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KIDS KALEIDOSCOPE  .   .   .

RAIN FORECAST CAUSES ZOO’S “PRINCESS WEEKEND”

TO BE RESCHEDULED FROM THIS WEEKEND

TO SATURDAY & SUNDAY, APRIL 14 & 15

Event Activities Remain the Same

The Santa Barbara Zoo’s “Princess Weekend” has been postponed to April 14 and 15, due to a weather forecast of rain this weekend.

The event is so popular that it was expanded from one day to two days last year,” says Cheyanne Brooks, the Zoo’s marketing associate who organizes special events. “We don’t want any damp or disappointed princesses this weekend, so it makes sense to reschedule in April.”

The planned activities remain the same, as does the goal of bringing attention to the many frog, toad, and other amphibian species around the world that face possible extinction.

NEW DATES: Princess Weekend at the Santa Barbara Zoo has been rescheduled to Saturday and Sunday, April 14 and 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Santa Barbara Zoo members only are allowed early admission at 9 a.m.). The event is free with Zoo admission: $18 adults, $13 seniors aged 65 and up, $10 children 2-12. Weekend parking is $11. For more info, visit www.sbzoo.org.

Princess Weekend Activities

Frog kissing is not required, but there are live animal encounters and keeper talks about several of the Zoo’s amphibians including milky frog, marine toad, blue tongue skink, caiman lizard, and Western toad, among others.

Real live princesses like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, along with mermaids, fairies, and other fairytale characters, are present for photos and chat. Costumes are encouraged, and boys are also welcome, be they dressed as knights, princes, cowboys, pirates, or astronauts.

Princess Weekend also features a “Kiss a Frog” booth, face painting, a bounce house, games, crafts and more, all with a princess theme. DJ Hetick is spinning tunes for a dance party, and makeovers are available for the young princesses from the Santa Barbara City College Cosmetology Academy.

Guests can also learn about and join FrogWatch USA, in which “citizen scientists” are trained to identify and count frogs and toads in local wetlands, creeks, or other habitats. During the breeding season, from February to August, these volunteers listen for the croaks, peeps, trills, and other calls of common species and report their findings, which go into a national database. The commitment is just three minutes twice a week. (www.sbzoo.org/frogwatch-usa/)

Amphibians are in Trouble Worldwide

“There has been a shocking drop in populations of the world’s amphibians,” says Santa Barbara Zoo CEO Rich Block. “If only there was a Fairy Godmother with a magic wand to fix the problems they face. In the absence of that, accredited zoos and aquariums are working to address the issues in the wild, and are creating temporary captive ‘lifeboats’ of some of the most threatened species.”

Estimates are that at least one-third of known amphibian species are threatened with extinction, a rate higher than that for birds or mammals. While the major culprits historically have been habitat loss and degradation, the main challenge today is the rapidly dispersing infectious fungal disease chytridiomycosis, which is causing population and species extinctions at an alarming rate. Managed populations and “lifeboats” of amphibians may become the only conservation hope for many species faced with imminent extinction.

Zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) are committed to ensuring the survival of all amphibian species and are already an active force in amphibian conservation. For more information, visit www.aza.org/amphibian-conservation/.


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© 2008 Bonnie Carroll, All Rights Reserved