Spring Spectacular will conjure up some fun at EATM

Nicholas%2C+a+mini-horse%2C+and+his+trainer+Charlotte+Trapman+Brown+practice+for+a+show+that+will+be+performed+at+the+Spring+Spectacular.
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Spring Spectacular will conjure up some fun at EATM

Nicholas, a mini-horse, and his trainer Charlotte Trapman Brown practice for a show that will be performed at the Spring Spectacular.

Nicholas, a mini-horse, and his trainer Charlotte Trapman Brown practice for a show that will be performed at the Spring Spectacular.

Ciara Gallagher

Nicholas, a mini-horse, and his trainer Charlotte Trapman Brown practice for a show that will be performed at the Spring Spectacular.

Ciara Gallagher

Ciara Gallagher

Nicholas, a mini-horse, and his trainer Charlotte Trapman Brown practice for a show that will be performed at the Spring Spectacular.

By Radu Puchiu, Staff writer

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America’s Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College is preparing to launch the 24th annual Spring Spectacular over three consecutive weekends starting on March 22.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. attendees at the zoo can visit animal enclosures, participate in games and watch animal shows, headlined by “Abracatastrophe.” In Abracatastrophe, the trainers are playing students at a magic school where they are competing for a magic hat with the help of their animals.

The event attracts younger audiences, but is enjoyable for any age, according to Department Chair Brenda Woodhouse.

“We’re looking at [targeting] elementary children and their families,” Woodhouse said. “[But] we are hoping that there is something for everyone.”

The EATM program puts on the Spring Spectacular every year towards the end of the spring semester, as a final project for its students. The second-year trainers are in charge of training and preparing the animals, while the first-year students manage the event.

First year students are assigned to different committees that help bring the event together by managing all the parts and pieces so the performance runs smoothly. Every student runs their own particular committee and prepares individually, until shortly before the performance when everything comes together harmoniously.

“We kind of have this routine that we do,” Woodhouse said.

The shows will be put on by student trainers in two theaters while independent animal-related companies will present in the lecture hall, EATM 128. The companies include the Wildlife Waystation – a rescue and rehabilitation center for exotic animals, Saving Wildlife International – an outreach nonprofit company, and the Ventura County Sheriff’s K9 unit, among others. These people are eager to present for the EATM program, as many have graduated from the program.

In addition to being a good preparation for student trainers, the Spring Spectacular is the largest opportunity for EATM to raise funds.

Over the three weekends, Woodhouse approximated a usual turnout of about 5,000 people, although that number is subject to change drastically depending on the weather. However, some show up every year, rain or shine.

“We tend to have a faithful following that come year after year,” Woodhouse said.

The Spring Spectacular will take place March 22, 23, 29, 30 and April 5 and 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are 10 dollars for adults and seven dollars for kids ages 3-12 and are available at the zoo’s ticket office.

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