Ghouls and gals were welcomed into the Albuquerque Biopark Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo on Oct. 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Albuquerque BioPark has hosted some type of Halloween event every year for the past 30 years. This year, Boo at the Zoo was a fundraiser and all of the proceeds benefit additions and renovations for the zoo as well as the aquarium and the botanical gardens.
There were many activities for all ages to enjoy including trick-or-treating stations all around the central part of the zoo. In previous Boo at the Zoo events, there were small candy tables throughout the zoo. Candy vendors didn’t discriminate — whether people were young, old or anywhere in-between, they were given a large handful of candy.
Many games to play at the zoo central were also enjoyed by event-goers. There were hula-hooping contests for both kids and adults, limbo contests, tic-tac-toe, giant connect-four and bean bag tosses.
Each habitat was turned into a “haunted habitat.” Zookeepers turned into “bookkeepers” and they dressed up in scary costumes. The habitats resembled mini haunted houses. The reptile exhibit even had three different themes.
It started out as a haunted carnival decorated with creepy clowns and circus music playing in the background which then transitioned to a graveyard. Projector screens played Tim Burton movies on the walls, and gravestones littered the floor. There was also Jurassic Park themed exhibit, equipped with Jurassic Park themed photo opportunities with the baby alligators.
Visitors of the reptile exhibit were also treated with getting to watch the larger reptiles eat. The Komodo dragon attacked a rabbit and the king cobra ate two large rats. The penguin exhibit was turned into a mad scientist lab. Artificial fog filled the air as the penguins swam. There were zookeepers dressed as mad scientists and mutated penguins to seal off the scare factor.
The elephant exhibit was Disney-princess themed. Cardboard cutouts of Princess Jasmine and Cinderella were featured for photo opportunities. The big cat exhibits were decorated with spiderwebs and fake body parts. Birds of prey, tortoises, several monkeys, seals, and polar bears were off exhibit this year.
As always, coming in costume was encouraged for all visitors. Dressing in the best spooky, silly, fun, or fabulous costume could earn you a couple of prizes. There was not a traditional costume contest this year, instead undercover judges wandered the zoo and awarded prizes to the best-costumed guests. The animals got to experience some of the Halloween fun as well.
Guests got to create treats for the animals to enjoy through Halloween week. From painting a pumpkin to decorating a bag, these items were then given to the animals to be squished, stomped on, and torn apart.
All the items used were animal safe and approved by vets. The zoo carousel also got a spooky makeover. It was covered in multicolored fake webs, fuzzy spiders, ghosts, and other devilish decorations.
Classic Halloween songs played as visitors rode on the carousel. Treats and small toys were given to everyone at the end of each ride. Tickets for the event were $12 for adults, $2 for kids, and children under two were free.
Caitlin Scott is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Caitlin69123118