2011-10-07 / Community

Halloween at the zoo

Kids can trick-or-treat with exotic animals at Moorpark College
By Darleen Principe


WHAT’S EMU WITH YOU?— Meg Marshall, left, and Danielle Swopes, students in the Moorpark College Exotic Animal Training and Management Program, introduce Julietta the Emu at last year’s Boo at the Zoo event at America’s Teaching Zoo. The two-day event on Oct. 29 and 30 will have carnival games, trick-or-treating with the animals, encounters with creepy crawlers, raffles, prizes and animal shows. 
WENDY PIERRO/Acorn Newspapers WHAT’S EMU WITH YOU?— Meg Marshall, left, and Danielle Swopes, students in the Moorpark College Exotic Animal Training and Management Program, introduce Julietta the Emu at last year’s Boo at the Zoo event at America’s Teaching Zoo. The two-day event on Oct. 29 and 30 will have carnival games, trick-or-treating with the animals, encounters with creepy crawlers, raffles, prizes and animal shows. WENDY PIERRO/Acorn Newspapers Here come the creepycrawlies!

In celebration of Halloween, America’s Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College will host its annual “Boo at the Zoo” event and fundraiser on Oct. 29 and 30.

The event, organized by firstyear students in the college’s Exotic Animal Training and Management program, will benefit about 150 different animals that live at the teaching zoo.

“It’s our chance to do a little bit more than just our regular weekend shows,” said Tami Ware, EATM student and one of the event organizers. “It’s also a chance for us to raise money and get the community involved in helping support the animals.”

The Halloween-themed event will feature holiday activities for kids of all ages, including trick-or-treating, carnival games, face-painting and a bake sale.

“ We’ll have four animal shows throughout each day,” Ware said. “And for the Halloween theme, we’ll bring out at least one creepy-crawly—like a snake, a tarantula, cockroaches or a scorpion—for each show.”

Student emcees and animal handlers come out each hour, from noon to 3 p.m., to let the community get up close with some of the zoo’s exotic animals.

“We have a lion, a hyena, donkeys, birds, a Galapagos tortoise and tons of primates— baboons, gibbons and spider monkeys,” Ware said. “ You never know who you’ll get to meet because our show lineups change all the time.”

Children attending the event are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes. They’ll also have the opportunity to play “dress up” and try on EATM student uniforms, Ware said.

Trick- or- treating stations, where children can pick up candy and other treats, will be set up throughout the zoo.

Moorpark College’s EATM program, established in 1974, is the only college program in the United States that combines animal science with wildlife management and training studies.

Proceeds from the Halloween event help to feed the zoo’s animals, maintain facilities, and purchase supplies, Ware said.

America’s Teaching Zoo is open to the public every weekend from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission for “Boo at the Zoo” is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and children, and free for kids 2 and under.

The zoo is at 7075 Campus Road, inside Moorpark College.

For more information, call (805) 378-1441.

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