Potter Park Zoo kicks off fall with Zootacular

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Families gathered at the Potter Park Zoo through October to join in the Fall Zootacular.

Potter Park Zoo

Thomas Chavez

Costumed families walk the paths of the Potter Park Zoo during the Fall Zootacular.

The Zoo’s three-weekend event is highlighted by a straw maze, an inflatable obstacle course, candy stations and more

Everyone at the zoo was in the Halloween spirit, and the zoo provided plenty of activities.

Nathan Holstrom said he was grateful for more than just the activities available for his son. Holstrom said he had nothing but praise for how the Potter Park Zoo welcomed his family. Holstrom said zoo employees were welcoming and accommodating to him and his autistic son.

Holstrom and his son said their favorite activity at the Zootacular was the straw maze. 

Another visitor, Candace Karrer, said her children were more interested in a sweeter activity.

“I think the candy stations are the kids’ favorite,” said Karrer through a laugh.

The Karrer family, like many at the park, were in costume. Karrer was in a hamster onesie, her husband, Tim, dressed as the popular commercial character Captain Obvious, and her two children dressed as Jack Skellington and a Ghostbuster.

A family in Spiderman outfits watches the penguin feeding demonstration. Brothers dressed as Mario and Luigi ask their parents to stop so they can take a closer look at the emu exhibit. A ticket attendant dressed head-to-toe in her Hogwarts robes. Costumes were everywhere, from the simple to the spectacular.

Patrons also heard talks by keepers. Starting in the morning with the otters and capping off in the late afternoon with a penguin feeding, zookeepers were on hand to teach families about some of their favorite animals.

Katie White said she thinks the Fall Zootacular is a great opportunity for the Potter Park Zoo to attract more guests, especially young ones.

“I think it was a good way to involve the kids,” said White, “I think they should have publicized it more because it looked a little empty to me, but overall I think it was a good way to get families to the zoo.”

The zoo’s next major event is its 27th annual Wonderland of Lights, Nov. 20 through Dec. 26. The event will include holiday music, light shows and a bag of goodies for the kids.

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