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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

San Diego Zoo Safari Park Invites Children to "Race" a Cheetah During October Kids Free Events

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park wants kids to lace up their running shoes when they visit during "Kids Free" in October. Each day at 3:30 p.m., weather permitting, one child at Shiley's Cheetah Run will be given the chance to see how their running speed compares to the fastest land mammal. The young volunteer will run before the cheetah takes to the track and will be timed by the animal trainers. Participants will wear a special racing bib they can keep as a memento of their experience.

     Kids Free celebrates the founding of the San Diego Zoo in October 1916 and offers children 11 years old and younger free admission to the Zoo and the Park every day of October.

     Cheetah Run gives Park guests the opportunity to witness the world's fastest land mammal do what it does best - run! The cheetah runs off-leash, chasing a mechanical lure down a 330-foot track, showcasing its ability to go from 0 to 70 mph in just 4 seconds. Guests can line up along the track to be just feet away from this amazing exhibition of speed.

     Allowing kids to "race" at Cheetah Run is just one of many special experiences planned for "Kids Free" at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park. The San Diego Zoo was founded in October 1916 and "Kids Free" honors this historic event. The Zoo has celebrated "Kids Free" in October for 26 years; this is the fourth year the program is offered at the Park.

     Both the Zoo and the Park offer the opportunity to observe amazing creatures, experience a fun day with family and learn what needs to be done to save animals from extinction. Both locations are offering visitors the chance to complete the "101 Things to Do" at the Zoo and the Park; the booklet is available for download at www.sandiegozoo.org/kidsfree or can be picked up during a Zoo or Park visit on the weekends.

     Weekend visitors to the Zoo and the Park will experience even more kid-friendly activities with additional animal meet-and-greets, keeper talks and costumed character walk-arounds. At the Zoo in Balboa Park, Dr. Zoolittle will host Natures' Tricks, a show about how animals survive and adapt to their surroundings in the wild. At the Safari Park in Escondido, guests can take a seat at Discovery Station for "Tiger Tales" storytelling - ideal for ages two to five.

     Kids Free is offered during the entire month of October. The Zoo and the Park are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but for opening weekend only, the Zoo will be open until 6 p.m. on October 1 and 2. Children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by a paid adult during their visit to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

New Baby Pigs Make Debut at Fairytale Town

"I'll huff and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house down!" said the Big Bad Wolf in the children's story "The Three Little Pigs."  Beginning Wednesday, September 28,  that story will become even more popular as Fairytale Town debuts the latest addition to their barnyard family - three little piglets!

The 10-week old baby pigs, are Vietnamese Potbellied Pigs and are affectionately known as Wynken', Blynken', and Nod. The baby pigs will be on display at the pigs' straw, wood, and brick homes inside Fairytale Town. On Tuesdays through Saturdays, the trio will be brought onto grassy areas to be introduced and acquainted with their new fans under supervision from Fairytale Town staff.

The new baby pigs are a complement to the 19 other barnyard animals living at Fairytale Town. Fairytale Town farm animals teach children how domestic animals contribute to society. It also gives children a chance to see and interact with live animals and see their favorite animal characters from children's literature come to life.

Fairytale Town is open daily from 9AM to 4PM. Admission is $4 on weekdays, $4.50  on weekends, and children 1 and under are free. For more information about Fairytale Town visit www.fairytaletown.org or call 916.808.7462.

What happened to the other pigs? The previous pigs have retired from the limelight to enjoy several years of relaxation and green pastures at the private ranch of a Fairytale Town supporter.  The pigs' daily job of entertaining and educating children brought millions of visitors joy and delight. After six years of service to Fairytale Town, it was time for the pigs to retire from the stage. Vietnamese Potbellied pigs have a life span of 12-16 years.  

 FUN PIG FACTS

    * Vietnamese Potbellied pigs generally grow to be 50-150 pounds.

·         Pigs have an excellent sense of smell. Their sense of smell is better than that of dogs. Pigs are often used to seek out truffles growing in the wild.

    * Pigs are omnivores; they consume both plants and animals. Wild pigs primarily eat leaves, grasses, roots, fruits, and flowers.

    * Pigs are very clean animals and can even be house trained.

    * Pigs are intelligent animals and can be trained to perform numerous tasks and tricks (Just like another famous pig, Wilbur, from "Charlotte's Web").

    * Famous pig stories in literature: "The Three Little Pigs", "Charlotte's Web", "Dream Big, Little Pig".

    * Famous pig roles in film: Miss Piggy from The Muppets; Babe in the movie "Babe", Homer's Spider Pig from "The Simpson's, The Movie";  Porky Pig from "Looney Tunes"; Hammy the piggy bank from "Toy Story"; Pumbaa the Warthog from "The Lion King."  

Universal Orlando's Highly-Anticipated Halloween Horror Nights 21 is NOW OPEN

THE WAIT IS OVER…

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO’S HIGHLY-ANTICIPATED HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS 21

NOW OPEN

The Country’s Best Halloween Event Returns with All-New Horrifying Experiences:

Eight Haunted Houses, Six Scarezones, Two Shows…and Lady Luck

ORLANDO, Fla. (September 23, 2011) – Screams will fill the darkness tonight as Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 21 officially opens at Universal Studios Florida.  Starting tonight and running select nights through October 31, guests will confront extreme Halloween entertainment that cannot be experienced anywhere else.

Recently named “the country’s best Halloween event” for the fourth consecutive year by Amusement Today, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights is not your typical Halloween event.  Each year, the bar is raised as Universal Orlando creates original, horrifying experiences to entertain thousands of guests from all over the world.

This year’s event will be the most intense yet as Halloween Horror Nights 21 features ALL-NEW terrifying content. Guests will experience:

    * Eight elaborate haunted houses, including the In-Between, where they’ll don 3-D glasses and enter an ominous portal filled with fiendish creatures; The Forsaken, where they’ll face the vengeful souls of a condemned ship; and Winter’s Night: The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetery, where they’ll be haunted by the dead
    * Six inescapable scarezones, like Acid Assault, where they’ll be surrounded by the vicious survivors of a city plagued with Acid Rain, and Your Luck Has Run Out, where they’ll take a chance and face the monstrous Lady Luck – the force behind this year’s event
    * Two outrageous shows, including the return of the popular Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure and Death Drums, an all-new seductive drumming experience

To get a sneak peek at this year’s event, click here.

Halloween Horror Nights 21 begins at 6:30 p.m. For more information about the event – or to purchase tickets – visit www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando. Due to the event’s popularity, tickets for weekend nights are expected to sell out and should be purchased well in advance.

Guests can get updates and exclusive details on Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights on the event’s official Facebook page (www.facebook.com/halloweenhorrornightsorlando) and Twitter handle (@UORHHN). 

Snow in the Forecast for the First Time at LEGOLAND® California This Holiday Season!

All-New Holiday Snow Days Celebration Nov. 19 through Jan. 2

CARLSBAD, Calif.  (Sept. 26, 2011) – The holiday season is always special at LEGOLAND® California Resort and this year is no exception. The family theme park is gearing up for biggest, brightest and coolest holiday celebration ever with Holiday Snow Days Nov. 19 through Jan. 2. The Holiday Snow Days celebration begins with the first-ever snow fall in Fun Town – a rare sight in southern California – and continues with the lighting of the world’s largest LEGO® Christmas tree, and concludes with Kids’ New Year’s Eve.

During Holiday Snow Days, Fun Town will be transformed into a magical, winter wonderland where the weather forecast calls for snow – yes, real snow – every day at the new Holiday Fun Town area. Guests can forget they are in sunny, southern California as they build snowmen using LEGO carrots and other fun LEGO elements, throw snowballs at LEGO themed targets and play with large, soft LEGO bricks in the snow.  “If you think about it, this will probably be the first experience for many of our guests to play in real snow!” Peter Ronchetti, LEGOLAND California Resort general manager stated. “Holiday Snow Days at LEGOLAND are sure to provide unforgettable fun and we hope this unique experience, along with all the other incredible holiday offerings, leaves children and adults alike with lasting memories of their visit to LEGOLAND.”

Holiday Fun Town is the new home to the world’s largest LEGO Christmas tree. The centerpiece of the holiday season at LEGOLAND, the giant LEGO Christmas tree stands more than 30 feet tall, is made of more than 245,000 forest green DUPLO® bricks and is surrounded by packages and LEGO friends the whole family can enjoy. The Park’s annual tree lighting ceremony takes place Nov. 28 with a surprise celebrity guest lighting the tree. Nightly tree lighting ceremonies Dec. 1 through Dec. 24 involve a lucky child randomly selected from the audience to help pull the switch that light up the LEGO Christmas tree.

And no holiday celebration would be complete without a glimpse of the big man, himself – Santa! Say hello to the Park’s new life-sized LEGO Minifigure Santa as he strolls throughout Holiday Fun Town with his helpers or marvel at a life-sized LEGO Santa, his sleigh and two reindeer made entirely out of LEGO bricks. The festive display stands 7 feet tall and is made of more than 51,100 bricks and makes for the perfect photo opportunity for the family Christmas card or a great memory of your visit to LEGOLAND.

The holiday magic continues with everything that is merry including twinkling lights, colorful d├ęcor, festive music, food and musical entertainment including the Park’s own Brickettes, Jingle Jammers and a costume character party. “Let it Snow”, an enchanting mini-musical with a holiday story returns to warm guests’ hearts. Share in the spirit of the season with 10-year-old Emily as she wishes for some holiday magic! The 20-minute show features the Park’s signature song, “Season of Imagination.” “Let it Snow” runs Nov. 19 through Dec. 31 in the Playtown Theater.

SEA LIFE™ Carlsbad Aquarium joins in the holiday festivities with a not-to-be-missed underwater LEGO Christmas tree ‘planted’ at the bottom of the Lost City of Atlantis 200,000 gallon ocean display. While guests and fish alike watch, divers will deck the boughs of the 6-foot-tall LEGO Christmas tree made of nearly 4,000 DUPLO bricks. Other SEA LIFE holiday happenings include a holiday-themed Daily Dive Show and a ‘green’ crafting event.  For more information on SEA LIFE Aquarium’s holiday events, visit www.sealifeus.com or call (760) 918-5346.

A stunning display of fireworks light up the sky over LEGOLAND at 7 p.m. nightly Dec. 26 through 30. The dazzling fireworks feature a vibrant soundtrack of traditional and contemporary holiday music.  The best viewing spot for the fireworks display is Miniland U.S.A. which also is decked out for the season with miniature Santas and reindeer delivering toys throughout Miniland U.S.A.

The grand finale of Holiday Snow Days is the annual Kids’ New Year’s Eve party. This lively party begins with a special mini-concert in Holiday Fun Town earlier in the day and evolves with party favors and a kids’ concert featuring special musical performances from 2:30 to 6 p.m. in Miniland U.S.A. Like the famous Times Square party, Kids’ New Year’s Eve features a countdown followed by a huge LEGO brick dropping 22 feet into 2012 and spectacular fireworks at 6 p.m. to end the night.

To help plan your visit to Holiday Snow Days, LEGOLAND California is proud to announce the launch of their new iPhone® app. Developed specifically for the iPhone® or iPod Touch®, the app offers Park guests access to hands-on, minds-on information. The LEGOLAND California Resort app includes an interactive park map;  trip planner; social media integration; personal photo gallery, detailed overviews of rides, shows, attractions, events, dining and retail locations; the ability to purchase admission tickets, games and in-Park activities; weather information; operating days and times; directions to the Park; frequently asked questions and much more! To download the application, visit www.LEGOLAND.com/app.

All Holiday Snow Days activities are included in the price of LEGOLAND California admission ($69 for adults, $59 for kids) or the SEA LIFE Hopper ticket ($81 for adults; $71 for kids). And here is LEGOLAND California Resort’s gift to you: Nov. 19 through Dec. 31, buy a one day admission to LEGOLAND California and return a second day for free before March 31, 2012.

For more Holiday Snow Days information, visit www.LEGOLAND.com or call (760) 918-LEGO.

Ford Explorer Now 100 Percent Reinvented in LEGO® Bricks Debuts at Chicago Assembly Plant, Becomes Centerpiece of New Ford Driving School at LEGOLAND® Florida Theme Park

·         Full-size LEGOLAND® Florida Explorer created from more than 380,000 LEGO makes its debut at Chicago Assembly Plant; model took more than 2,500 hours to create

·         New LEGOLAND Florida theme park is the second in the U.S. and the fifth and largest LEGOLAND park in the world; it’s comprised of more than 50 million LEGO bricks

·         Ford Driving School at LEGOLAND Florida allows children to experience the fun and responsibility of driving in their own vehicles (at a maximum speed of 3 mph)

Chicago, Sept. 26, 2011 – A unique Ford Explorer rolling off the line today at Chicago Assembly Plant will feature the model’s trademark eye-catching craftsmanship with one notable distinction. This Ford Explorer is created from more than 380,000 LEGO bricks and marks the beginning of a long-term alliance between Ford and LEGOLAND® Florida theme park.

The bright red LEGOLAND Florida edition Explorer, created by 22 designers, weighs 2,654 pounds and is supported by a 768-pound interior aluminum base.

The completely reinvented Ford Explorer is a head-turner on its own, of course, blending style, capability and technology with class-leading fuel efficiency. It delivers an EPA-certified 28 mpg on the highway with an all-new EcoBoost® engine.

After its debut at the historic Chicago plant, which produces the Explorer, the vehicle will be loaded onto a trailer with transparent sides so motorists can see the LEGO Explorer as it makes its way to the new 150-acre LEGOLAND Florida theme park just outside Orlando.

There it will be featured in front of one of the park’s attractions, the Ford Driving School for children.

“Ford is excited to support the alliance between LEGOLAND Florida and the Southeast Ford dealers. The LEGOLAND Florida Explorer and the Ford Driving School attraction are great opportunities to showcase our products and safety messages to families and visitors in a unique way,” said Tracy Magee, Ford Experiential Marketing manager.

LEGOLAND Florida, which opens Oct. 15, will cater to kids ages 2 to 12 with more than 50 family-focused rides, shows and attractions and a historical botanical garden.

The park, which features exhibits using more than 50 million LEGO bricks, is divided into 10 themed entertainment zones for kids. It allows them to experience different adventures, including the empowering thrill of getting behind the wheel and learning to drive their own vehicle.

“We’re less than a month from opening and the anticipation level is incredibly high,” said LEGOLAND Florida General Manager Adrian Jones. “This is the only park of its kind in the world built exclusively for kids ages 2 to 12, and it will be a total departure from anything families with young children have seen before. It’s a completely immersive experience, engaging kids’ imaginations and their sense of adventure through interactive play.”

Driving through LEGOLAND Florida

The driving school is divided by age. There’s a Ford Junior Driving School for children ages 3 to 5 years old and a Ford Driving School for those ages 6 to 12. The children watch a video with driving instructions and safety tips – starting with the basics like safety belts and the difference between the accelerator and the brake – and move on to stoplights and stop signs. Children then have the opportunity to drive in their own electric vehicles on curbed roads with maximum speed limits of 3 mph.

With its detailed LEGO theme, the attraction is designed to give children the experience of driving in a real-world neighborhood.

While the children are behind the wheel, park employees known as “model citizens” are nearby to ensure the experience stays positive. After the drive is complete, the children are issued their own Ford Driving School license.

The school was the brainchild of Florida-area Ford dealers that worked with LEGOLAND Florida management, and is designed to introduce the fun and responsibility of driving skills to children.

KNOTT’S MERRY FARM CELEBRATES THE HOLIDAYS WITH “A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS”

BUENA PARK, Calif.  – Knott’s Berry Farm will be filled with the magic of the season this year as it transforms into Knott’s Merry Farm and celebrates “A Charlie Brown Christmas” with seasonal entertainment, spectacular decorations including a 65 foot tall Christmas tree, and a colorful Christmas parade starting Thanksgiving day and running through December 30, 2011.

    Now a holiday tradition in Southern California, Knott’s Merry Farm is proud to present the holiday ice spectacular, “It’s Christmas, Snoopy!”  The show, performed in the 2,100-seat Charles M. Schulz Theatre, is hosted by the famous skating beagle and his Peanuts friends as they look for the true meaning of Christmas and features Knott’s ensemble skaters, dazzling sets, colorful costumes and plenty of surprises!   “It’s Christmas, Snoopy!” will be presented November 24-27; December 2-4, 9-11, 16-20, 22-24, 26-27, 29-31, 2011 and January 1, 2012.

     “A Peanuts’ Holiday Parade” offers seven elaborately themed floats featuring the Peanuts Gang and accompanied by students from Orange County Song and Dance Company.  Children and adults alike will be able to get into the holiday spirit along with CHARLIE BROWN, LUCY, LINUS, SALLY, SCHROEDER and of course SNOOPY, as they ready for the holidays.  Join them as they partake in all the holiday festivities including candy making, tree trimming, and even toy building!  “A Peanuts’ Holiday Parade” will run November 24-27; December 3-4, 10-11, 17-23, 26-30, 2010 and January 1, 2012.
   
    Knott’s 1880s Ghost Town will again be transformed into Knott’s Christmas Crafts Village, inviting mall-weary guests to explore one-of-a-kind treasures created by more than 100 artisans in a Victorian holiday wonderland of strolling carolers, musical groups, community choirs and lavish holiday decorations. 

    The show and parade are included with regular park admission and available to Christmas Crafts Village guests for a nominal additional charge.
    Adding to the unique Village atmosphere are live performances of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and O’Henry’s “A Gift of the Magi” in the Bird Cage Theatre.

    Elf Mountain Christmas is also back.  The world famous Timber Mountain Log Ride has once again been transformed this holiday season giving guests an up-close and-personal view into the world of Santa’s Elves.   Sneak a peak as Santa’s helpers get ready for Santa’s busiest day of the year.  Rich with lights, music and the merriest of times, this attraction will remain open until Jan. 1, 2012.

    Guests can also experience the wonder of “Snoopy’s Christmas Light Spectacular.” Hundreds of thousands of twinkling white and multicolored lights merrily light up the nighttime sky accompanied by a festive soundtrack that bring the Christmas spirit alive from dusk to Park closing. 

     A trip to Knott’s Merry Farm would not be complete without a visit with the man of the hour – Santa!  Stop by Santa’s Toy Barn for a little one-on-one with the big guy.  Here, in Santa’s cozy hideaway, kids can share their wish lists with St. Nick, and Mom and Dad can take home a picture of the occasion (photo requires additional fee).

    Village guests can also indulge in the ultimate comfort foods with Knott’s world-famous holiday treats, including fresh-baked pies, cakes, cookies, muffins and gingerbread men, as well as daily specials and the legendary cooking at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant.

    For an all you can eat buffet, try Joe Cool’s Backyard BBQ Holiday Style starting November 25 and running Saturdays and Sundays through December 31.  For only $23 for adults and $19 for seniors (62+) and season pass holders and $15 for kids (3-11), you can partake of a holiday feast that includes Mrs. Knott’s famous fried chicken, roast turkey, vegetarian lasagna, roast beef, mashed potatoes, boysenberry pie and much more!  For reservations, call 1-800- PICNICS.

    Another holiday treat is “Snoopy’s Calico Christmas Tree Lighting” each evening in Calico Square.  Join SNOOPY, LUCY, LINUS, SALLY and CHARLIE BROWN as they host a song-and-dance show complete with carolers and a Christmas sing-along then light a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. The Peanuts gang is also featured in their very own live musical show, “Winter Wonderland” shown daily in Camp Snoopy.

 Merry Farm guests can combine their holiday treats with Knott’s blockbuster rides.  The legendary GhostRider®, the ultimate wooden sleigh ride; 30-story Supreme Scream®, the world’s tallest descending thrill ride; Silver Bullet, the longest and tallest suspended coaster in the West and Knott’s newest addition WindSeeker  which takes guests on a flight over 300 ft over the park!

    Knott’s Merry Farm admission covers all Christmas Crafts Village and in-park shows and activities, including the ice show, “It’s Christmas, Snoopy!” and all regular rides, shows and attractions including Silver Bullet, GhostRider®, Supreme Scream® and XceleratorSM. 

    Knott’s Christmas Crafts Village is included with regular Knott’s Berry Farm admission daily.  Monday through Friday guests may purchase Crafts Village only tickets; $10 for adults, $5 for seniors (62+) and $5 for kids (3-11).  Village guests can enjoy the ice show, “It’s Christmas, Snoopy!” or take a spin on GhostRider for nominal fees. 

    Knott’s opens daily at 10 a.m.  The park closes Dec. 25 to allow its employees to spend Christmas with their families.  For information about the day you plan to visit and available discounts, call (714) 220-5200 or click on www.knotts.com.

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT ANNOUNCES FIRST-EVER HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS 21 MOBILE APPLICATION

Guests Can Enhance Their Visit To “The Country’s Best Halloween Event” Using Key Feature
Including Interactive Park Maps, GPS Navigation, Event Information and More

App is Available as a Free Download for Apple and Android Mobile Devices

WHAT: This year, guests can enhance their experience at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 21 with the first-ever official mobile application specifically designed for the event. Available as a free download for iPhone and Android users, the app offers an array of useful features to help attendees plan a terrifying and entertaining night they’ll never forget.

The all-new Halloween Horror Nights 21 mobile app will allow guests to:

o        Pinpoint their exact location and the terrors that surround them using GPS navigation

o        Plan which haunted houses they’ll dare to enter with the app’s interactive event map

o        Learn more about each of the eight all-new haunted houses and six horrifying scarezones as they get ready to experience them first-hand

o        Get updates and exclusive details on Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights by connecting with the event’s official Facebook and Twitter pages

The app also offers a check-in game that challenges guests to explore each all-new haunted house at Halloween Horror Nights 21. If they survive each house, guests can “check in to win” a Universal CityWalk savings guide worth up to $50.

Click here to download the iPhone version of the app.

Click here to download the Android version.

For 25 nights beginning September 23, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights returns as the nation’s best and most intense Halloween event. Guests will confront extreme Halloween entertainment that cannot be experienced anywhere else.  This year, they will scream as they become prey to fiendish creatures, panic as they come face-to-face with a horrifying “thing,” feel chills as they are haunted by deceased souls – and watch in paralyzing fear as Lady Luck transforms from a tempting seductress to a bloodthirsty beast.

For more information about Halloween Horror Nights 21 or to purchase tickets, visit www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando.

WHEN: The application is available as of Wednesday, September 21

WHERE: Apple and Android mobile app stores

Apple: http://bit.ly/qkdHOJ
Android: http://bit.ly/q9KTP0

SAN DIEGO ZOO AND SAFARI PARK OFFER "KIDS FREE" ADMISSION IN OCTOBER TO CELEBRATE ORGANIZATION'S FOUNDING

During the month of October, children 3 to 11 years old receive free admission to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Throughout the month the Zoo and the Park are offering extra on-grounds presentations on the weekends, a coloring contest and all new online activities on the San Diego Zoo Kids Free site. There's even the chance to "race" against a cheetah at the Safari Park!

     The San Diego Zoo was founded in October 1916 and "Kids Free" honors this historic event. The Zoo has celebrated "Kids Free" in October for 26 years; this is the fourth year the program is offered at the Park.

     Earlier this year, the Safari Park opened Shiley's Cheetah Run, which gives guests the chance to see a cheetah run off-leash on a 330-foot track at speeds up to 70 miles per hour. During Kids Free month, each day one child in the crowd will be given the chance to see how their running speed compares to the fastest land mammal. The young volunteer will run before the cheetah takes the track and will be timed by the animal trainers. Participants will wear a special racing bib they can keep as a memento of their experience.

     Guests at the Zoo can also get in on the fun, too, by volunteering in the Zoo's new animal show, Camp Critters, at Wegeforth Bowl. The twice-daily show features 15 species of animals, original music and an all-new stage. Each show calls for two volunteers to help with the contest to earn their "camper's badge" sticker to take home with them.

     Both the Zoo and the Park offer the chance to observe amazing creatures, experience a fun day with family and learn what needs to be done to save animals from extinction. Both locations are offering visitors the chance to complete the "101 Things to Do" at the Zoo and the Park; the booklet is available for download at www.sandiegozoo.org/kidsfree or can be picked up during a Zoo or Park visit on the weekends. Zoo Corps volunteers will be distributing them at locations throughout the Zoo and Conservation Corp volunteers at the Park will make them available at Discovery Station. Guests are encouraged to bring a camera to capture the action as they tackle the 101 Things to Do and submit their photos to the Kids Free website, where a winner will be selected from the Zoo and the Park each week. Winners will receive four tickets for a specialty tour. At the end of the month there will be two grand-prize winners.

     Weekend visitors to the Zoo and the Park will experience even more kid-friendly activities with additional animal meet-and-greets, keeper talks and costumed character walk-arounds. At the Zoo in Balboa Park, Dr. Zoolittle will host Natures' Tricks, a show about how animals survive and adapt to their surroundings in the wild. At the Safari Park in Escondido, guests can take a seat at Discovery Station for "Tiger Tales" storytelling - ideal for ages two to five.

     When kids are away from the Zoo and the Park, there are still plenty of activities for them on the Kids Free website - sandiegozoo.org/kidsfree. Download coloring pages from the site that can be colored in and then submitted for prizes at the Zoo and the Park. There is also an animal quiz and features on creatures that are native to Southern California. Log on to the San Diego Zoo Kids Free site for all the fun.

     Kids Free is offered during the entire month of October. The Zoo and the Park are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but for opening weekend only, the Zoo will be open until 6 p.m. on October 1 and 2. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a paid adult during their visit to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

NEW BIRDS-EYE VIEW OF CONSERVATION ALLOWS INTERACTION San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy Takes Flight

Conservation enthusiasts, animal lovers, scientists, students, parents and anyone with an interest in wildlife now has direct access to a world that only scientists and zookeepers once had. On Monday, the new website, www.sandiegozooglobal.org, launched with the first-ever live web camera in a California condor nest.

     The web cam is the first for the nonprofit organization in eight years. This window into the life of an endangered bird species will provide a unique view. With the start of a new breeding season just around the corner, online viewers may witness rare moments at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park previously only seen by condor keepers and biologists such as courtship, parents incubating an egg, hatching, parents caring for the young and a chick's first flight!

     "This endeavor organizes the communication of the combined conservation efforts of the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research under one umbrella, the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy," said Allison Alberts, Ph.D., San Diego Zoo Global chief conservation and research officer. "The Wildlife Conservancy, dedicated to bringing endangered species back from the brink of extinction, represents a unique opportunity for people all over the world to come together to help wildlife."

     The dynamic content available online at sandiegozooglobal.org, gives visitors to the site access to content used by researchers to better understand the wildlife they study, including a comical time-lapse video of a family of nine burrowing owls - seven chicks and the parents - busying themselves at the opening to their burrow.

     "You will notice that the face of San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is the people," said Ted Molter, San Diego Zoo Global corporate director of marketing. "The work being done by our dedicated staff is recognized as much as the species we are working to save. You will also see that each section, such as the Condor Cam page, highlights the integration of keepers, curators, educators, scientists and our partners."

     The content, which includes wildlife notes from the field, is driven by these experts. There is more storytelling from a personal perspective, giving online users an opportunity to meet the people behind the Wildlife Conservancy and take part in their adventures through photos, videos and first-hand accounts of wildlife conservation.

     There will also be opportunities for supporters to physically ride along with a scientist working on a local conservation project. "Like" the new Conservancy's Facebook page, which also launched on Monday, and enter for a chance to accompany conservationists into the field. A new Twitter page will provide regular updates. Another tool for supporters to get involved will be user-generated content. People can submit their own wildlife photos for a chance to have it featured prominently on the homepage.

SeaWorld Orlando’s Rescue Team caring for Risso’s dolphin found stranded on New Smyrna Beach, FL

Late morning on September 16, 2011, beachgoers at New Smyrna Beach, FL found a stranded Risso’s dolphin. Volunteers kept it wet, shaded and cool until research scientists from Hubbs/SeaWorld Research Institute arrived to help care for the animal. Around 3:30 p.m., the animal rescue team from SeaWorld Orlando arrived and loaded the large dolphin into a large truck for the hour-long drive to the park’s Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility.

At the rehabilitation center, SeaWorld vets and animal experts quickly assessed the dolphin’s condition, performed an ultrasound and lowered the animal into the pool.  Experts will monitor the dolphin ‘round the clock. Nothing unusual was found in preliminary exams. This dolphin is about 9’ 6” inches long, its weight is unknown. It is an older male. Many of the scratches and scars on its skin are common and happen during “sparring” with other Risso’s dolphins (see photos).

Additional details:

Dr. Chris Dold, SeaWorld’s chief veterinarian, is cautious about the animal’s prognosis.  More tests are needed to determine if there are any infections or other reasons the animal may have stranded. On Saturday, vets will use x-rays to see if there are any foreign bodies in the dolphin, such as fish hooks.  According to Dr. Dold, “there’s still plenty of work to do. All things being equal, the animal is alert and calm, but we need to determine what the problem is. More tests will help us figure out what the next steps are in caring for this dolphin.”

Risso’s dolphins are pelagic, or deep water, dolphins and are rarely seen stranded on east coast beaches.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rock-Horror Icon Alice Cooper, Rainn Wilson, David Arquette and Jamie Kennedy Alongside Rising Stars Bailee Madison and Emma Bell to Receive “Eyegore” Awards at Universal Studios Hollywood as Theme Park Celebrates Opening Night of “Halloween Horror Nights” on September 23

Universal City, CA— “Scream” stars David Arquette and Jamie Kennedy will join Rainn Wilson, star of Rob Zombie’s “House of 1000 Corpses,” “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” star Bailee Madison, “Final Destination 5” actress Emma Bell and legendary rocker Alice Cooper as honorees at the 2011 “Eyegore” Awards, the opening night ceremony for “Halloween Horror Nights®”  at Universal Studios HollywoodSM.

            Corey Feldman returns as host of the ceremony with presenters that include former “Eyegore” Award recipient Rob Zombie and Calico Cooper.  Filmmaker Eli Roth, one of last year’s “Eyegore” recipients who helps bring this year’s new maze to life, “Eli Roth’s Hostel: Hunting Season” and actor / director Diego Luna, who’s serving as creative consultant to the new maze, “La Llorona:  Villa De Almas Perdidas,” will also be in attendance.

            The winner of the 2011 “Halloween Horror Nights” Short Film Competition will also debut at the event.

            Recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Alice Cooper created the concept of the theatrical rock concert and has thrilled generations of fans with spectacular stagecraft and darkly flamboyant showmanship.  His recording career spans six decades, includes over two dozen albums, millions of record sales, countless world tours and appearances in scores of movies and videos, including a brief but memorable appearance in both “Nightmare on Elm Street:  Freddy’s Dead” and Universal Pictures’ “Prince of Darkness.” The rock icon will also unveil his new maze, “Alice Cooper:  Welcome to My Nightmare” at this year’s “Halloween Horror Nights,” inspired by his landmark concept album and its long-awaited sequel “Welcome 2 My Nightmare,” to be released on September 13 through Universal Music Enterprises.

            Before catapulting to fame as Dwight Schrute on NBC’s “The Office,” actor Rainn Wilson terrified audiences in 2003 with his star-turning performance as “Fish Boy” in Rob Zombie’s horror cult classic, “House of 1000 Corpses.”  The film was transformed into the popular maze, “Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses: In 3D ZombieVision” at last year’s event and makes an encore performance at this year’s “Halloween Horror Nights.”

            Filmmaker David Arquette first introduced the character of Deputy Dewey to audiences in Wes Craven’s 1996 enormously successful slasher film “Scream.” He returned to face the infamous “Ghostface Killer” in all three subsequent sequels, including “Scream 4.”

            Jamie Kennedy, recognized for his role as Eli James on the hauntingly popular television show, “Ghost Whisperer,” reprised his role as Randy Meeks in the first three “Scream” movies.  This year’s “Halloween Horror Nights” pays homage to the latest installment of the “Scream” films when “Ghostface Killer” makes an otherworldly appearance to stalk guests on “Terror Tram:  Scream 4 Your Life,” a new experience on the world-famous backlot.

Rising star Bailee Madison starred most recently alongside Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes in Guillermo del Toro’s, “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.” Her credits span beyond horror films to include “Brothers” co-starring Natalie Portman, “Conviction” starring Hilary Swank, the Adam Sandler comedy “Just Go With It” and “Wizards of Waverly Place,” starring Selena Gomez.  She recently made headlines when she was tapped to star alongside Billy Crystal and Bette Midler in “Us & Them.”

Actress Emma Bell’s stint in horror films include starring roles in “Final Destination 5,” “Frozen” and AMC’s zombie series “The Walking Dead.”

Previous “Eyegore” Award recipients have included Christopher Lloyd, Patricia Arquette, Janet Leigh, Roger Corman, six-time Oscar-winning special effects makeup artist Rick Baker, Karen Black, Tobin Bell, Tobe Hopper and Corey Feldman.

The winner of the 2011 “Halloween Horror Nights” Short Film Competition will be honored during the ceremony. Brent Bokovoy from El Cajon, California, will have his film premiere at event, receive national broadcast exposure on Chiller and syfy.com and be awarded a $1,000 cash prize.

            The 2011 “Halloween Horror Nights” event will feature a noteworthy six mazes, bringing together unprecedented star power to create the definitive Hollywood horror “dream team” and craft the ultimate “live” Halloween nightmare.   Mazes include “Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses: In 3D ZombieVision,” “Alice Cooper:  Welcome To My Nightmare,” “Eli Roth’s Hostel: Hunting Season,” “La Llorona:  Villa De Almas Perdidas” (“The Weeping Woman: Village of Lost Souls”) Imagined by Diego Luna, “The Thing: Assimilation,” based on the upcoming Universal Pictures thriller, “The Wolfman:  The Curse of Talbot Hall,” inspired by the Academy Award®-winning film, and the “Terror Tram:  Scream 4 Your Life,” new backlot experience.

            Updates on “Halloween Horror Nights” are available at Halloween Horror Nights.com and also on Twitter and Facebook, as Creative Director John Murdy reveals a running chronicle of exclusive information.  Fans are invited to follow John Murdy on Twitter at: Twitter.com/HorrorNights or via Facebook at: “Halloween Horror Nights - Hollywood (Official).”

            “Halloween Horror Nights” will take place on select nights beginning September 23 and continue on September 24, 30; October 1,7, 8,9, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31.

seaworld ORLANDO carves A halloween underwateR “fantasea” every Weekend in October

At a glance:
* A safe and exciting trick-or-treating experience for families
* FREE with SeaWorld park admission

ORLANDO, Fla. – (August 30, 2011) – Halloween meets the sea during SeaWorld Orlando's Halloween Spooktacular, the ultimate family-friendly event featuring an ocean of Halloween fun where children can trick-or-treat, dance with whimsical sea creatures, catch silly and spooky shows and create sea-themed arts and crafts.

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular takes place every weekend in October: 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, and 28-30. This daytime event runs from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., leaving the littlest of trick-or-treaters wide-eyed for the fun-filled activities.  For all of the “spooktacular” savings, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com.

Spooktacular Highlights Include:

New! Penelope’s Party Zone
New this year, a lively underwater environment immerses children in the wonders of the sea through kid-friendly music, games, and colorful characters. Located at SeaWorld’s Bayside area, this zone comes to life when guests dance and play along to the spooky sound waves broadcast by a live DJ. With countless bubbles floating overhead and colorful pumpkin fish gliding beside you, this Halloween party is sure to provide non-stop fun for all ages.

New! Apple Decorating Post
Kids and parents alike can have a “splash” creating their own sweet treats at this new decorating station. Tasty apples can be dipped – for a nominal fee – with the decadently-flavored sauce of choice: white chocolate, fudge, or caramel, and then topped with sprinkles to finish them off.

Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween Show
Don’t miss Count Van Count on a quest to find his friends, Elmo, Zoe and Telly in this live musical stage show. Along the way, The Count meets dancing skeletons who will have everyone in SeaPort Theatre shaking, rattling and rolling.

Trick-or-Treating Under the Sea
Offering more than 1 million pieces of trick-or-treat goodies, costumed youngsters can search for hidden “sea” treasures using their Spooktacular maps at more than a dozen different locations. Each station features an assortment of sweet treats, including a variety of candies and healthy-choice options.

Spooky Sand Art Station
Another new element this year, children (and adults too) can make a multi-colored sand souvenir at this interactive arts and craft area where sea-themed glass bottles -- in the shape of dolphins, turtles, starfish and more -- are filled with an array of vibrantly-colored sands.

Strolling Entertainment
Penelope Pumpkin fish, Shamu, Dolly Dolphin, Shivers the Polar Bear, Pete and Penny Penguin, a mermaid, and a walking-talking spider-crab are among the many fanciful sea creatures that will join the colorful, playful schools of pumpkin fish welcoming trick-or-treaters as they stroll through the park. Photo opportunities with these “spook-tastic” characters create lasting memories!

More SeaWorld Halloween Fun:

Count Von Count’s Spooktacular Breakfast “Booffet” One of Sesame Street’s favorite residents, The Count, gets into the Halloween spirit with his friends from Sesame Street at Count Von Count’s Spooktacular Breakfast.  Little ones will sing, groove and mingle side-by-side with Sesame Street characters, while listening to Halloween-themed music and enjoying a special breakfast “booffet.”  Following the breakfast, kids can get their photos taken with the characters for memories that will last forever. Reservations can be made online, at the Information Counter or by calling 1-888-800-5447.

SeaWorld’s Holiday Family Sleepovers (6 p.m. – 9 a.m. on Oct. 21, 22, 28 and 29)
Families can snuggle into a spooky slumber surrounded by exotic fish, rays, and sea dragons inside the floor-to-ceiling aquariums at Manta. Cost is $78 per person or $103 (includes next-day park admission). A pizza dinner and breakfast are included.  Program is for children in grades K-5 and their families.  Sleepover reservations can be made by calling 1-800-406-2244.

Discovery Cove Offers Fall Dates for Special Florida Resident Rate

Includes Unlimited SeaWorld Pass Through January 2012

WHAT:   There's never been a better time than now for Florida residents to experience an exciting fall getaway. With Discovery Cove special savings now available through December 31, 2011, Florida residents can enjoy a perfect day for $199 plus tax per person for Dolphin Swim Day Resort admission and $129 plus tax for Day Resort admission.  Offer includes an unlimited admission pass (no 14-day restriction) to SeaWorld Orlando valid through January 31, 2012 (pass is only valid after Discovery Cove visit).

With SeaWorld’s unlimited admission pass, guests can experience two incredible, family-friendly events: SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular and SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is an ocean of Halloween fun featuring trick-or-treating, dancing with whimsical sea creatures, catching silly and spooky shows and creating sea-themed arts and crafts. SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is sure to light up this year’s holiday season with a sparkling sea of trees and everything from elves to Elmo and from Santa to Shamu.

Discovery Cove is the perfect place for guests to enjoy an all-inclusive adventure and one-of-a-kind opportunity to swim with dolphins, hand-feed exotic birds and relax on pristine beaches.  Plus, The Grand Reef is
all new, where guests can snorkel with dozens of rays and thousands of tropical fish on multiple levels, from shallow waters to deeper canyons.

DETAILS:        Admission includes a freshly prepared breakfast and lunch, snacks and beverages throughout the day, (including alcoholic beverages for those at least 21 years of age), dolphin-safe sunscreen, snorkel equipment, locker rental, wetsuits and towels.

        At Discovery Cove, guests experience a full day of exciting animal encounters in a 30-acre tropical oasis. Discovery Cove is a paradise of rocky lagoons surrounded by lush landscaping, coral reef, tropical river, and a resort-style pool complete with waterfalls and pristine, white sand beaches.

        Proof of valid Florida residency for reach adult is required upon check-in at guest reception.

HOW:    Visit DiscoveryCove.com or call 1-877-434-7268 for more information.

SYFY’S “GHOST HUNTERS” TO FACE LADY LUCK AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO’S HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS 21

Universal Orlando Gives Fans the Chance to Experience the Event with Steve Tango and Dave Gonsalves

Plus, Guests Can Attend a Q&A and Autograph Session on Oct. 6

WHAT:  Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango, from SyFy Channel’s highest rated reality TV show “Ghost Hunters,” will test their luck at Universal Orlando Resort’s Halloween Horror Nights 21 on October 6. And for the first time ever, five “lucky” fans will win the ultimate Ghost Hunters experience: the opportunity to walk through one of the event’s terrifying haunted houses with Tango and Gonsalves.

Fans just need to follow Halloween Horror Nights’ official Twitter handle, @UORHHN, for more information about this once-in-a lifetime opportunity. Winners will receive admission to Halloween Horror Nights, an RIP Tour of the event and the opportunity to experience a haunted house with the Ghost Hunters on October 6.

Tango and Gonsalves will also host a Q&A and autograph session that evening. Access to these sessions is included in regular admission to Halloween Horror Nights 21.

For 25 nights beginning September 23, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights returns as the nation’s best and most intense Halloween event. Guests will confront extreme Halloween entertainment that cannot be experienced anywhere else.  This year, they will scream as they become prey to fiendish creatures, panic as they come face-to-face with a horrifying “thing,” feel chills as they are haunted by deceased souls – and watch in paralyzing fear as Lady Luck transforms from a tempting seductress to a bloodthirsty beast.

WHEN            For more information on Halloween Horror Nights 21 and the “Ghost

& WHERE:     Hunters” appearance, visit www.halloweenhorrornights21.com.

                       

BUSCH GARDENS ANNOUNCES ALL-NEW EPIC ICE SHOW IN THE MOROCCAN PALACE THEATRE

Busch Gardens’ Biggest Ice Show To Date Will Take the Ice on February 2

TAMPA (September 8, 2011) — For more than five decades, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has set the industry’s standard for delivering unforgettable entertainment experiences, with Broadway-style stage spectaculars like KaTonga: Musical Tales From the Jungle and innovative ice shows like World Rhythms on Ice. This winter, the park will combine some of the most amazing aspects of its entertainment history and debut its biggest ice show to date: Iceploration takes the stage on Feb. 2, 2012.

Starting February 2, a cast of 20 brings to life an all-new adventure filled with world-class skaters, amazing aerial performances, master puppetry and live animal stars, with shows daily in the Moroccan Palace.

“The grand scale of Iceploration sets a new standard of entertainment that further solidifies Busch Gardens as one of Florida’s premier theme parks,” said Busch Gardens Park President Jim Dean. “This show reintroduces the ice show to our most loyal fans while bringing together the things Busch Gardens stage productions do best: world-class entertainment with top-notch skaters, amazing costumes, original music, larger-than-life puppets and even animal stars.”

Iceploration inspires audiences to “explore the world” on a 30-minute journey to the four corners of the earth. This multi-sensory story, told through theatrical skating and an all-new original score, is the collaboration of an award-winning creative team with Broadway credentials, including Tony Award-winning costume designer Gregg Barnes (The Drowsy Chaperone, Best Costume Design Tony winner 2007; Legally Blonde the Musical, Best Costume Design Tony nominee 2007).

The 30-minute show opens with Austin, a digital-savvy preteen, explaining how technology has made his generation more connected to the world than ever before. But his grandfather – and old-world explorer – argues that the boy is more disconnected than he realizes, and takes him on an adventure around the globe. Through their travels they visit the African Serengeti, Great Barrier Reef, the Arctic and the Amazon rainforest.

The adventure unfolds as they arrive in the African Serengeti. Here, larger-than-life puppets and spectacular set design bring elephants and other awe-inspiring animals to life at a watering hole. Solo and chorus skating performances accompanied by acrobatics tell an anecdote of an agile cheetah stalking graceful gazelles and meerkats.

Austin and Grandpa then dive into the Great Barrier Reef to explore the harmony of life on the ocean floor. An amazing black light transition and never-before-seen helium-filled puppets immerse the audience in the wonders of the sea, filled with parrotfish and lionfish, sea urchins, turtles and a moray eel.

In the Arctic, majestic skaters become striking snow flurries as a winter storm threatens the travelers. Austin and Grandpa witness even more beauty as they encounter the Aurora Borealis phenomenon, represented with theatrical lighting and projections. Then, they share the stage with amazing live animal stars, including a Siberian lynx and a sled of Siberian huskies as they continue to traverse the tundra.

Austin and Grandpa wrap up their adventure around the globe immersed in the lush, tropical Amazon Rainforest. Squirrel monkeys, sun conures and colorful macaws fill the air as playful frogs and a graceful dragonfly skate into the grand finale: a new signature song called “Meet the World.”

Construction has already begun to transform the Moroccan Palace into the icy new site for this ground-breaking show, as well as an exciting version of Busch Gardens’ classic holiday ice show. This holiday season, the Moroccan Palace will host Christmas on Ice with several shows daily from November 21 to January 1.

Iceploration performances are included with any daily park admission or annual Pass. For more information, visit BuschGardens.com

Over the next few months, Busch Gardens will be sharing more details about this amazing new show. If you’re not already a fan, “like” Busch Gardens Tampa Bay at facebook.com to get all of the latest updates. Or check out the park blog at BuschGardensTampaBlog.com to follow the progress up through the opening next year.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood - Maze Renderings!

·         La Llorona – According to legend, La Llorona is a woman doomed to wander the Earth forever consumed with the guilt of drowning her children and then herself. This spine-chilling maze takes you through the remains of a haunted Mexican village – and beware, for those who hear the screams of La Llorona are marked for death!



















  




·         Alice Cooper: Welcome to My Nightmare – This outrageous new maze will take guests through the twisted mind of shock rock legend, Alice Cooper. From razor-sharp guillotines to electric chairs where you can still smell the burning flesh of its victims, this new addition to Halloween Horror Nights is sure to shock you!

Tyra Banks Comes Face To Face with Halloween Horror Nights' Lady Luck at Universal Orlando Resort

Right before heading out on her five city "’MODELLAND’ Book Tour - A Fierce Experience!" Tyra Banks spent some down time at Universal Orlando Resort with her family over the Labor Day weekend. While there, Tyra came face-to-face with Lady Luck, the blood-thirsty seductress and force behind Halloween Horror Nights 21. Named “the country’s best Halloween event” for three years straight, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights will bring to life guests’ most intense nightmares for 25 nights this fall, beginning September 23. Banks and her family were hosted to experience both Universal Orlando theme parks while in town for a business visit.

Children's Authors & Illustrators Announced for ScholarShare Children's Book Festival

September 24 & 25, 2011  
------
Featured Author: Olympic Champion, Kristi Yamaguchi 

Another story is set to come alive at Fairytale Town during the 11th annual ScholarShare Children's Book Festival, a two day event  on September 24 and 25.  

In its 11th year, the ScholarShare Children's Book Festival features numerous activities including; dynamic presentations from children's authors and illustrators, story-telling performances, hands-on literacy activities, and information on literacy-based activities from various community organizations. Some of this year's featured children's book authors and illustrators at the event will include the following:  

KRISTI YAMAGUCHI, an Olympic champion and philanthropist who has been an inspiration to millions of fans around the world for her athletic achievements and continually giving back to the community. www.kristiyamaguchi.com

Presenting: Dream Big, Little Pig  Time:Saturday 3PM

ANN BOWLER has written many award winning children's books on multicultural and environmental themes. www.annmartinbowler.com

Presenting: All About Korea Time: Saturday 11:30AM

DIANNE DANZIG is an author, Registered Nurse, and educator for children welcoming baby brothers and sisters into their families to address the real questions, perceptions, and concerns of older siblings. www.BabiesDontEatPizza.com   Presenting: Babies Don't Eat Pizza Time: Sunday 2PM

SUE FLIESS is a Sr. copywriter for eBay, a freelance writer, a marketing consultant and children's book author. Her articles have appeared in Writer's Digest, Education.com, Travelmuse.com and Bay Area Parent Magazine. www.suefliess.com

Presenting: Shoes for Me!  Time: Saturday 1:30PM

JANIE HAVEMEYER writes narrative, nonfiction picture books for children, and is busy thinking about her next eccentric character whose story she wants to tell. www.goosebottombooks.com

Presenting: Catherine de' Medici "The Black Queen" 

Time: Saturday 1PM & Sunday 11AM

GRETCHEN MAURER has been published in Highlights Magazine, "The Discovery of Poetry" and the anthology "A Cup of Comfort for Mothers To Be" in addition co-writing an award winning screenplay. www.goosebottombooks.com

Presenting: Mary Tudor, "Bloody Mary" Time: Saturday 10:30AM & Sunday 1PM

BETHANIE MURGUIA worked as an art director for Hearst Magazines in New York. These days she can be found in Sausalito, California where she lives with her family. Buglette the Messy Sleeper is her first book as an author and illustrator. www.aquapup.com

Presenting: Buglette the Messy Sleeper Time: Saturday 2PM

MIRA REISBERG is an award winning illustrator of six children's picture books and co-author of award winning anthologies, Just Like Me and Honoring our Ancestors. www.mirareisberg.com

Presenting: Baby Rattlesnake Time: Sunday 12PM

JEFF SAVAGE is among the nation's leading writers of positive role model biographies for children. He has an award winning list of more than 170 books in print. www.jeffsavage.com

Presenting: Several books from his collection. 

Time: Saturday 12PM & Sunday 3PM

DASHKA SLATER is the author of children's picture books that have won widespread acclaim for their inventive language and vivid imagery. www.dashkaslater.com

Presenting: The Sea Serpent and Me Time: Sunday 2:30PM

NIKKI SMITH is a fourth grade teacher in Davis, California and with her love of reading has authored of her first children's book.www.nikkishannonsmith.com
Presenting: The Little Christmas Elf   Time: Saturday 11AM

VOICE OF THE WOOD is an educational performance group using sound effects, dramatic narration and masked movement. www.voiceofthewood.com

Time: Saturday 12:30PM, 3:30PM & Sunday 12:30PM, 3:30PM

Thanks to the generous support of ScholarShare College Savings Plan the two day event is free to the public; making it possible to host the largest early childhood literacy event in the Sacramento region. In 2010 the event hosted an astounding 13,000 attendees. ScholarShare commemorates September as College Savings Month by helping families plan for their children's academic futures.  

Special thanks to our event sponsors ScholarShare College Savings Plan, Wells Fargo, KVIE Channel 6, Mix96, The Sacramento Bee, Time Tested Books, IKEA, The River Cats Foundation, and Sierra Health Foundation.  This event will be film and broadcast by Access Sacramento on Cable Channel 17.  

Around Town

Take a trip around Fairytale Town and participate in literacy arts and crafts, explore the books at the book sale and fair. Visit with the community organizations listed below for hands-on literacy activities and more!
Participating Community Organizations: 916Ink, Arthur's Books, Crocker Art Museum, Discovery Museum Science & Space Center, KVIE Public Television,  Friends of the Sacramento Public Library, MartixArts, Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento Zoo, The California Museum, and more.   

Event Details

What: ScholarShare Children's Book Festival

When: Saturday, September 24 and Sunday, September 25, 10AM-4PM

Where:  Fairytale Town, 3901 Land Park Drive Sacramento, CA 95822

Cost: Free Admission

Contact Phone: (916) 808-7462

Web: www.fairytaletown.org

Monday, September 5, 2011

Universal Studios Hollywood Announces General Admission and Front of Line Tickets Now On Sale For Much-Anticipated “Halloween Horror Nights,” Taking Place Select Nights from September 23 to October 31

Universal City, California—Tickets are now on sale for “Halloween Horror Nights®,” taking place at Universal Studios HollywoodSM on select nights from September 23 through October 31.

            Tickets to this year’s event are available for purchase at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com/hhn, including a Front of Line ticket option that enables guests to enjoy priority entry at each maze and theme park attraction.  Advance purchase is recommended as event nights will sell out.

            John Murdy, Creative Director, “Halloween Horror Nights,” said: “We’re really excited about this year’s event. The caliber of filmmakers and artists working with us adds to the event’s authenticity.  The limited amount of Front of Line tickets we make available to our guests is really a great opportunity, and we hope they take advantage of this exclusive benefit.”

            This year’s terrifying event features a noteworthy six mazes bringing together unprecedented star power to create the definitive Hollywood horror “dream team” and craft the ultimate “live” Halloween nightmare.  The team includes an encore performance by multi-platinum recording artist and filmmaker, Rob Zombie, whose nightmarish 3D world of carnage and chaos, “Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses: In 3D ZombieVision” returns due to popular demand. Legendary rocker Alice Cooper, who single-handedly masterminded the rock-horror genre, will spin a new collection of disturbing horror imagery in the outrageous new “Halloween Horror Nights” maze, “Alice Cooper:  Welcome To My Nightmare.”

            Director, writer, producer and actor Eli Roth will bring his twisted movie to life in the spine-chilling new maze, “Eli Roth’s Hostel: Hunting Season,” which will feature props cast from Eli Roth’s personal collection of original “Hostel” movie props. In the new maze, “La Llorona:  Villa De Almas Perdidas” (“The Weeping Woman: Village of Lost Souls”), actor and director Diego Luna, will help re-imagine the fearful legend  of melancholy and murder that he was told as a child and has terrified Mexicans and Latin American children for generations.

            Working in collaboration with the filmmakers and featuring props cast from the original molds used in Universal Pictures’ upcoming thriller, “The Thing: Assimilation” maze will offer “Halloween Horror Nights” guests an unprecedented virtual three-dimensional sneak peek of the movie in advance of its release on October 14.   “The Wolfman:  The Curse of Talbot Hall,” inspired by the Academy Award®-winning Universal Pictures film, will round out the six new “Halloween Horror Nights” horror mazes.

            A frightening new backlot experience, “Terror Tram:  Scream 4 Your Life,” based on the latest installment of Wes Craven’s “Scream” film series, will unleash the iconic “Ghostface Killer” on Universal’s famed backlot, the heart of the world’s most famous horror moviemaking studio.

            Terror- filled “Scare Zones” and the ever-popular “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure,” will add to the nightmare.  The theme park’s favorite thrill-ride attractions will also remain open for “Halloween Horror Nights,” including “Jurassic Park® In the Dark,” “The Simpsons RideTM” and “Revenge of the MummySM – The Ride.”

Universal Orlando Resort Reveals Highly-Anticipated Details About Halloween Horror Nights 21 - The Nation's Best Halloween Event

YOUR FATE IS IN HER HANDS

Lady Luck Reigns Over
Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 21

The Country’s Best Halloween Event Returns with More Nights, Plus
All-New Haunted Houses, Scarezones and Shows

ORLANDO, Fla. (August 31, 2011) – You seek her… hoping she’ll be on your side.  She appears…an enchanting seductress…and you decide to take a chance.

But the more chances you take, the more she craves…you.  Her eyes grow cold.   Her face contorts into...something that is not human.  Her charming laugh turns to rabid growl.  Your luck has run out.  You have made your last choice.

For 25 nights beginning September 23, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights returns as the nation’s best and most intense Halloween event. Guests will confront extreme Halloween entertainment that cannot be experienced anywhere else.  This year, they will scream as they become prey to fiendish creatures, panic as they come face-to-face with a horrifying “thing,” feel chills as they are haunted by deceased souls – and watch in paralyzing fear as Lady Luck transforms from a tempting seductress to a bloodthirsty beast.

Lady Luck is the force behind this year’s event, and she awaits those brave enough to challenge her and take a chance.  Her main weapon is choice, and her desire is for you to make yours.  But no matter what you decide, you can’t escape the terror she has in store at Halloween Horror Nights 21.

Click here to learn details about the event and to see the real face of Lady Luck.

For a detailed listing of each haunted house, scarezone and show featured at this year’s event, see below.

Halloween Horror Nights runs September 23-24, September 29-30, October 1-2, 6-9, 13-16, 19-23 and 26-31.  Tickets and vacation packages are on sale now and can be purchased at www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando. Due to the event’s popularity, tickets for weekend nights are expected to sell out and should be purchased well in advance.

Guests can get updates and exclusive details on Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights on the event’s official Facebook page (www.facebook.com/halloweenhorrornightsorlando) and Twitter handle (@UORHHN). 

AN OVERVIEW OF HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS 21

EIGHT HAUNTED HOUSES

Nevermore: The Madness of Poe

The madness of Edgar Allen Poe’s greatest works has come to life.  Step into the mind of the iconic writer, where every turn of the page takes you closer to the brink of insanity.

The Forsaken

Four ships began Columbus’s fateful voyage, only three became legend. Condemned to a watery grave, the mutinous and cursed crew of that fourth ship has returned with a vengeance.  For within the walls of a Spanish fort, a maelstrom has brought from the depths....death itself.

H.R. Bloodengutz Presents: Holidays of Horror

Join creature feature host, H.R. Bloodengutz, in his final televised broadcast as he presents a SCARE-athon of holiday-based horror that is guaranteed to cleave you screaming for more.

The Thing

Paranoia spreads like an epidemic among a group of researchers in an isolated Antarctic outpost as they are infected, one by one, by a horrifying creature from another planet. In a place where there is nothing, they found something.

Saws N’ Steam: Into the Machine

Spinning blades and massive, crushing pistons await you around every corner as you are forced deeper into the bowels of a mechanical nightmare.  Give yourself to “The Machine.”

The In-Between

An ominous portal reveals a 3rd dimension where all is not what it seems: a realm where our world and another collide.  Surrounded by fiendish creatures, your eyes will deceive you with every step through this phantasm of terror.

Winter’s Night: The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetery

As snow falls on this normally serene gothic cemetery, the deceased souls that occupy its confines have their sights set upon you, insuring that the chill you feel up your spine is more than just the cold of night.

Nightingales: Blood Prey

Within every war, the Nightingales have appeared.  Able to transform themselves to fit any setting, these savage banshees feed on the weak and the helpless.  Patrolling WWI era trenches, you discover that you are more than just at war…you’re being hunted.

SIX SCAREZONES

Acid Assault

For decades now the city has been degrading from the effects of Acid Rain that still falls today, caused by factories which sprung up on the city’s edges during the 20th century.  Those that have lived and survived the blistering decay are all alone in the city. Survivors have stripped the city of all life to sustain their own…dare to enter the ACID ASSAULT.

Canyon of Dark Souls

Upon entering into the Canyon of Dark Souls, you will feel like a small spec of humanity as the overwhelming sense of death surrounds you. Creatures that dwell within the Canyon are not welcoming so walk slowly as to not disturb them.

Grown Evil

Enter, if you dare, into our garden where Evil grows. Nature has taken this once well manicured sanctuary back from the humans who once kept it.  Now the creatures that inhabit the garden are making any human that enters their prey.

NightMaze

Journey through the ever changing maze of darkness.  This all black maze will morph and change as you walk through it. You will not be scared the same way twice.

7

As daylight shines upon our Temptresses, their appearance, though evil, allows you the spectacle of beauty.  As night falls, these 7 temptresses will show their true colors and take on their true Fatal Evil forms. Beware of your own temptations.

Your Luck Has Run Out

Enter if you dare into the lair of the LUCKY!  Your choices will determine if you make it out alive. Witness lucks deadly wrath, will she choose you to be her next victim?

TWO LIVE SHOWS

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure

Party on as those two most excellent dudes return to skewer the biggest names in entertainment and pop culture.

Death Drums

A seductive, hard-hitting and raw extreme drumming experience. 

Kids Take the 1st Ride (and Drive, and Flight) at LEGOLAND Florida

(Driving) School is In Session!

Rides at LEGOLAND® Florida Receive All A’s

WINTER HAVEN, FL - Even though students are just getting back to the classroom, Central Florida’s newest theme park LEGOLAND® Florida has gotten its marks by the toughest critics – Kids! Scheduled to open to the public on October 15, LEGOLAND has more than 50 rides, shows and attractions all geared toward families with children ages 2-12. This weekend, the still-under-construction park invited twenty- two children and parents to be the first to ride four of LEGOLAND Florida’s rides.  They soared in flight, drove their own LEGO® cars, trekked an African safari and battled through an Egyptian treasure hunt.

Featured Rides Include:

· Flying School – a suspended steel coaster that lets kids experience the thrill of flight

· Driving School – a “real-life” driving experience for children ages 6 through 13, where kids receive their official LEGOLAND driver’s license

· Safari Trek – explores the wilds of Africa and features gorgeous, life-like LEGO animals

· Lost Kingdom Adventure – LEGOLAND Florida’s spectacular dark ride invites guests to fire laser blasters at targets and brave the rugged Egyptian landscape in all-terrain roadsters, while attempting to unearth the vast treasures of a forgotten empire

GIANT PANDA BAI YUN TO RETURN TO PUBLIC EXHIBIT AT SAN DIEGO ZOO

Researchers, Keepers and Veterinarians Conclude Pregnancy Monitoring

     Female giant panda Bai Yun will return to the north panda exhibit at the San Diego Zoo starting Wednesday, August 31, 2011. The 20-year-old panda has been off exhibit since breeding with panda male Gao Gao in April. For the last 19 weeks, animal care staff monitored Bai Yun's behavior and hormone levels, performed regular ultrasounds and gathered thermal images. After careful analysis of these data, researchers from the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research have determined that Bai Yun is not pregnant. They will continue to study all the data collected from this monitoring to find new insight into the processes of giant panda pregnancy.

     While there are many elements of panda pregnancies that still are not understood, it is accepted that after breeding, a panda's fertilized egg remains suspended in her uterus until it is cued to implant. The precise nature of this implantation cue is still unknown to scientists. Giant pandas routinely delay the implantation of the embryo as much as two to three months. After implantation the fertilized egg begins to develop. Impending birth is predicted on the basis of ultrasound images, as well as behavioral, hormonal and anatomical changes documented by the panda team.

     During this year's pregnancy monitoring, researchers saw increases in Bai Yun's progesterone levels that were typical of past pregnancies, and behavioral changes - activity levels and suppression of appetite - were seen at levels that were typical of prior gestation periods. Through thermal imaging, researchers were also able to see activity in both the left and right uterine horn. However, the ultrasound images never revealed a fetus and the reasons that this birthing season didn't yield a cub are yet unknown.

     Bai Yun and Gao Gao's breeding introductions appeared normal in April, and Bai Yun's behavior and hormone levels have not initially indicated that age was a contributing factor to the results of this breeding season. Medical exams of Gao Gao also offer no obvious age-related issues that would prevent conception. Researchers also tracked the levels of Bai Yun's cortisol levels over the last four months. Elevated cortisol levels can sometimes indicate stress; however, there was no increase in Bai Yun's cortisol levels that would suggest she experienced undue stress. All of the test results show that Bai Yun is an aging, healthy panda potentially capable of breeding in the next few years.

     Bai Yun was born at the China Center for Research and Conservation of the Giant Panda in the Wolong Nature Reserve on Sept. 7, 1991. She was the first panda to be born and survive at that breeding center. Bai Yun, who's name means "white cloud" in Chinese, arrived at the San Diego Zoo in September 1996 on a research loan. Over the years, she has produced five healthy cubs.