Spring Spectacular attracts hundreds of visitors on opening days

Guests+filled+the+stands+at+one+of+the+zoo%27s+outdoor+theatres+for+a+performance+by+EATM%27s+2nd+year+students%2C+on+Saturday+March+16%2C+2019.+They+laughed+at+a+joke+told+by+Elias+Biaset%2C+one+of+the+students+in+the+performance.+Photo+credit%3A+Margot+Rowe
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Spring Spectacular attracts hundreds of visitors on opening days

Guests filled the stands at one of the zoo's outdoor theatres for a performance by EATM's 2nd year students, on Saturday March 16, 2019. They laughed at a joke told by Elias Biaset, one of the students in the performance. Photo credit: Margot Rowe

Guests filled the stands at one of the zoo's outdoor theatres for a performance by EATM's 2nd year students, on Saturday March 16, 2019. They laughed at a joke told by Elias Biaset, one of the students in the performance. Photo credit: Margot Rowe

Guests filled the stands at one of the zoo's outdoor theatres for a performance by EATM's 2nd year students, on Saturday March 16, 2019. They laughed at a joke told by Elias Biaset, one of the students in the performance. Photo credit: Margot Rowe

Guests filled the stands at one of the zoo's outdoor theatres for a performance by EATM's 2nd year students, on Saturday March 16, 2019. They laughed at a joke told by Elias Biaset, one of the students in the performance. Photo credit: Margot Rowe

By Margot Rowe

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This year’s Spring Spectacular, “Zootastic Beasts and How to Save Them,” drew over 350 guests at the biggest event of the year, held at America’s Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College. Guests were treated to some tasty food vendors, animal interactions, behind the scene tours, and endless activities.

“We have a huge crowd, enthusiastic guests, and perfect weather,” Mara Rodriguez, the Zoo-Operations Instructional Lab Technician, said. “The hard work has paid off. It’s always a good day when there’s happy kids around the zoo eating ice cream.”

One of the most popular attractions at the event were the “Creature Feature” presentations, where a variety of animals were brought from outside organizations and presented to the audience, ranging from an alligator, a golden eagle, ferrets, and even a camel. Organizations such as Wildlife Waystation sent representatives to the zoo to advocate for animals and help educate the public.

Charles Hollenbeck has been a volunteer for Wildlife Waystation for 24 years. He has worked and bonded with Hatari, a golden eagle, for the past 18 years.

“I’ve been doing this for many years, I love it,” said Hollenbeck. “It’s great to see the kids, maybe they’ll be inspired to help animals.”

Another popular event was the EATM student showcase, which follows the story line of two professors and their student who accidentally open a “zoocase” filled with magical creatures. The entire show was written and put on by EATM’s 2nd year students to showcase the hard work and bonds they have made with their animals in a fun performance.

“The directors have worked so hard and every animal trainer has worked so hard with their animals, building that relationship with their animals and just having fun,” said Elias Blaset, 25, a second-year EATM student. “That’s been the biggest part of making this show come together, just everyone having fun.”

Guests, like 8-year-old Zemira Harris, loved it when some of the animals flew onto the stage, along with some scavenger hunt activities that extended the length of the zoo grounds. Interactive stations such as face painting, water balloon sling shots, and informational stations about certain animals were also organized for guests.

“This weekend has been a huge success and the crowds have thoroughly enjoyed the event,” said Rodriguez. “So I want our community to know that they get one more chance to see the zoo at its best.”

The zoo’s “Spring Spectacular” continues on March 23 and 24 with gates opening at 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. For further information about shows and pricing visit Moorpark College’s website for more information or catch future events on Facebook.

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