology booth and the birds at the Avian booth. In the Large Animal clinic there will be horses, pigs, cows and sheep. We will have cow milking and the fistulated cow again this year, both of which are always crowd favorites. The lines at these demonstrations can get kind of long, so maybe only choose to wait in one so that you have still time to stop by the kids tent. Here we have lots of great activities including games and face painting. Finally, on your way out make sure to stop by the rehab booth and watch the dogs run on the underwater treadmill!

For those looking to make a day of it, there is food available for purchase on site. One of the places offering lunch includes the student run Production Medicine club. The profits help the students fund learning opportunities. Though there will be many animals there for visitors to see and interact with, we ask that they leave all their own pets at home.

What:  Vet Med Open House

When:  Sunday, October 6, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: The College of Veterinary Medicine, 2001 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana.  Parking in the Vet Med lot is free.

For a full description of events and demonstrations during the open house, visit the Vet Med Open House website.

Thank you Bridget for answering our questions about the Vet Med Open House! 

Have you been to the Vet Med Open House before?  What is your must-see exhibit at the event? 


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