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Teaching Zoo gets festive with decorations and holiday-themed music

Children+enjoy+the+snow+play+zone+at+the+Moorpark+College+Zoo+during+its+2011+Arctic+Lights+Event.+This+year%27s+event+will+include+12+tons+of+snow+to+decorate+the+zoo.+Photo+credit%3A+Jeffrey+Farrar
Children enjoy the snow play zone at the Moorpark College Zoo during its 2011 Arctic Lights Event. This year's event will include 12 tons of snow to decorate the zoo. Photo credit: Jeffrey Farrar

Children enjoy the snow play zone at the Moorpark College Zoo during its 2011 Arctic Lights Event. This year's event will include 12 tons of snow to decorate the zoo. Photo credit: Jeffrey Farrar

Children enjoy the snow play zone at the Moorpark College Zoo during its 2011 Arctic Lights Event. This year's event will include 12 tons of snow to decorate the zoo. Photo credit: Jeffrey Farrar

Mary Altshuller

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Cold scenes, pretty lights, snow and hot chocolate will greet visitors at this year’s Arctic Lights event at America’s Teaching Zoo. It’s a chance for kids to play in the snow in Southern California as well as play games and create crafts.

Festive holiday decorations will greet visitors to the zoo Saturday, Dec. 16 and Sunday, Dec. 17 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and holiday-themed music will be played over loudspeakers throughout the zoo. There will be snow at the Eye-to-Eye Theater for the kids to build snowmen and little hills they make that they can slide down. Twelve tons of snow will be brought in and blown within 45 minutes.

Mara Rodgriguez, Instructional Tech for the Teaching Zoo, said it’s really fun to watch kids when they see the snow, especially the ones who have never seen snow before.

“The kids show up dressed in their winter wardrobes, and they try to build small hills that they can slide down,” said Rodriguez. “While they’re playing in the snow, there will be coffee and hot cocoa for the adults to enjoy.”

As always, there will be student-produced merchandise on sale, games will be winter-themed, and winter crafts will include making photo frames. This year they’re hoping to bring in some carolers.

Exotic Animal and Training Management (EATM) program student Taysia Schaffer, 28, second-year student, says she enjoys Arctic Lights.

“We see lots of kids and families come in. There are games for kids to play and they can make animal snowmen,” said Schaffer.

“We’re putting a winter holiday spin on the animal shows,” said Rodriguez. “And there will be more decorations for Arctic Lights than other events we host. There is a staff member who is very experienced with decorating but there will be the usual wood cut-outs as decorations.”

For this winter wonderland event, it’s a chance for folks to see the zoo dressed in festive decorations. Entry fees are $8 for adults, $6 for children 3-12, and free for ages 2 and under. For an extra $7 per person, guests can tour “Behind the Scenes” and interact with some of the animals. Tour groups are limited to 15 guests. Call 805-378-1441 for more information.

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