Posts Tagged ‘Family Fun’

Discover a New Species of Birthday Parties!

by | August 5th, 2011

Hey parents! Your kid’s birthday’s coming up, isn’t it? You need to plan that party. But maybe you’re tired of the same old bounce castle and party game routine. Perhaps you’ve been trying to think of a new and unique way to help them celebrate their birthday this year. With the Oakland Zoo’s ZooMobile program, you can give your child a memorable birthday party that he or she will be talking about with their friends for a long time to come. After all, how often do you get to touch wild animals in your own home?!

Great Horned Owl

Accommodating a group of up to 25 people, the Oakland ZooMobile comes to your own home with several kid-size critters for a fun, educational experience that your child and his friends will love. Led by one of the Zoo’s experienced education specialists, this entertaining and informative program lasts a full 45 minutes. This allows plenty of time to see, touch and learn about four or five of our animals, such as hedgehogs, chinchillas, lizards, snakes and cool big bugs. There’s always an interesting mix of native and exotic species. As our School Programs Manager, Sarah, likes to say, “We try to bring you one fuzzy, one prickly, one scaly and one buggy.” Specific themes are also available. If you like, you can request an all-reptile presentation (Hooray for Herps), Creatures of the Night, Amazing Adaptations, or one that deals exclusively with the fascinating world of insects, such as walking sticks, millipedes and tarantulas (Invertebrate Invasion).

Bearded Dragon

With the kids seated in a circle, the animals are brought out one at a time. Here, in a comfortable home setting, the kids learn about the physical adaptations that make each of these animals successful, the kinds of things that they eat and various behaviors that they display. Everyone who’s interested will have the opportunity to touch each of them. There’s also plenty of time for the kids to ask any questions they might have. Our enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff members are always ready to share their love of animals with everyone.

But there’s more. Included in the presentation is a gift bag filled with animal-themed items for each child in attendance as well as a special gift for the birthday

Touching a Turtle


So if this sounds like a great new way to celebrate your child’s birthday, sign up today for a ZooMobile birthday party in your own home. Who knows, someone in that crowd of little faces who’s touching a wild animal for the first time may be a future zookeeper or wildlife scientist!

For more information, including fees and other policies, please check out the Birthday ZooMobile webpage on the Oakland Zoo website.




Zoo-to-Community Is Spreading Its Wings

by | November 4th, 2010

There’s Big News happening with the Zoo-To-Community program (ZTC) here at the Oakland Zoo. The program just received its first big grant for schools outside of Oakland! Since its inception three years ago, the Zoo-To-Community (ZTC) program has offered vouchers for free Zoo admission and access to programs such as ZooSchool, ZooMobile, ZooSchool Discovery and Zoo field trips to local residents who might not otherwise be able to afford them.

ZTC Kids at the Zoo

And now, thanks to the generosity of the East Bay Community Foundation, funds are available to reach West Contra Costa County. That’s definitely good news for Richmond Title 1 elementary schools, (where 75% or more of the kids are on the free lunch program) child development centers, and Head Start schools. Head Start, as you may know, is a national program that promotes school readiness. The Title 1 program provides funding to school systems for students at risk of failure and living at the poverty level.

During these last three years, ZTC has been steadily expanding. Through the use of mailings to school principals, the word has been spreading, and more schools have been getting involved. Participation has quadrupled in the last year alone, enabling the program to reach an impressive 16,000 people, including 13,000 school-age children.

Grants from donor organizations are a big part of the Zoo-To-Community program. In a typical year, ZTC receives half a dozen such grants, ranging from $2,000 to $15,000 a piece, from supporters such as First 5, Bechtel, Clorox, Wells Fargo, The Junior League, and the Rogers Foundation. So the East Bay Community Foundation’s grant for $ 15,000 represents a substantial part of ZTC’s financial backing for the year.

Up Close with a Turtle

What all this financial business boils down to is this: last year we had the most funding ever for bus transportation. Up

Touching a Hedgehog

till now, the biggest headache for ZTC– the one thing that’s kept the program from achieving its full potential has been transportation. Oakland is one of the few major cities that doesn’t have its own school bus system. Even with free Zoo admission, many people simply had no way to get here. So the program’s resources weren’t being fully utilized. But now, thanks in large measure to the East Bay Community Foundation’s Grant, that’s all changing.

All of this is exciting news for Zoo-To-Community Coordinator Sarah Powers, who has derived great satisfaction from being able to offer the benefits of the Oakland Zoo to a whole new segment of the East Bay community. Ms. Powers, who’s been in charge of ZTC for the past year and a half, says she looks forward to continued expansion of the Zoo-To-Community program in both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. So if you’re eligible for ZTC, get on the bus and check out the Oakland Zoo!