Sex and the City Zoo: GLAZA Informs and Entertains

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You won’t find Carrie Bradshaw hanging out at Sex and the City Zoo, but maybe she should give it a whirl, and learn about the mating habits of species besides her own.

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At Sex and the City Zoo, a charming and informative Valentine’s Weekend event at the Los Angeles Zoo, GLAZA once again shows an enormous capacity for the expansion of its educational offerings, served up with a heaping dose of fun.

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The event began with a dessert buffet and wine served in the museum’s courtyard. There were also adorable stuffed animal zoo gift baskets available to purchase to support zoo conservation efforts.

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While guests mixed and mingled, zoo staff circulated bearing a touchable Angolan Python, an ‘ooh and ahh’ worthy cute sugar glider, and a Hawaiian owl named Paula who came to Los Angeles as a stowaway on a naval ship.

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Once visiting and noshing ended, guests moved into the zoo’s comfortable auditorium for a lively talk by chief curator Beth Schaefer. Here the audience laughed, learned, and groaned over animal mating rituals.

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The male octopus disguises itself as a female in order to go undetected and avoid being devoured; bees sometimes have sex mid-air, bower birds woo their mates by building elaborate bowers that include found objects from car keys to soda straws. Male ostriches are supremely helpful with incubating eggs and watching over babies, and also engage in elaborate mating dances. And, well may they dance: most male birds do not have penises – the theory being such an appendage would adversely affect flight dynamics. But ostriches do, and also ducks. Ah, but ducks – well. Apparently most duck sexual behavior is not consensual, and male ducks lose their genitalia after they mate – growing a new one prior to each mating period. Um. Yes. That will teach them.

From learning about the great apes interest in oral copulation to the zoo’s success story for reproduction in endangered species like prong horn antelope and condors, this was a highly entertaining and memorable evening. Attendees could also opt to extend it with an elegant dinner set up on zoo grounds following the talk.

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We say: stay alert to other special occasion zoo events: from the holiday festival of Zoo Lights to new children’s programs that allow kids to pet a hippo, and fascinating presentations like these – there’s plenty that’s new and fun to do at the zoo. Yes, the rhymes are intentional.

So…how about those ducks?

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  • Genie Davis; All Photos by Jack Burke

 

 

 

LA Zoo Lights: See Them Roar

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Photo/All Photos: Jack Burke

For the second year in a row, holiday light seekers can enjoy a zoo-lightful extravaganza with L.A. Zoo Lights.  This is the replacement for the DWP Holiday Light Festival, an iconic drive-through light show that closed in 2009 – and it’s oh-so-much better.

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The color palette thrills with purples, pinks, greens, blues and reds in vibrant LED lights.

 

There’s a rain forest themed laser light show…

Rain Forest Canopy - literally a canopy...
Rain Forest Canopy – literally a canopy…

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Silver birds fly over purple lights and disco balls, a stunning green cactus garden draws oohs and awes, prancing illuminated bison and flamingos dance, and glowing meerkats shine near their living counterparts enclosures. It’s all as enthralling for adults as it is for little ones.

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There’s also Santa, and live reindeer.

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No place else in Los Angeles has live reindeer, and they’re extremely cool creatures. Overheard “Look mommy, a unicorn.” Not quite.

But there COULD be unicorns – there’s just about every other animal represented in the dazzling self-guided zoo walk-through, which takes about two hours to explore at a leisurely pace – longer if you stop as we did for churros and hot chocolate. On-site bar vendors also offer infusions to that cocoa or separate cocktails.

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The exhibition has been expanded this year to include a water and light show, and access to the reptiles and insects of LAIR, an indoor exhibit topped by a giant illuminated snake, and perfect for warming up on a chilly night as well as for admiring cold blooded creatures who thrive in the heat. What else is aglow?

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Painted palms…

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Christmas ornaments shining…

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Rhinos, alligators, and Christmas trees…oh my…

Guests will be charmed as they stroll through the zoo, enjoying a rainbow of animal figures, ribbiting and lit bull frogs sculpted from 3,750 water bottles, an illuminated animal riff on a Hollywood red carpet scene, and tunnels of sparkling lights.

Walking the red carpet
Walking the red carpet…

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Strolling the glittering tunnels…

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Elephant Parade…

Returning in a new spot this year are the fabulously cool 3D projections on elephant statues which morph between elephants strung with holiday lights, wearing sweaters, or covered with holiday wrapping paper.

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The technology behind this fabulous light show was created by art director Gregg Lacy and Bionic League, well known for creating light shows for artists including Kanye West and Daft Punk.

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Should you go? A resounding yes. It’s the perfect event for the holiday season in Los Angeles. While earlier in the evening, small tykes and strollers abound, by 8 p.m. the crowd skews older. There’s plenty of room at all times to see the light shows and stroll the paths.

L.A. Zoo Lights runs 7 days a week through January 3rd from 6 to 10 p.m. , closed December 24 and 25. More details and tickets can be found here. The L.A. Zoo is located at 5333 Zoo Dr. in Los Angeles.

  • Genie Davis; all photos:  Jack Burke