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JAUNTS: in and around the Valley | FOR THE KIDS

To the Hop

Bunnies large and small, live and in costume, will be featured at the Los Angeles Zoo.

April 09, 1998|RICHARD KAHLENBERG | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Kids, Big Bunny is waiting for you.

And Big Bunny will also be watching over lots of little bunnies this weekend at "Big Bunny's Spring Fling," to be held in the Zoo Meadows area of the Los Angeles Zoo.

Kids 2 to 12 years old who visit the zoo Friday, Saturday or Sunday will have an opportunity to be photographed with a Big Bunny costumed character (for $2) and will also get to visit an adjacent "bunny patch"--a petting zoo with live rabbits. There will also be an area where kids can make and wear bunny ears and get their faces painted to make them look like rabbits and other creatures.

Presiding over the "bunny patch" will be a volunteer docent at the zoo, John Wright.

Wright has taken steps to ensure the encounter between kids and rabbits is pleasant--for both sets of mammals.

"We've built up special pens made of hay bales, with small cages on the floor," he explained. "As the kids come through, they're carefully supervised. And each day we'll be rotating eight or 10 different rabbits into the cages every 10 minutes because they get stressed by the kids' handling them and have to be rested."

Wright also expressed the hope that folks who acquire rabbits as pets during the holiday season will be mindful that the animals experience stress after 10 minutes of noise and playful handling by kids at home.

In another area of Zoo Meadows, the staff has set up a display of egg-laying animals. People tend to forget at Easter that bunnies aren't real players when it comes to egg-laying. Therefore, in the interest of biological correctness, an alligator, python, condor, flamingo and swan will be presented at "Big Bunny's Spring Fling."

This three-day event is sponsored by Maxwell House Coffee, which will also host daily scavenger hunts from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the exhibit of egg-laying animals.

The coffee company is also sponsoring a deal at the zoo a bit more predictable than an Easter egg hunt. Anyone who brings an empty can or bottle once filled with the company's product to the event can turn it in for a free adult or child's pass for a future zoo visit.

Lora LaMarca, a zoo spokesperson, suggests that, in addition to visiting big and little bunnies this weekend, "You may want to visit our baby black bears, baby giraffes, baby Gelada baboon, baby white-faced gibbon, baby spider monkey--in the zoo nursery or throughout the zoo."

BE THERE

"Big Bunny's Spring Fling," Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Zoo Meadows area, Los Angeles Zoo, Griffith Park. Easter activities are free with paid zoo admission. $8.25 for adults, $3.30 for kids. (213) 666-4090.

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