Christmas at the Zoo 2012

Most of you that read my Frugal Friday posts already know that Irvine Regional Park in Orange is a favorite place for my family. There are so many things to do that even the most rambunctious 4-year–old (like mine) could never get bored, and this holiday season, the park has some wonderful family offerings. The OC Zoo within the park is one such place. My family had the pleasure of attending a media preview tour for the Zoo’s special Christmas event “Christmas at the Zoo”, happening this Saturday, December 8th.

The zoo, always a cute and charming place, is beautifully decorated with snowflakes, ornaments, Christmas trees, and of course, presents- it makes for a warm and welcoming family excursion. The event brings Christmas and the holiday spirit right into the heart of the zoo. During this special event, the animals will receive treats and goodies hidden inside Christmas trees and gift boxes. There will be many activities for the day – kids (and adults) can visit with Santa, hear stories from Mrs. Claus, do some crafts, and get their faces painted. All activities within the zoo for this special event are included with Zoo admission.

For the preview, we were given a quick tour to see the zoo’s holiday décor and the festive animal habitats. Most of the enclosures include a goody box for the inhabitants. It was raining, but that didn’t stop the animals from enjoying their gifts. The bears and mountain lions each received wrapped boxes containing edible snacks and playthings. After witnessing the animals “open” (literally ripping and tearing with teeth and claws) the presents (similarly to a 4-year-old, I might add), I think I have a better understanding of how they take down prey. The kids were cheering as the animals tore off the wrapping paper and into the cardboard to get the tasty goodies. The aftermath resembled our living room floor on Christmas Day.

The animal keepers also presented a great deal of educational information about each animal that we stopped to see, as well as the background regarding how they came to be at the zoo. The kids got a quick visit with one of the zoo’s resident hedgehogs, and being able to touch the adorable little guy was the highlight of the afternoon for my son. Informational discussions, models, skeletal remains, educational materials, and visits with some of the animals (particularly the petting zoo) are all part of the zoo experience.

We enjoy the zoo regularly during the year as an easily-affordable educational expedition. They have so much to offer- story times, animal exhibits, toddler programs, and more. This Christmas event is a perfect opportunity for families (and everyone else) to see the animals get into the holiday spirit and spend some quality time with loved ones. After the zoo, more adventures within the park await.

More information about the zoo and zoo programs can be found on the Orange County Parks website and OC Parks facebook page. Short videos about the zoo and the 2012 Christmas event are available on OC Park’s YouTube channel.


Christmas at the Zoo Event Information

The OC Zoo “Christmas at the Zoo” special event is this Saturday, December 8th, from 10am to 4pm at Irvine Regional Park in Orange, 1 Irvine Park Rd., Orange, CA, 92869. For more information, visit their website at or call (714) 973-6846.

All activities within the zoo are included in zoo admission ($2.00; ages 2 and under free). Entry fee into Irvine Park this day is $5.00 per vehicle.

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