Author Archives: Rick West

Dr. Julian Fennessy to Visit Oakland Zoo

Oakland ZooOn Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 12:00pm, Oakland Zoo welcomes renowned Conservation Scientist Dr. Julian Fennessy, Executive Director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF). He has spent more than sixteen years studying giraffe related activities across Africa. The Zoo is honored be part of Fennessy’s U.S. tour, where he calls attention to the significant and urgent conservation issues facing giraffes all over Africa. A guest lecture featuring Dr. Julian Fennessy will take place in the Zoo’s Marian Zimmer Auditorium. The public along with zookeepers and animal enthusiasts are invited to attend this engagement free of charge; however, donations will be made to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.

“As long time supporters of GCF, we are thrilled to be hosting Dr. Julian Fennessy of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in the Bay Area this October,” said Amy Phelps, Lead Giraffe Keeper. “It is a an exciting opportunity to have an expert of his caliber at our Zoo, working directly with our giraffe team. It is a true honor to have him here and we hope all giraffe enthusiasts will join us to hear him speak on October 14th at Oakland Zoo.”

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Radley Haunted House Thrills in St. Petersburg

Screams filled the air of St. Petersburg, Florida last night as Radley Haunted House opened its doors for the first time in 2014. Excited guests exited the elaborate experience all smiles after recovering from encountering Dr. Radley’s Nightmare Machine on opening night.

Brought to life by creative director Cody Meacham and producer Ricky Brigante, the Radley Haunted House is an independent haunted attraction, similar to the haunted houses of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights or Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream, but set up outside a real house in a residential neighborhood. It’s not a professional attraction, but is just as thrilling, detailed, and entertaining.

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Another Gorilla Birth at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Disney's Animal Kingdom Baby GorillaIt’s another boy! Disney Cast Members, guests and animal lovers are celebrating the birth of the second gorilla in one month for the family of critically endangered western lowland gorillas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Born Sept. 3 to mother Kashata and father Gino, the healthy infant joins another male gorilla who was born Aug. 7 to Azizi and Gino. The family group also includes another adult female, Benga, and a four-year-old female named Lilly.

“It’s exciting to see a strong, nurturing family of this endangered species flourishing at Disney’s Animal Kingdom,” said Jay Therien, Animal Operations Manager for Disney’s Animal Programs. ”As our bouncing baby boy bonds with Kashata, we’re thrilled with his health and development.”

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Komodo Dragon Target Training at San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo Komodo DragonKeepers at the San Diego Zoo worked on training a 14-year-old Komodo dragon this month, using a target that the dragon is learning to walk over and respond to when shown. After the Komodo dragon, named Sunny, successfully completes the behavior by walking to where the target is placed, keepers reward him with a special treat to positively reinforce the behavior.

This type of target training is extremely beneficial for the animal’s welfare. As Komodo dragons spend most of their time resting in the sun, the training provides and encourages exercise for Sunny throughout the day. Another benefit is that once the behavior is learned, keepers can ask Sunny to move or shift into a different area of the exhibit. This will be helpful if medical attention is needed, since Sunny could voluntarily move without the need for sedation.

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Fans Raving About Halloween Horror Nights 24 Orlando

“Awesome,” “epic,” “immersive,” and “thrilling.” – These are just some of the words guests are using to describe Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 24. With terrifying experiences based on the biggest names in horror and pop culture, this year’s event features some of the highest-rated content in Halloween Horror Nights history.

“[Universal Orlando] outdid themselves this year. The Walking Dead and Halloween are my top two [houses]. Great work.”-‏@HorrorNightsORL Twitter Follower

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Lion Cubs Play With Dad at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Lion Cubs at San Diego Zoo Safari ParkFour African lion cubs played with their father for the first time this month in Lion Camp at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The almost four-month-old lions have been spending time at Lion Camp with their mother, Oshana, with only visual access to their father, Izu. Keeping the pride together is expected to help the cubs thrive.

“Lions are the only social cat. They live in a pride,” said Tony Franceschiello, senior keeper. “It is always our ultimate goal that we get them out here together as a group, as a pride. It pretty much replicates what would happen in the wild. She (Oshana) would go off and have her cubs on her own, and when they’re old enough she brings them back to the pride and introduces them, and everyone is together.”

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Universal Orlando Unveils The Compound for HHN 24

The CompoundUniversal Orlando Resort’s Halloween Horror Nights 24 has introduced a new social media experience that gives fans the opportunity to join The Compound and win prizes on each event night.

To enter, fans must join The Compound, gather their Recon Squad of friends and RSVP for a Recon Mission on a select event night. On the night of their choosing, fans must execute a number of in-park photo challenges on Twitter or Instagram to complete their mission.  Fans who submit the photo of their Recon Squad at Halloween Horror Nights will be entered for a chance to win one of the Halloween Horror Nights nightly giveaways, including Halloween Horror Nights 24 gear.

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Knott’s Scary Farm 2014 Opening Night

Knott's Scary Farm First Night 2014Knott’s Scary Farm in Buena Park, California, officially welcomed its first guests of the Halloween season on Thursday night, September 25th. One of the most beloved and highly-anticipated major theme park Halloween events in the world, Knott’s Scary Farm promised a season more intense and innovative than ever before with the introduction of new mazes, and interactive zombie shoot-em-up experience, and a maze featuring multiple paths that would give guests an option to choose their own destiny. Wrapped up with a really slick marketing campaign, Knott’s made it clear that it’s stepping things up, and ready to haunt the hell out of Southern California!

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TPA Announces Sinister Pointe Visit for October Mixer

Sinister Pointe: Beyond The MirrorThis month’s TPA Halloween Mixer will be held Sunday, October 12th, on the patio between Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar and Tangaroa Terrace at the Disneyland Hotel beginning at 7 P.M. As usual, we will have free buttons to give the first 30 TPAers on hand, and we’ll hold our monthly raffle at approximately 9 P.M. It will be a fun-filled evening of networking, great food, tantalizing tiki drinks, and yes… candy! It is Halloween, after all!

Once we’ve raffled off some ghoulish gifts, the tiki torches will dim, and a dark force will flow over the gathering. For those interested, we have a special trick-or-treat in store! At approximately 9:30 P.M., we will depart Trader Sam’s and regroup in Fullerton (just a short drive from The Disneyland Resort) at Sinister Pointe Haunted Attraction. At a discounted rate of $15 per person, TPAers will not only get to experience Sinister Pointe’s terrifying 2014 experience, Beyond The Mirror, but once everyone has made it through, our group will get an exclusive lights-on tour of the attraction, followed by a Q&A with Jeff Schiefelbein and the rest of the crew!

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SeaWorld Kids Launches New Mobile Games

SeaWorld Kids Mobile AppsGet ready to plunge into fun, as SeaWorld has launched a collection of three mobile games designed to engage the imaginations of preschool and elementary aged children. These apps are the latest mobile offerings from SeaWorld Kids, where imagination meets nature, and have been designed to continue the fun of learning about nature and conservation into the school year and beyond.

As an extension of the company’s in-park mission, SeaWorld Kids and the new app collection are aimed at educating users about animals and their habitats, while empowering and engaging the user to do their part to help wildlife and nature. Little actions add up, and the SeaWorld Kids apps reinforce that we all can make a difference. Not to mention, these games are seriously fun.

Launched on September 25th, the collection includes:

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