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March 25, 2014 > It's feeding time!

It's feeding time!

By Mauricio Segura

Few things compare to the fun of walking through a zoo on a nice sunny day. The sights, sounds, and smells are unlike anything you could experience anywhere else, and each visit leaves lasting impressions on both young and old alike. In a single day you can be transported to the wild African Savannah, Australian Outback, the ice-dominated Arctic, and Florida Everglades, seeing native animals and learning about their particular habitats.

The Oakland Zoo has special programs throughout the year to take those experiences up a notch, and on Saturday, March 29, they will host their bi-annual ÒFeasts for the Beasts.Ó This wonderful event is a chance for the public to bring fresh produce for the animals that will be fed to them throughout the day. As the zoo's Senior Manager Nicky Mora states, ÒThis not only gives the public a chance to donate some food for the animals, but the food they bring is also a treat for them. In many cases, people bring food that the animals do not normally get on a daily basis, and so to them, it's like getting candy.Ó

So what can you bring? Any type of produce and fruit like melons, carrots, bananas, grapes, kiwi, apples, cabbage, lettuce, stalks of celery, pineapple, and more. Mora continues, ÒThe animal handlers know what each animal likes, so they will distribute whatever is brought to the animals they know will enjoy it the most.Ó With over 660 native and exotic animals within the park, you can rest assured that none of the food will go to waste.

Feeding times will be ongoing throughout the day to allow everyone a chance to get to each exhibit and witness the animals enjoy themselves, munching away on their Òcandy.Ó However, the biggest draw happens when the gates open, as the first 250 guests will each receive a golden ticket entitling them to actually enter the elephant enclosure (minus the elephants, of course) and spread food for them. ÒIt's kind of like an elephant Easter egg hunt,Ó says Sherri Tabura, who has participated in two previous ÒFeasts for the BeastsÓ events. After the guests have spread the fruit and veggies throughout the enclosure and are safely out, the elephants are led in to the treat feast. ÒIt is the cutest thing to watch the elephants walk around discovering all these treats everywhere,Ó continues Tabura. ÒThey create the best photo ops as well!Ó

Coinciding with ÒFeasts for the BeastsÓ will be the grand opening of a new exhibit, ÒAnimales de los Arboles,Ó meaning animals of the trees. The new exhibit features coatis, a new species at the zoo, and cotton-top tamarins, which are one of the most endangered animals in the world. This exhibit, as well as the ÒFeasts for the BeastsÓ event is included with regular zoo admission. And, those who bring produce for the animals will receive a free ride ticket.

Spend a day at the Oakland Zoo, bring some fresh produce for the animals, and create a wonderful day full of fun and memories.

Feast for the Beasts
Saturday, Mar 29
9 a.m. Ð 3 p.m.
Oakland Zoo
9777 Golf Links Rd, Oakland
(510) 632-9525
Tickets: $15.75 adults, $11.75 children (2-14) and seniors (65+)
Children under age 2 and seniors 80+ are free
Parking: $8 per vehicle

Feeding Schedule for Saturday, Mar 29:
9:45 a.m.: Elephant Spread
10:15 a.m.: Elephant Spread
10:30 a.m.: Elephant Feeding
11:00 a.m.: Bat Feeding
11:30 a.m.: Giraffe Feeding
11:45 a.m.: Meerkat Feeding
12:15 p.m.: Baboon Feeding
12:45 p.m.: Tiger Feeding
1:15 p.m.: Otter Feeding
1:30 p.m.: Lemur Feeding
2:00 p.m.: Alligator Feeding
3:00 p.m.: Coati Feeding
3:30 p.m.: Sun Bear Feeding

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