Dubbed as a “Merry not Scary” celebration, Friends of Santa Ana Zoo’s 25th annual “Boo at the Zoo” saw record attendance its first night!
“Boo at the Zoo” is one of Orange County’s longest-running Halloween events, providing a fun, safe, and family-friendly event for trick-or-treaters and children of all ages who love to wear costumes and embrace the Halloween spirit.
The Friends of Santa Ana Zoo (FOSAZ) and B.P.O. Elks Santa Ana Lodge #794 are sponsoring the event this year. Saturday night’s opening saw a line at the entrance before 5:30 p.m., along with unprecedented online sign ups.
“Our typical first night crowd has been around 500. If I was to “guestimate” the size of tonight’s crowd, it would be in the 850-900 people range,” Operations Director Kevin Jackson said. Cathi Decker, FOSAZ Executive Director, was also delighted by the numbers. “We had 1,000 online sign ups, and half that number showed up tonight. It’s a wonderful start to this community event.”
Held from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the event features a “Trick or Treat” Trail with candy and little gifts given at each station, Dr. Sue’s Bug Hut with all types of local and exotic creepy crawly critters, and a Storytelling Stage centered around the creatures and animals featured at the Zoo.
The exciting “Boofari” Express Train and Conservation Carousel rides are especially crafted to entertain the little ones throughout the evening, and some great photo opportunities are provided, including one with a live Boa Constrictor! There are also sing-a-longs, visits with the Zoo’s nocturnal animals (including the monkeys), and a nightly costume parade led by SAZOO, the Zoo’s monkey mascot.
For the over 12 set, there is a “Teen Scream” Haunted House, offering more thrills and chills to their night!
Other “Boo at the Zoo” highlights include:
- Fun and Games
- Hot Dogs & Chips for sale by Tustin-Santa Ana Rotary, Zoo Docents, and Knowlwood (cash only)
- Free Parking
Boo at the Zoo continues today (Sunday, October 18) at 5:30 p.m., and next weekend, Saturday and Sunday October 24-25. The final night of events will be Friday, October 30. Prices for “Boo at the Zoo” are $8.95 for FOSAZ members (half the price), and $16.95 for non-members. Children under 2 enter for FREE. Advance admissions can be purchased online ONLY on the Santa Ana Zoo website until Friday, October 23 at 5:00 p.m. Visit the website for details on making an online purchase.
Purchasing online offers several benefits, including early admission at the gate. Online purchasers get to enter at the Will Call Table approximately a half an hour prior to everyone else. All admissions purchased online are good for the remaining nights of the Fest! You are not locked into a specific date of purchase.
Admission is also available the day of the event at the front gate starting at 5:30 p.m., but with the huge crowd on the first night, spaces look to fill up fast—so purchasing online is strongly encouraged!
The Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park is located at 1801 Chestnut Avenue, Santa Ana, California, 92701, and is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Visit the website for more information on the Zoo, and FOSAZ’s events and efforts to facilitate philanthropic support, and to promote awareness of the Zoo’s educational programs and conservation efforts.
You can also follow the Santa Ana Zoo on Twitter and the Zoo’s Facebook page.