San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Zoo, Center Host Activities for Kids, Adults

SAN José’s little zoo along the river is hosting a month of freshproduce and educational activities for children and adults.Together with the Conservation Center in Santa Ana, southwestof San José, the Simón Bolivar Zoo will teach children how to preventfires and even adults can participate in a gardening workshop,among other things.The zoo is hosting a small display of preserved animals, most ofthem native species such as a puma and a deer, and two of them areexotic — the lion and the tiger. The exhibit of preserved animals isbeing held through June 8.Placards denote the scientific and Spanish names of the animals,and an assistant is on hand to answer questions. No English speakersor signs are available. The display is in the Child Discovery Area(Área de Descubrimiento Infantil), immediately inside the frontgates on the left.On May 22, the zoo will host a “Grow your own garden” workshopfrom 9 a.m.-3 p.m. This workshop, geared toward adults, willinstruct in the cultivation and care of small plants, shrubs and treesthat will take well to a home garden.Held at the Conservation Center in Santa Ana, west of San José,on its vast property of 50 hectares (123.5 acres), the workshop is notlimited to ornamental plants.“ALSO the workshop will direct people toward medicinalplants, bonsais and those plants that attract fauna such as butterfliesand birds,” said Zoo representative Vanessa Alvarado.The cost is ¢3,000 ($6.94).A farmer’s market is scheduled for May 23, when the zoo willbecome a produce and live animal market. Crops grown and smallanimals raised on the grounds of the Conservation Center will bedisplayed for sale at the zoo.Produce will include potatoes, chayote squash, cilantro, watermelon,mango, and bananas. The live animals for sale will beguineau pigs (cuilos) and hamsters (hamsters).THE Toño Pizote campaign for fire prevention will end May 29with activities for children. Toño is short for Antonio and Pizote isthe name of an animal – the long-nosed raccoon-like tree climber.Someone dressed in a pizote suit will instruct children in how toavoid lighting vacant lots on fire. According to Alvarado, forest firesare not a problem that is as urgent as those that start in lots. Theactivities begin at 11 a.m. at the zoo.On May 30, a “Nature Detectives” competition is scheduled forchildren ages 6-12. Each child, accompanied by an adult, will formteams and try to discover the identity of mysterious animals. As thecontestants find puzzle pieces in a kind of scavenger hunt, the animalswill reveal themselves in the puzzles.It should last less than an hour and begins at 10:30 am. Thoseinterested need to sign up in advance by calling 256-0012.The zoo is open every day, weekdays 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. andweekends 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. From the kiosk of Morazán Park it is 300meters north and 175 meters northwest.The Conservation Center is 300 meters west and 200 metersnorth of the Red Cross of Santa Ana.For more info, call 256-0012 or 233-6701.

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