Santa Fe zoo uses Halloween festivities to aid local food banks


The 15th Annual Boo at the Zoo at Santa Fe College provideded a family friendly scare for the Gainesville community and Andrea Johnson (left), her daughter Jalana Presley, 1, and Peter Davis. Zookeepers like Bethany Vara (right), dressed as a witch, where throughout a spooky path filled with fairytales, a hounted mansion and candy stations.

Brad McClenny / Special to the Sun
Published: Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 31, 2009 at 11:42 p.m.

After Alexis Godfrey, 5, walked the three-quarters-of-a-mile path at the zoo dressed as Cinderella, she decided her favorite characters were the creature from the Black Lagoon and the vampires.

"It was a real one!" she said of Dracula.

Alexis' cousin, Amanda Kautz, took her to Boo at the Zoo at Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo on Saturday.

Admission was a can of food per person.

Zoo director Jack Brown said he didn't think the Florida-Georgia game was interfering with the attendance. He expected 6,000 people and cans - the cans being donated to two food banks.

"They're so thankful," Brown said. "Given the economy, their donations are way down."

Santa Fe's student government and Publix sponsored the event that offered 103,000 pieces of candy to youngsters.

The zoo was divided into four sections, each with its own theme: Grimm's Fairy Tales, Haunted Mansion, Madame Levoue's Carnival and Famous Movie Monsters.

Fairy tale characters including Rapunzel and Snow White interacted with the audience, while signs around the zoo told the rest of the story. Spider webs and fog completed the Halloween atmosphere.

Brenda Cox wanted her 14-month-old grandson, who was dressed as Superman, to attend the event.

She also came with her daughter and son-in-law.

The zoo's wholesome atmosphere made it enjoyable, Cox said, adding that she was impressed with the staff's cheery nature, despite the heat.

Jim Harrison took his 4-year-old son, Nate. Nate was dressed as SpiderMan.

It was the second time they had attended the event.

As Harrison walked through the zoo with Nate, he tried to take photographs of his son. But Nate was more interested in candy.

"Wherever there's candy, that's where he wants to go," Harrison said.

Volunteers did a good job decorating the zoo, Harrison said.

"The Santa Fe Zoo is almost something like a secret. More people should know about it," Harrison said.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top