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  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Brandi Short, Fort Wayne Children's Zoo executive assistant, works on assembling dingos from pumpkins and gourds for Wild Zoo Halloween. The annual event runs Friday through Sunday throughout October.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Andria Schmitz, Fort Wayne Children's Zoo education curator, works on assembling dingos from pumpkins and gourds in preparation for Wild Zoo Halloween. Wild Zoo Halloween runs on Fridays through Sunday from October 11-13, 18-20, and 25-27.

Friday, October 11, 2019 1:00 am

Zoo prepares creative displays, events for Halloween

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

If you go

What: Wild Zoo Halloween

When: 10 a.m. today, Saturday, Sunday and Oct. 18, 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27; last admission at 5 p.m., grounds close at 6 p.m.

Where: Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, 3411 Sherman Blvd.

Admission: General admission tickets are $5; treat stops are available with a $9 ticket; ages 1 and younger are free, or $4 to receive treats; zoo members get $2 off admission

Fort Wayne Children's Zoo might have finished its regular hours for the year, but there's still a chance to see some favorite animals and creative critters during Wild Zoo Halloween over the next three weekends.

The annual event begins today with free carousel rides all day and a special Halloween-themed Story Time at 10:30 a.m.

The zoo's animals will be out weather permitting and there will be Halloween enrichment treats (such as meatballs hidden inside pumpkins) for them every Saturday. The Atomic Sharks will provide music each Sunday afternoon. There are fall-themed sea lion chats at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily. A full schedule is available at KidsZoo.org.

Visitors are encouraged to don costumes and bring their own bags if they are planning to collect treats, which are available at eight stops at an additional cost.

Last year's Wild Zoo Halloween drew 25,000 to 30,000 people to the zoo, according to Bonnie Kemp, director of communications.

“We consider it a big fundraiser for all families to be able to help the zoo since we're one of only a handful of zoos throughout North America that are self-supporting,” she says.

In addition to the zoo's regular animals, staff and volunteers have filled the zoo with jack-o'-lanterns and sculptures made from gourds.

Kemp says it takes about four days to decorate the zoo for Halloween with about 20 people building the animal sculptures and another wave of folks painting them and the other pumpkin displays, hanging corn and more.

cmcmaken@jg.net