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It's a Jungle Out There

Outings cover the Year of the Tiger, bears and hunters as well as pythons and coatimundis.


The Year of the Tiger will be celebrated Saturday at Kidseum, the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art's interactive children's museum in Santa Ana.

There will be dancing, crafts and such traditional eats as a "Chinese tamale" wrapped in banana leaves. Included with gallery admission will be performances by an Asian break-dance team (1 and 3 p.m.), the Cambodian Family Dance Group (2 p.m.) and Asian folk tales (12:30 and 2 p.m.).

Crafty folk can make puppets inspired by the traditional lion dance character (sorry, no lion dance--all the groups were booked at other lunar new year festivals around the county) and learn the fundamentals of Chinese brush painting at two ongoing workshops.

The festivities cap a month of after-school programs at Kidseum exploring Asian culture, said Kidseum's director of children's education, Genevieve Barrio Southgate, who coordinates craft sessions focusing on a different culture every month. Next stop: Africa, culminating Feb. 28 with an African Mask and Drum Festival.

* The Bowers Kidseum Asian Family Festival will be held Saturday in the Kidseum gallery, 1802 N. Main Street., Santa Ana. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free with Kidseum/Bowers admission of $2-$4; children under 5 free. (714) 480-1520.


Appearing nightly in the heavens near you . . . lions and bears and hunters. Oh my!

The ancients saw these and other creatures in the constellations of the night sky, and on Saturday, the folks at Rancho Mission Viejo Land Conservancy invite you to take a gander at them during Astronomy Night.

With the help of learned volunteers, visitors to the 1,200-acre wilderness reserve can peer through high-powered telescopes to see star clusters, nebulae, planets and other celestial treats in this two-hour program.

Organizers suggest you bundle up and leave the wee ones at home (the program is designed for age 8 to adults).

* Astronomy Night will be Saturday at Rancho Mission Viejo Land Conservancy, off Ortega Highway 5.1 miles east of San Juan Capistrano. 7-9 p.m. $6-$8; reservations required. (714) 489-9778.


Morticia the Burmese python is a go, and the coatimundi's got it penciled in. But don't make out the place cards just yet. If one of these critters is having a bad fur day, the guest list could change wildly.

You have to be flexible when you're toting wild animals around the Southland, notes Jackie Navarro of Wild Wonders, an educational program that teaches youngsters about conservation with the help of its 75-animal menagerie. This weekend, the San Diego County group will bring "The Emerald Forest," a program featuring small exotic animals of the world's rain forests, to Launch Pad science center in Costa Mesa.

Among the possible attendees: the 12-foot-long Morticia, Tango the macaw and Ollie the kinkajou, a raccoon-like critter.

* "The Emerald Forest" will be presented Saturday and Sunday at the Launch Pad science center in Crystal Court, 3333 Bear St., Costa Mesa. 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. both days. Tickets: $5.75, includes admission to Launch Pad exhibits. (714) 546-2061.


The creative visions of hundreds of Los Angeles-area students, from elementary through high school, will be on display in the "I, Too, Am America Youth Arts Festival" Sunday afternoon at Barnsdall Art Park in Hollywood.

Paintings, handmade books and prints, animation cels and video screenings came out of an unusual program of special arts projects and workshops provided by artists, community arts organizations and teacher-supported collaborations.

It was made possible by hip-hop empire builder Russell Simmons and his Rush Arts Foundation.

"A lot of kids wouldn't survive if not for the chance to practice and appreciate art," Simmons said in a phone interview from New York, home to his Phat Fashions flagship store.

Rush Arts, which Simmons established with his brothers, visual artist Daniel Simmons and Run DMC member Joseph Simmons, was created to engage urban youth with the creative arts. It funds programs in the New York City and Los Angeles areas.

Barbara Golding, co-director of the Los Angeles Educational Partnership, estimates that 600 children and teenagers participated in this second year of the program.

* "I, Too, Am America Youth Arts Festival" will take place Sunday in Barnsdall Art Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. 12:30 to 4 p.m. Free. (213) 660-3362.

Times staff writer Lynne Heffley contributed to this report.

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