Annual Zoo Boo set for this weekend

By Shondiin Silversmith
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, Oct. 24, 2013

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TOP: Lucas Jesus, 7, who is dressed as a ninja, and his little sister Mya Jesus, 6, who is dressed as a princess, collect some goodies from the candy table at last year’s ZooBoo! in Window Rock. (File photo)

BOTTOM: A horror clown emerges from the front entrance of the Navajo Nation Zoo scaring the younger kids at last year’s ZooBoo! event in Window Rock.

S omething new and different at this year's Zoo Boo will be the event's first pumpkin carving contest.

"Last year we had nice well carved pumpkins, so it gave us the idea to make it more than just an activity -- we made it a contest," said the Navajo Nation Zoo's zoologist David Mikesic, adding that they will be handing out a total of 100 pumpkins at the event for people to carve.

The 5th annual Zoo Boo is schedule for this Saturday, Oct. 26 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Navajo Nation Zoo in Window Rock.

In addition to the pumpkin carving contest, there will also be the costume contest, which has drawn the most people to the annual event.

Kids and adults alike can enter in up to seven different categories.

"The biggest thing that the Navajo Nation Zoo does every Halloween is we host a very large fun free safe event, and the big thing that draws the crowd is our costume contest," Mikesic said, adding that the costume contest seems to be the highlight of the day as judges take on between 200 to 300 contestants in various categories, including cutest baby.

"In addition to that we basically try to set the zoo up to be a place where someone can come and spend the whole day doing a variety of things," Mikesic said, adding that they will have various activities to entertain kids and families.

Families will also be able to take photos with their costumes at a photo booth and receive a free 4-by-7 picture.

There also will be an arts-and-crafts table set up where young visitors can make keys chains and other small crafts to take home.

Kids will also get Halloween-themed coloring pages and can make their own Halloween mask.

A temporary tattoo station will also be set up.

The inflatable slide and jump house will also be set up for the young kids to enjoy, Mikesic said.

"There is not a lot of free fun activity here in Window Rock," Mikesic said.

"As far as I know, we're one of the few this Halloween, and it's basically an opportunity to bring the family to enjoy the zoo and see the all the animals."

Mikesic said Zoo Boo has been very popular every Halloween, which is evident from last year's numbers.

The zoo hosted almost three thousand people from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. "The nice thing about it is it gives recognition for the zoo's existence, the Navajo zoo is the only zoo in the nation that is owned and operated by a tribe," Mikesic said.

"People should take pride in it, it's a Navajo Nation zoo, it's a feature not all tribes have."

"It's also a time where people can appreciate their local wildlife. It's not every day you see a mountain lion or a bear 20 feet away," Mikesic added. "Some of these animals are rarely seen by people on the Navajo Nation."

For more information: 928-871-6574.

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