When the Santa Ana Zoo celebrates its 35th birthday today, it will be the animals, not the visitors, who get the birthday cake.
But visit you should: A pony will be at the gate to greet you today, and docents will bring out favorite animals such as owls, rabbits and parrots for close-up viewing. There will be free face painting all day, and any child who brings a handmade birthday card and is accompanied by an adult will be admitted free. The zoo's elephant will be available for rides from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at $1.50 per go-around.
At 11 a.m., the black bears will gobble down their traditional yearly treat, a wheat-germ cake iced with yogurt and decorated with carrot candles. They love it. The monkeys, more than 50 of them, will be feted with treats, too. The zoo's newest arrivals are twin red-hand tamarind babies (tiny South American monkeys), born at the zoo two weeks ago and still clinging to their parents as they scamper around.
Other animals at this relatively small but well-maintained zoo include mountain lions, alpacas, opossums, porcupines and a good selection of birds.
The zoo, at 1801 E. Chestnut Ave. just one block south of 1st Street and the Santa Ana Freeway, is open daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $2 for adults, 75 cents for children ages 3 to 12. Most of the birthday activities are between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Information: (714) 836-4000.
Parenting Seminar--Starting today at 3 p.m., the Los Angeles Children's Museum will be expanding its parameters to offer the first of four monthly seminars on "Raising Kids in the Eighties." Today's topic is "Enhancing Self-Esteem." Dr. Lenore Hausner, a senior psychologist with the Beverly Hills School District, will speak in the Louis B. Mayer Performance Center. While the parents are listening, their children (3 and older) are encouraged to take a special workshop in T-shirt decorating elsewhere in the museum (bring a light-colored T-shirt to work on). Parents and children should sign up for these offerings as they enter the museum. The seminar is free with $3 museum admission; the workshop fee is $1.50 for supplies. The museum is at 310 N. Main St., Los Angeles. Saturday hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Kite Festival--The 12th annual Festival of the Kite begins Sunday at noon when the sky south of the Redondo Beach Pier fills with dozens of kites, plain and fancy. All kite fliers and family members are welcome; last-minute enthusiasts might find a kite to their liking at the pier's kite shop. At 1:30 p.m. there will be an aerobie (a type of Frisbee) demonstration and at 2 p.m., an aerial ballet, featuring stunt kite flying. The event is free. Information: (213) 372-0308.
Girl Scout Flower Show--Sierra Madre's Girl Scout Council is sponsoring this weekend's flower show at the Los Angeles State and County Arboretum, where more than 1,000 girls from Daisy Scouts to Senior Scouts, will display their flower arrangements, arts and crafts and table settings as part of their badge-earning activities. The arboretum is at 310 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia. Show hours are 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $1.50 for adults, 75 cents for children. Girl Scouts are admitted free with identification. Information: (818) 446-8251.
Walks--Peter Strauss Ranch plans two easy-paced walks this weekend. The ranch--also called Lake Enchanto--is set in the Santa Monica Mountains near Agoura and features a small, stone farmhouse, broad lawns for picnicking and kite flying, and hiking trails. Today at 1:30 p.m. a member of the ranch's board of directors will lead a 1 1/2-mile walk that focuses on the history of the property. Sunday at 1:30 p.m., a docent will conduct a nature-oriented walk along shaded trails and into the chaparral. Both walks are suitable for children who are good walkers (or younger ones in backpacks). The ranch has recently installed a large wooden children's play structure in the eucalyptus grove. Peter Strauss Ranch, 30000 Mulholland Highway, is open this weekend from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Take Kanan Road exit south from the Ventura Freeway, turn left on Troutdale Road, left again on Mulholland Highway. Information: (818) 706-8380.
Children's Films--The Glendale Public Library will screen four short films this afternoon at 2:30. "The Case of the Elevator Duck" features an 11-year-old detective who decides to find the owner of a duck that is riding his housing project elevator. "Diana and the Golden Apples" is a four-minute retelling of the Greek legend. "Zookeepers" takes viewers behind-the-bars at the Chicago Lincoln Park Zoo, and an untitled, animated short takes a look at the harried life of a musical conductor. The library auditorium is at 222 E. Harvard St. Information: (818) 956-2030. Free.