L.A. Zoo Presents Latino Heritage Celebration Weekend Featuring Grammy Winners, Sept. 26, 27, Highlight Hollywood News

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The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens presents its LATINO HERITAGE CELEBRATION on Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27, 2015, 10 am to 4 pm, at the Zoo.  Held in honor of Latino Heritage Month and sponsored by ScholarShare, this weekend-long cultural celebration features performances by the Grammy Award-winning Mariachi Divas and Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company, a visit from Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer, crafts, storytelling, a spotlight on native Latin American animals throughout the Zoo — including keeper talks, mini-tours and up-close animal encounters — and other fun.
The Mariachi Divas, the wildly popular multi-cultural, all-female ensemble, play a full set each day at 2:15 pm, and Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company, which focuses on Mexican folk arts dance, performs each day at 12 noon and 1 pm.  From 10:30 am to 3:30 pm each day, Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer character’s meet-and-greet appearances alternate with story readings from such books as Papagayo: The Mischief Maker, Jabuti:  A Trickster Tale from the Amazon, The Great Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest.
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There are mini tours of the Zoo’s Rainforest of the America’s, The LAIR amphibian/invertebrates/reptile house and the South America area.  Additionally, docents provide insight at several education stations, including “Home Is Where the Nest Is,” about animals native to rainforests, “Plantastic Desert Adaptations,” on how plants adapt to hot environments, and “Vital Vultures/Nature’s Clean Up Crew,” revealing how vultures, often called “ugly or nasty or gross or revolting,” are instead part of nature’s clean-up crew in the cycle of life and an ecologically vital group that faces a range of threats in the many places that they’re found.  The “Vital Vultures/Nature’s Clean Up Crew” activity station also provides a look at vultures in the Zoo – among them the California condor – including what guests can do to help these unusual, magnificent birds and how the Zoo supports conservation efforts in Latin America and around the world, such as the California Condor Recovery Program.  Crafts for kids, presented by ScholarShare, include a papel picado craft, paper marigold flowers and a Dora the Explorer-themed craft.  Calacas face painting is available all day for a nominal fee.  Special food stands feature authentic Latin American refreshments, from street corn and churros to an agua fresca bar.  Guests can pose at a fun photo op with Aztec pyramids scenery and participate in a word search game with gifts at the Helpful Honda table.  All activities, except face painting, are free with paid Zoo admission.
The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing 1.6 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered.  Its lush grounds on 113 acres feature the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles); Elephants of Asia; Campo Gorilla Reserve; Rainforest of the Americas, an extraordinary collection of endangered and exotic mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians living in spaces that exemplify their natural habitat in the rainforest biosphere; Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel; an Indian Rhino Encounter direct-contact opportunity; Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains, home to one of the largest troops of chimpanzees in the United States; Red Ape Rain Forest, where visitors can walk among orangutans; the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo; one of the largest flocks of flamingos in any zoo in the world; a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants; and much more.  Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife.  The private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), which has supported the Zoo in partnership with the City of Los Angeles for more than five decades and provides funding for and operates seven essential Zoo departments, has 60,000 member households representing more than 240,000 adults and children.
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Admission to the Los Angeles Zoo is $20 for general admission (ages 13 to 61); $17 for seniors (ages 62+), and $15 for children (ages 2 to 12).  No ticket is required for children under 2.  Admission for Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association members is free.
The Los Angeles Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways.  5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA  90027.  Free parking is available.  For additional information, contact (323) 644-4200 or visit www.lazoo.org
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy:  GRANDEZA MEXICANA FOLK BALLET COMPANY courtesy of Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company; DORA THE EXPLORER Photo Credit: courtesy of Nickelodeon; THE MARIACHI DIVAS  Photo Credit: courtesy of Mariachi Divas
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