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Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Busch Gardens Tampa’s Famous Cheetah Cub Visits the Animal Care Center for His First Annual Exam

TAMPA, Fla. (April 19, 2012) – Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s famous cheetah cub, Kasi, visited the park’s new Animal Care Center today for his one-year check-up.

The 90-minute routine procedure included cleaning Kasi’s teeth, taking X-rays and using an endoscope to check out and take biopsies along his digestive tract. Kasi was under anesthetic during the procedure, and by early afternoon was awake and resuming his normal afternoon activities in his bedroom at the Cheetah Run habitat.

Kasi turned one year old in February, and recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of his relationship with his puppy pal, Mtani the yellow lab. During Kasi’s check-up, Mtani and her handlers watched from the guest side of the Animal Care Center’s Examination Room viewing window.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s Baby Cheetah and Puppy Pal Celebrate First Anniversary Together

Young Cat and Yellow Lab Made Their Public Debut on April 16, 2011

This week, Busch Gardens Tampa is celebrating a milestone anniversary for a very special relationship. Monday, April 16 marked the one-year anniversary of the first time park guests got to see an 8-week-old male cheetah cub and a 16-week-old female yellow Labrador puppy start to strike up a friendship that the park’s animal experts expect to last a lifetime.

The pair – later named Kasi and Mtani by park fans via a Facebook poll – spent only supervised play times together at first. Now, a year later, they live together full time at the park’s Cheetah Run habitat and even travel together to schools, events and television studios, helping the park’s education team teach the public about the plight of cheetahs in the wild and the importance of Busch Gardens’ conservation efforts.

Park guest can see Kasi and Mtani daily at Cheetah Run, where they spend a portion of each day playing together on the habitat, training with their keepers and exercising with the habitat’s lure system, designed to encourage the animals to do what cheetahs (and Mtani, too!) do best: run and chase.

Although this is Busch Gardens’ first cub-and-puppy combo, it is not uncommon in the zoological community for a single cheetah to be raised with a canine companion. “Male cheetahs are social and often live together in coalitions,” said Tim Smith, a zoo manager who works with the cheetah team daily. “This social bond will be a very similar relationship, and they will be together for life.”

Cheetahs are included on both the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list of vulnerable species as well as on the US Endangered Species Act list of threatened species. Only approximately 12,400 cheetahs remain in the wild.

Busch Gardens supports the conservation of and education about cheetahs through the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, which has donated nearly $100,000 to cheetah efforts in Africa since 2005 and also helps fund conservation programs for white rhinos, marine animals and many other species around the world.


CARLSBAD, Calif. (April 17, 2012) – Not only are guests entering LEGOLAND® California Resort getting a sneak peek at the construction of the nation’s first LEGOLAND® Hotel, but now anyone can watch from the comfort of their own home just by logging onto Powered by, the site shows two different angles of the 250-room hotel under construction from sun up to sun down, and gives viewers the ability to watch time lapse footage, compare days and zoom in and out of the site.

R.D. Olson Construction, the General Contractor hired to build LEGOLAND Hotel, installed the cameras in mid-December after the grading began and will keep the cameras on until the Hotel opens in summer 2013.

The three-story LEGOLAND Hotel is being designed to give guests the interactive family experience that has brought success to LEGOLAND California, SEA LIFE™ Carlsbad Aquarium and LEGOLAND® Water Park. Created to bring children’s imaginations to life, the LEGO® themed hotel will feature brightly colored, interactive LEGO décor, a pool and lounge area, patio, event space and buffet restaurant. LEGOLAND Hotel will be the first of its kind in North America and is designed for families with young children and will feature rooms and suites themed after the most popular LEGOLAND areas: Pirate, Kingdom and Adventure. To see examples of the three themes, receive the most recent updates on the Hotel and be the first to know when reservations are open, visit

Jackie Greene Live in Concert on August 18

Sacramento favorite Jackie Greene will return to Fairytale Town for a fourth annual benefit concert on Saturday, August 18. Taking place on the park's Mother Goose Stage, the outdoor concert supports Fairytale Town's education programs and park improvements. Gates will open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert will begin at 8 p.m.

Tickets will go on sale June 1 at Concert tickets are $25 when purchased in June; $30 in July; and $35 in August, while supplies last.

Seating will be intimate and limited, similar to an outdoor music festival. Blankets are encouraged; low stadium-style chairs with legs 10-inches tall or less will be permitted. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Outside food or beverages, including ice chests or picnic baskets, will not be admitted. Complete concert rules and restrictions are listed at

Greene has a reputation for putting on an energetic live show and has earned the respect of critics and musicians across the country. He has recorded seven albums of original work and recently released a book of lyrics. He has also been involved in many high-profile side projects and toured with well known musicians such as B.B. King, The Black Crowes, Willie Nelson, Huey Lewis and more. His music has been featured on many television shows including "Nurse Jackie" and "One Tree Hill."

For more information, visit or call (916) 808-7462.

Rare Leopards Pounce onto the Scene at San Diego Zoo

One of the world's most endangered cats leapt onto the scene for the first time in the San Diego Zoo's history. Three 11-month-old Amur leopards have not stopped pouncing, running and playing, except for cat naps, since they made their debut over the weekend.

     The siblings, two males, named Kushka and Primorye, and their sister, Zeya, arrived at the San Diego Zoo as part of an international conservation program aimed at saving this critically endangered species. Less than 40 Amur leopards have been documented in the wilds of the Primorye region of the Russian Far East. A few cats may cross the border into China. They were once found in northeastern China, Russia and the Korean peninsula but have been decimated by loss of habitat and poaching for their thick, spotted coats.

     Zoos around the world started a collaborative program to breed this species. Today, there are 300 Amur leopards in zoos in Europe, Russia and North America. Zoos in the United States have stepped up efforts to protect this species and are expanding their breeding programs. The trio that now lives at the San Diego Zoo may find new homes in the future as part of the breeding programs. The siblings arrived in San Diego from the Exotic Feline Breeding Compounds Feline Conservation Center in Rosamond, Calif.

     The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to bringing endangered species back from the brink of extinction. The work of the Conservancy includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and international field programs in more than 35 countries. In addition, San Diego Zoo Global manages the Anne and Kenneth Griffin Reptile Conservation Center, the Frozen ZooTM and Native Seed Gene Bank, the Keauhou and Maui Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Centers, San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike Breeding Facility, Cocha Cashu Biological Research Station, the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center, and a 800-acre biodiversity reserve adjacent to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.

Fairytale Town Showcases Animals & Agriculture at Fifth Annual Farms, Friends & Fairytales on May 19

Farmer Brown will showcase Fairytale Town's friendly barnyard animals at the fifth annual Farms, Friends and Fairytales program on Saturday, May 19, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This celebration of all-things agriculture features live sheep shearing, wool spinning, a mini-farmer's market, hands-on art activities and more fun for the whole family.

The highlight of the event will be a live old-fashioned sheep shearing. Fairytale Town's twin Babydoll sheep, Reading and Writing, will be sheared, and their wool will then be spun into yarn on a spinning wheel. Children and parents will also learn about the daily lives of some of Fairytale Town's rare and miniature animals.

Multiple agriculture-themed hands-on art activities will be stationed throughout the park. Children will also learn how to make their own ice cream. Plus, local area farms and organizations will be on hand to share their experience bringing agricultural products to market.

 "Most urban children do not have the chance to see live farm animals," said Kathy Fleming, Fairytale Town's executive director. "Fairytale Town is a unique environment where children can learn how animals contribute to society as well as represent the fairytales children know so well."

This program is made possible in part by generous sponsorships from Whole Foods Market and Farm Fresh to You. For more information, visit or call (916) 808-7462.
Event Details

What:  Farms, Friends & Fairytales

When:  Saturday, May 19, 2012

Time:  11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Park hours: Daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (weather permitting) 

Cost:  Free with paid park admission: $5 weekends and holidays, children 1 and under are free

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

Phone:  (916) 808-7462


San Diego Zoo Safari Park Celebrates History of Conservation with 40th Birthday Activities

   In May 1972, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park opened to the public, offering guests a chance to see animals in a new style of zoo - featuring large, open spaces and herds of animals.  Since its founding, the Safari Park has been heavily involved in the preservation of critically endangered species like the Arabian oryx, African elephant, California condor and cheetah.  To highlight both this significant anniversary and its conservation history, the Park is launching a special weekend of events highlighting Endangered Species Day (May 18).  The event, presented by Living Social, offers a host of activities themed around species conservation.

     "Being part of the national Endangered Species Day is an important part of our 40th birthday," said Bob McClure, director of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.  "Launching our celebration on this important day helps us draw attention to a key component of the work we do here at the Park, saving species at risk of extinction."

     Beginning on Friday, May 18, Joan Embery will launch the conservation - themed activities in a special ceremony.  For the next three days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), guests can enjoy fun activities for all ages to learn more about species conservation.

     Special activities include animal meet-and-greets and talks with national TV spokesman and Safari Park ambassador, Rick Schwartz, an endangered species scavenger hunt and 40th Anniversary Africa Tram tours highlighting endangered species.

     An additional highlight of the weekend will be the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Herbert Raffaele, chief of the division of international conservation, showcasing the U.S. Postal Service's fourth semipostal tiger stamp that benefits wildlife conservation. The Save Vanishing Species stamp will be available for sale at the Park. Proceeds of this sale go directly to conservation efforts for tigers and other species.

     "The Save Vanishing Species stamp offers the public a convenient way to save some of the world's most endangered animals, from African and Asian rhinos to the mountain gorilla to the leatherback marine turtle," said Raffaele. "Whether purchased for postage or as collector's items, this stamp makes it possible for those who cherish wildlife to become a partner in a global conservation program."

     Proceeds from the sale of the stamp will directly benefit the Wildlife Without Borders - Multinational Species Conservation Funds (MSCF), administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The MSCF program supports conservation efforts directed at certain endangered species worldwide considered to be of great importance to the American public and authorized by specific legislation. The five funds presently enacted by Congress are: the African Elephant Conservation Act of 1988; the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994; the Asian Elephant Conservation Act of 1998; the Great Apes Conservation Act of 2000; and the Marine Turtle Conservation Act of 2004.

     "Since 1989, the Wildlife Without Borders - MSCF program has awarded more than 1,800 grants through its programs for international wildlife conservation providing critical funding to save these endangered species. It has also been a pleasure to support the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research's international conservation efforts with our grants," said Raffaele.

     The 7th annual national Endangered Species Day is May 18, 2012. Endangered Species Day was first held in 2006, following a U.S. Senate resolution. The purpose of Endangered Species day is to emphasize the importance of preserving the nation's rare, threatened, and endangered animal and plant species, highlight success stories of species recovery, and demonstrate everyday actions that people can take to help protect our disappearing wildlife and last remaining open spaces.

     A project of the Endangered Species Coalition (The Endangered Species Coalition is a national network of hundreds of conservation, scientific, education, religious, sporting, outdoor recreation, business and community organizations working to protect our nation's disappearing wildlife and last remaining wild places.) Endangered Species Day 2012 is supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and National Park Service, along with a wide array of other organizations including National Audubon Society, San Diego Zoo Global, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, Garden Clubs of America, National Association of Biology Teachers, National Science Teachers Association, Boy Scouts of America, Earth Day Network and the North American Association for Environmental Education.

     Funding for wildlife conservation projects through Wildlife Without Borders is a $15.5 million suite of grants for wildlife conservation across the globe. For more information on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife Without Borders program, including detailed summaries of the 2011 grant projects for Latin America, the Caribbean, and other regions, visit

     Follow Wildlife Without Borders on Twitter @USFWSInternatl and on Facebook, USFWS_InternationalAffairs.

     The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel, and download photos from our Flickr page.

SeaWorld Orlando Rescues Injured Female Manatee Today in Vero Beach, Fla.

(April 10, 2012) Orlando, FL – SeaWorld's animal rescue team traveled to Indian River Shores, Fla., just north of Vero Beach, this afternoon to rescue a 10-foot manatee severely injured from a boat strike.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) were notified of the manatee’s injury by a private citizen, who then alerted SeaWorld Orlando of the animal’s need to be rescued. The injury is severe, and estimated to be a few weeks old. After an initial examination by SeaWorld’s animal care experts it was determined this manatee had several scars from previous boat strikes as well.

The adult female, weighing nearly 1,700 pounds, was transported to SeaWorld Orlando for further evaluation and care. At this time, her condition is stable. She’ll receive an extensive assessment tomorrow morning by SeaWorld’s veterinarian and animal care team.

SeaWorld's animal rescue team is on call 24/7 to save and care for injured, orphaned or ill animals. So far in 2012, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued seven manatees.


TAMPA, Fla. (April 10, 2012) – Join the fiesta at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay every Sunday, April 15 through May 6, during Viva la Música. Viva la Música features food, drink, music and fun for the entire family, bringing together live salsa and merengue performances from award-winning Latin artists, authentic arts and crafts, and regional Latin cuisine.

Florida’s oldest restaurant, The Columbia, will be serving two signature items from its award-winning Spanish/Cuban menu: The Original “1905” Salad and Paella de Pollo. Local favorite La Teresita, whose authentic cuisine and great prices attract fans nationwide, will offer a selection of its traditional Latin fare. You’ll also enjoy authentic dishes by Busch Gardens’ culinary team, including ropa vieja, papas and empanadas.

Viva la Música begins at 12 p.m. each Sunday, and the concerts start at 3 p.m. on Gwazi Field:

    April 15                Victor Manuelle

    April 22                Grupo Mania

    April 29                Dyland & Lenny

    May 6           Jerry Rivera           

Guests can reserve the best seat in house for their favorite acts with the Viva la Música VIP Ticket. The VIP ticket is $25.99 and includes a meal (entrée and any one item from a selection of side salads, side dishes or desserts, plus a regular-sized non-alcoholic beverage) at any Viva La Música food sampling area or Busch Gardens restaurant*, plus reserved seating at center stage. Reserved seating can also be purchased separately for $19.99. VIP tickets and reserved seating are available for sale online at and in-park at the Adventure Outpost store, located near the front gate. * Meal Certificate is valid at all restaurant locations except the full-service Crown Colony Restaurant.
Can’t decide which performance to attend? With a 2012 Fun Card, you can “pay for a day, play all year” and catch them all! The 2012 Busch Gardens Fun Card is valid from the date of purchase through Dec. 31, 2012 and is available at the Busch Gardens’ front gate, online at or by calling (888) 800-5447.

Viva la Música also takes the stage Saturdays at SeaWorld, visit for more information.


Summer Concert Series to Feature Six Nights of Electrifying Live Performances, Including Legendary Classic Rock Band ZZ Top and Multi-Platinum Rockers 3 Doors Down

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 10, 2012) – This June, Universal Orlando Resort’s 2012 Summer Concert Series will feature a diverse lineup of powerhouse performers, beginning with some of the biggest names in the music business. Orlando’s hottest summer event will kick off with live concerts by the talented cast of Nickelodeon’s hit TV series, “Victorious,” on Sat., June 9, and rock bands ZZ Top and 3 Doors Down on Sat., June 16.  Additional performing acts will be announced at a later date.

Cast of “Victorious” To Perform June 9

The cast of Nickelodeon’s smash hit TV series, “Victorious,” will get the party started at Universal Studios Florida on June 9. Theme park guests will also have the opportunity to preview upcoming episodes and participate in live Q&A sessions with members of the cast.  The event will culminate with an incredible music performance by the entire cast – including Victoria Justice, who plays the show’s main character, Tori Vega.

Currently in its third season, “Victorious” follows teenager Tori Vega as she navigates life at Hollywood Arts, a prestigious performing arts high school.  The show, a co-production with Sony Music, features original songs performed by Victoria Justice and the show’s ensemble cast.  The show’s first soundtrack, “Victorious: Music from the Hit TV Show,” debuted at the no. 5 spot on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart and features the show’s theme song “Make It Shine,” as well as the hit singles "Beggin' On Your Knees," "Freak the Freak Out" and "Best Friend's Brother."  For the month of March 2012, “Victorious” ranked as the #1 show across all TV with kids 6-11 and tweens 9-14.  Most recently, the series won the Favorite TV Show award at “Nickelodeon’s 2012 Kids’ Choice Awards.”

ZZ Top and 3 Doors Down to Perform June 16

On June 16, Universal Studios will be rocked by Rock and Roll Hall of Famers ZZ Top. With more than 25 million albums sold, the multiplatinum Southern rock legends have released classic rock staples such as “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Cheap Sunglasses” and “Gimme All Your Lovin’.”  Their album, “Eliminator” achieved diamond status, and ZZ Top’s worldwide success even earned a declaration of “ZZ Top Day” in Texas , the band’s home state. Named by VH1 as one of the “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock,” the band is currently working on their next album.

Also performing on June 16, alternative rock band 3 Doors Down will take the stage at Universal Studios. Originally from Mississippi, 3 Doors Down has scored 12 Top Ten singles, including “Kryptonite,” “Be Like That” and “Away from the Sun.” Their most recent album, “Time of My Life,” debuted in the top three on the Billboard 200.

Access to all Summer Concert Series performances is included with admission to Universal Studios Florida. On Saturday nights from June 9 to July 14, guests can top off their day of theme park thrills with a live performance by a top-name musical artist, such as the cast of “Victorious,” 3 Doors Down or ZZ Top.

For more information on this year’s event, visit

Two Tigers Born, Mark Milestone for Conservation at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Two Sumatran tigers were born on March 6 at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, marking the 24th and 25th birth of this critically endangered species since the Park opened in 1972.

     Only about 400 Sumatran tigers are left worldwide. They are the smallest of the tiger species, but once grown, males can weigh up to 220 pounds. The Safari Park is currently home to six Sumatran tigers and is fund-raising to build a new, forested tiger haven that will offer up-close views of these fascinating felines and highlight conservation efforts for the species. For more information visit

     The cubs are still too small to leave their den and are being attentively raised by their experienced mother, Delta. On Thursday, keepers gave Mom a short break to stretch her legs and get a little sun while they took the opportunity to socialize with the cubs. The 10- and 11-pound cubs are being desensitized to human touch in anticipation of vaccines and other necessary veterinary care.

     The cubs are only beginning to move around the den on their own paws. Keepers expect them to be more agile and ready to explore the outdoors in July.

     Tigers face many challenges in the wild, from loss of habitat to human-tiger conflict, but the biggest threat continues to be poaching. Tigers are killed by poachers, who illegally sell their body parts, mostly for folk remedies. People can help protect wild tigers by making smart consumer decisions to avoid products that harm tiger habitat and refusing to purchase items made from endangered wildlife.

     To learn more about tiger conservation visit the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Species Survival Program website at

Fairytale Town Troupers Open Fifth Season with "Alice in Boogie Wonderland"

The Elly Award-winning Fairytale Town Troupers will begin their fifth season with "Alice in Boogie Wonderland," a retro-campy send up of the classic Lewis Carroll tale filled with energy, music and plenty of dancing. The show will be presented on Saturdays and Sundays, Apr. 21, 22, 28 and 29, at 12:30 and 1:30 p.m.

In this original production, little Alice stumbles into Boogie Wonderland in pursuit of a white-suited rabbit and finds a mystical dimension populated by the oddest assortment of characters imaginable, including the Disco Queen of Hearts.

"Alice in Boogie Wonderland" features Lindsay Ball as Alice; Taryn Colburn as the White Rabbit; Arrin Graham as the Cheshire Cat; Kennady Cantrell as the Mad Hatter; and Miranda Drolet as the Queen of Hearts.

Performances will be held in the Children's Theater. Tickets are $1 in addition to paid park admission. Fairytale Town members receive two-for-one admission. Tickets can be purchased at the Fairytale Town box office or at the entrance to the Children's Theater.

The Fairytale Town Troupers is a unique theater arts program that teaches the essentials of live stage production in a practical rehearsal and performance format. Novices work side-by-side with seasoned veterans to gain invaluable hands-on experience in the art of producing live theater. The Troupers program is open to young actors ages 5 to 18 as well as college interns and adult volunteers ages 18 to 21.

Original productions for the Fairytale Town Troupers are written and directed by Fairytale Town's resident theater arts educator, John E. Lee, an award-winning local playwright, director and actor.

The Troupers' fifth season will continue with "Sinbad & Aladdin: The Arabian Knights!" in July and "A Princess of Stars Episode 3: Return of the Trilogy!" in August.

For more information, visit or call (916) 808-7462.


Knott’s Berry Farm will be a stop on the Anaheim Resort Transportation Service

Buena Park, CA – It just got a little easier to visit the Farm.  Starting April 4, Knott’s Berry Farm, one of Southern California’s most popular tourist destinations, will become part of the Anaheim Resort Transportation service or ART.  The service which has been in operation for 10 years transports over 3 million guests annually between 65 local hotels as well as the Disneyland Resort entertainment complex, Anaheim Stadium, Honda Center, Anaheim Metrolink Station, and the shops at GardenWalk on sixteen different routes.

            With the addition of the two new routes, service will expand to include stops at Knott’s Berry Farm, Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, Pirates Dinner Adventure and the California Welcome Center in the City of Buena Park and the Discovery Science Center and the WestField Mainplace mall in the City of Santa Ana.  In addition to transporting guests to top tourist destinations in Orange County, ART also provides an important community resource by transporting residents who live and work in the Anaheim Resort area, and will now service the Buena Park and Santa Ana residents as well.

            “Knott’s Berry Farm is thrilled to be included on the expanded ART route.  Taking away the anxiety of how to get to a destination makes everyone’s experience more positive. The Anaheim Resort Transportation system will not only benefit tourists to the area but also assist Knott’s employees as well,” said Raffi Kaprelyan, Knott Berry Farm’s general manager.

            Knott’s Berry Farm welcomes over 3 million guests from all over the world and offers not only a first-class theme park but a waterpark, Knott’s Soak City, and a resort hotel, the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel.

Fairytale Town Hosts Read-Aloud Workshops for Teachers & Parents

Fairytale Town will host educator Francie Dillon for two upcoming workshops on simple and effective read-aloud techniques. Dillon will present "Giving Voice to Children's Literature" for teachers on Wednesday, Apr. 25, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., and for parents on Wednesday, May 2, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The workshops include one hour of play in the park and a one-hour presentation.

The workshops cover seven tangible techniques for interpreting stories and engaging young audiences. The easy-to-use techniques can be utilized both by teachers in the classroom and parents in the home.

"Everyone knows it is important to read to children," said Kathy Fleming, executive director of Fairytale Town. "But for some of us, it can be a struggle to keep reading aloud fun and engaging, for both ourselves and children. Francie Dillon's techniques make reading and learning fun for everyone."

An adjunct professor at Sacramento State University, Dillon is a nationally recognized educator and artist. Her efforts in promoting language, literacy and the arts have reached over 125,000 elementary students regionally and thousands of children and families statewide. Dillon's talents can also be heard throughout Fairytale Town on the park's Magic Storybook Boxes, which feature Dillon's original songs, recitations of classic nursery rhymes and more.

Both workshops are free, but advance registration is required. To register, email These workshops are made possible by Target.

For more information, visit or call (916) 808-7462.


Universal’s Superstar Parade Will Be A First-Ever Interactive Entertainment Experience;

Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular Dramatically Showcases Powerful, Emotional Moments from Modern Film

Orlando, Fla. (April 3, 2012) – Universal Orlando has set a joint grand opening date for two new spectacularly entertaining guest experiences.  The new Universal’s Superstar Parade and Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories will have their grand opening on May 8.

Both experiences follow this year’s re-opening of The Blue Man Group Show, the re-launch of The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and the opening of the new Hollywood Drive-In Miniature Golf experience at Universal Citywalk.  They will be followed by this summer’s launch of Universal Orlando’s newest blockbuster ride – Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.

Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories will present some of the world’s best and most popular films in an innovative, high-tech symphony of imagery, light, sound and special effects.  The show highlights some of the most fun, dramatic, awe-inspiring moments from nearly 200 films – representing approximately 300 Academy Award nominations and 100 Academy Award winners.

Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor and Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille honoree Morgan Freeman, Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular celebrates Universal Pictures’ most iconic films. Their most powerful moments will be shown in crystal-clear clarity on cutting-edge waterfall screens within the Universal Studios lagoon -- surrounded by colorful, dramatically synchronized fountains and pyrotechnics and all against a powerful musical score.  The experience will take guests on an emotional journey through epic cinematic moments filled with heroes, horror, laughter, good vs. evil and triumph. The new show will run year-round except during annual and special events.

Universal’s Superstar Parade will offer an entirely new form of interactive entertainment that will give guests and entire families the opportunity to join in the fun.  Some of today’s most beloved characters and stories will bring new adventure to the streets of Universal Studios during the parade, an all-new show experience that features larger-than-life floats, state-of-the-art technology and hundreds of energetic street performers. Guests will get to sing and dance along with their favorite characters including the minions from the blockbuster animated feature Despicable Me, E.B. from the hit comedy, Hop, Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora & Diego. Guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy performances and character meet-and-greets prior to the parade at select locations throughout the day.

SeaWorld Orlando Now Caring for Orphaned Sandhill Crane Chick

(April 3, 2012) Orlando, FL – SeaWorld Orlando’s Aviculture team recently received the first sandhill crane chick of the year -- an orphan, brought in by a concerned resident from St. Cloud, Fla.

Once SeaWorld’s veterinarians thoroughly examined the bird, it was determined to be in perfect health. However, at an estimated 3-4 days old at the time it was brought into SeaWorld’s care, it was simply too young to survive on its own. The chick was then paired with a rescued adult crane, in order to learn the specific crane behaviors essential for life in the wild.

While sometimes difficult for orphaned chicks to be tolerated by older cranes that are not familiar with them, the adult crane accepted the orphaned chick, which is now thriving. Eric Reece, SeaWorld’s Supervisor of Aviculture, adds, “The chick is doing fantastic. It’s eating on its own and gaining weight”.
It is the intent of SeaWorld’s Aviculture team to return both cranes to their natural habitat together once the chick has fledged, or grown the feathers necessary for flying.

SeaWorld's animal rescue team is on call 24/7 to save and care for injured, orphaned or ill animals. So far in 2012, SeaWorld Orlando has taken in 11 rescued cranes.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Knott’s Berry Farm will be a stop on the Anaheim Resort Transportation Service

Buena Park, CA – It just got a little easier to visit the Farm.  Starting April 4, Knott’s Berry Farm, one of Southern California’s most popular tourist destinations, will become part of the Anaheim Resort Transportation service or ART.  The service which has been in operation for 10 years transports over 3 million guests annually between 65 local hotels as well as the Disneyland Resort entertainment complex, Anaheim Stadium, Honda Center, Anaheim Metrolink Station, and the shops at GardenWalk on sixteen different routes.

            With the addition of the two new routes, service will expand to include stops at Knott’s Berry Farm, Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, Pirates Dinner Adventure and the California Welcome Center in the City of Buena Park and the Discovery Science Center and the WestField Mainplace mall in the City of Santa Ana.  In addition to transporting guests to top tourist destinations in Orange County, ART also provides an important community resource by transporting residents who live and work in the Anaheim Resort area, and will now service the Buena Park and Santa Ana residents as well.
            “Knott’s Berry Farm is thrilled to be included on the expanded ART route.  Taking away the anxiety of how to get to a destination makes everyone’s experience more positive. The Anaheim Resort Transportation system will not only benefit tourists to the area but also assist Knott’s employees as well,” said Raffi Kaprelyan, Knott Berry Farm’s general manager.

            Knott’s Berry Farm welcomes over 3 million guests from all over the world and offers not only a first-class theme park but a waterpark, Knott’s Soak City, and a resort hotel, the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel.


Busch Gardens Welcomes New Baby Aardvark

 Tampa, Fla. (March 30, 2012) – Busch Gardens welcomed its newest resident earlier this week: an adorable aardvark born Monday, March 26. The healthy baby weighs about 4.8 pounds and is expected to grow to more than 120 lbs. within its first year.

It is currently living behind the scenes at Jambo Junction – located in the Nairobi area of the park – and is receiving care from members of the animal care team. The baby will join mom “Izzy” and dad “Friz” in the upcoming weeks and will be an Animal Ambassador for the park, along with its older brother “Zawadi,” who will be a year old on April 10.

There are fewer than 40 aardvarks in zoos in North America. They are solitary by nature, and aardvark births are not common.

Stay tuned to Busch Gardens’ Facebook and Blog to find out when this healthy baby aardvark will make his public debut at Jambo Junction for guests to see. For further details, visit

LEGOLAND® California Invites Make-a-Wish Child to Cut Ceremonial Ribbon Opening New LEGO® STAR WARS™ Gallery

March 29, 2012 (Carlsbad, CA) -  Seven-year-old Phillip Engdahl from Escondido used a lightsaber alongside LEGOLAND® California’s General Manager Peter Ronchetti to cut the ribbon opening LEGO® Star Wars™ Gallery during an official ceremony today at the family theme park in Carlsbad. Engdahl was just one of 22 children from Make-A-Wish Foundation who were invited as special guests to be the first to see the new area which is a part of the expanded LEGO® Star Wars™ Miniland.

Stormtroopers, Han Solo, Yoda, Obi Wan Kenobi and other members of the 501st Legion of Stormtroopers and Rebel Legion were part of the ceremony which unveiled LEGO Star Wars Gallery featuring large-scale LEGO minifigures from each episode. Each LEGO model is 3-feet-tall and displayed on a podium for guests to get an up-close look. The 12 characters feature: Wicket, Princess Leia, R2-D2, Clone Captain Rex, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Anakin Skywalker, Boba Fett, Chewbacca, Yoda and Darth Maul. Another LEGO Darth Maul model is being introduced honoring the release of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace in 3-D. He is life-sized, posed in a combat position grasping his double-bladed lightsaber and created out of more than 25,000 LEGO bricks.

“LEGO Star Wars Miniland proved so successful last year with our guests, we knew we had to expand it,” said Ronchetti. “The LEGO Star Wars Gallery is just icing on the cake to the additional details that have been added to each of the seven scenes in LEGO Star Wars Miniland. Our Model Builders, Animators, Technicians and Maintenance Team have done an incredible job bringing the popular saga to life!”

LEGO Star Wars Miniland includes a scene from each of the six live-action Star Wars movies, as well as a scene from the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars™ all made out of more than 1.5 million LEGO bricks and built in 1:20 scale. New LEGO models in each scene include an amazing “underwater” scene featuring an opee sea killer as it pursues Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn and Jar Jar Binks as they try to reach the city of Theed. Other new LEGO models include a Jawa sandcrawler on Tatooine; Rebels caught in a net trap set by Ewoks on Endor; and a new Crystal Tower standing more than 6-feet-tall on Christophsis.  

The fun for guests continues this weekend with LEGO Star Wars Days! On March 31 and April 1, the park will feature out-of-this-world fun activities including a Droid Hunt with the 501st Legion, Star Wars Costume Contest, Jedi Trivia, eight-foot LEGO Yoda Build, Star Wars T-shirt Contest and more. For the first time, the LEGO® Star Wars experience is continuing through April 15 with additional Star Wars™ activities for guests to enjoy.  For more information, visit

Actor Richard Gere and Wife Carey Lowell Visit Universal Orlando Resort

On March 29, 2012, Golden Globe award-winning actor Richard Gere and his wife, Carey Lowell, vacationed at Universal Orlando Resort. During their hosted visit, the couple experienced iconic theme park attractions, including The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, The Simpsons Ride and Revenge of the Mummy, and explored The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Gere is best known for iconic films such as “Pretty Woman,” “An Officer and a Gentleman” and “Chicago” and stars opposite Susan Sarandon in the upcoming film, “Arbitrage.”


Earlier this morning, SeaWorld Orlando released a rehabilitated, sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle back into the waters of the Canaveral National Seashore in Titusville, Fla.

The sea turtle was found on the beach in Indialantic, Fla. and was brought to SeaWorld Orlando on Dec. 21, 2011, highly emaciated, lethargic and covered in leeches and barnacles. The sea turtle was also suffering from digestive issues, possible pneumonia and small shell wounds.

Upon arrival at SeaWorld, the sea turtle immediately received antibiotics and was closely monitored by the SeaWorld Aquarium Team.

This year, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued 11 sea turtles, and released five. For 45 years, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has helped animals in need -- ill, injured and orphaned.  More than 20,000 animals have been rescued by our experts.‪ SeaWorld’s animal rescue team is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ‪

To help protect this threatened species, make sure fishing line and all trash is disposed of properly. When fishing, use new "circle" hooks - sea turtles are less likely to swallow the circle-shaped hooks than traditional J-shaped, which cause suffocation or internal bleeding when swallowed.  Also, if a sea turtle’s nest is seen, please contact authorities.

LEGO® Star Wars™ Models Revealed For First Time As Model Builders Prepare For Grand Opening of LEGO® Star Wars™ Gallery and LEGO® Star Wars™ Miniland Expansion

CARLSBAD, Calif. (March 27, 2012) – LEGOLAND® California’s Master Model Builders, Gary McIntire and Ryan Ziegelbauer, installed a new LEGO® model of a Jawa sandcrawler in LEGO® Star Wars™ Miniland today as the family theme park prepares to reveal the expanded area to the public on March 29. The giant Jawa sandcrawler, featured in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope is made up of more than 15,000 LEGO bricks and weighs more than 50 pounds. Other new LEGO models being introduced include: the ion cannon in the Rebel base on the planet Hoth; a towering Crystal City building in Christophsis and the giant opee sea killer on Naboo.

In the new LEGO® Star Wars™ Gallery, guests will be further immersed into the Star Wars experience as they walk through, encountering large-scale LEGO minifigures from each episode. Each LEGO model is 3-feet-tall, constructed of approximately 10,000 bricks and displayed on a podium for guests to get an up-close look. The 12 characters feature: Wicket, Princess Leia, R2-D2, Clone Captain Rex, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Anakin Skywalker, Boba Fett, Chewbacca, Yoda and Darth Maul.

Guests can also enjoy new scenes in LEGO Star Wars Miniland from the six live-action Star Wars™ movies, as well as one from the animated series Star Wars: THE CLONE WARS™ all made out of more than 2 million LEGO bricks and built in 1:20 scale.


Buena Park, CA – Knott’s Berry Farm, known for their fresh and flavorful food, will be offering an expansive brunch this Easter.  On Sunday, April 8, Knott’s chefs will be preparing a buffet for guests that will have something for every member of the family from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. 

    The Knott’s Easter Brunch will include a breakfast station featuring made to order omelets, Belgium waffles, and cheese blintzes with Boysenberry sauce.  The carving station will be presenting roasted turkey, honey glazed ham, and prime rib carved to order.  Hot buffet items will include filet of salmon, sweet hickory pork ribs, old fashioned apple stuffing, cheese enchiladas, vegetarian lasagna and of course, Mrs. Knott’s famous fried chicken.  Holiday specialties will include bunny face cupcakes, carrot cake, decorated Easter egg cookies and Easter basket favorite – jelly beans! Knott’s Easter Brunch also includes unlimited champagne.

    Guests to Knott’s Easter Brunch can choose their location – Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, Spurs Chophouse or Wilderness Dance Hall, all of which will be decorated for the holiday.  Knott’s Easter Brunch prices are $29.95 for Adults, $22.95 for Seniors (65+) and $16.95 for Children (3-11).  Book your reservation early by calling (714) 220-5055.  Brunch guests will also be able to purchase an all-day park admission ticket for only $19.99 per person. 
    For more information on all Knott’s has to offer, visit


Florida’s Biggest Christian Music Festival Returns With Some of Christian Rock’s Hottest Bands, Featuring Performances
by Skillet, Newsboys, Switchfoot, Jeremy Camp and More

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 26, 2012) – On September 7 and 8, some of the most exciting bands in Christian rock will come together for Rock the Universe 2012 at Universal Orlando Resort – Florida’s biggest Christian music festival.

\This year’s line-up features some of the most popular names in Christian rock.  More than a dozen hit bands will take the stage, including Skillet – which was awarded a Billboard Music Award for “Top Christian Album” in 2011; four-time Grammy-nominated band Newsboys; rock group Switchfoot, which has sold millions of albums worldwide; and three-time Dove award winner Jeremy Camp. The full line-up is below.

Friday, September 7
Saturday, September 8
Jeremy Camp
Relient K
Britt Nicole
Family Force 5
tenth avenue north
Robert Pierre
Rhett Walker Band
Group 1 Crew
Group 1 Crew
We As Human
We As Human
**Names in bold indicate headlining acts.

Guests will also enjoy an exciting FanZone presented by Coca-Cola including live music by up-and-coming acts Everfound and We As Human, autograph sessions with the bands, karaoke and band merchandise.  Guests will also experience a Saturday night candle lighting service featuring Tenth Avenue North , guest speakers and more. 

Plus, guests will enjoy the thrilling attractions only found at Universal Studios Florida.  They can rock out to hit songs at 65 mph on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, laugh along with America ’s favorite animated family on The Simpsons Ride and speed through the darkness on the world’s first psychological thrill ride – Revenge of the Mummy.  

For more details about Rock the Universe 2012, visit or call 1-866-RTU-INFO (1-866-788-4636).

Butterfly Jungle Opens Saturday at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

  The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has added thousands of animals to its collection this week, and all of them are gorgeous-butterflies! Butterfly Jungle opens on Saturday, March 24, and runs through Sunday, April 15, 2012.

     As part of Butterfly Jungle, the Safari Park has transformed the walk-through aviary of Hidden Jungle into a temporary home for 30 species of beautiful and exotic butterflies. In the aviary, thousands of delicate and colorful insects surround guests, fluttering lightly through the warm air to find flowers to feed on.

     "Butterfly Jungle heralds the start of spring at the Safari Park," said Michael Mace, the Safari Park's curator of birds. "It's one of the most popular events we hold all year."

     The delicate creatures not only enchant guests but make ecological sense. They come to the Safari Park in the pupae stage from Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. Mace has been to some of the butterfly farms in Central America and met with the farmers.
     "If they weren't harvesting butterflies, many of these farmers would clear cut their land and plant crops or raise cattle," Mace said. "Instead, when they harvest butterflies, they leave the land in its pristine state."

     People headed for Butterfly Jungle should wear bright-colored clothing to increase the chances of butterflies landing on their clothes or hats. When the insects do land, guests should enjoy the close encounter, but don't touch. And don't forget to pick up a timed Butterfly Jungle ticket! New this year, guests can use identification cards in the exhibit that will help them determine the names of many of the species.

     Butterfly Jungle is included with admission to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

SeaWorld Orlando Caring for Two Hawksbill Turtle Hatchlings

SeaWorld Orlando animal rescue team received two hawksbill turtle hatchlings earlier this week.  They are approximately two months old.

The first was found at Melbourne Beach by a tourist and was dropped off at the Sea Turtle Preservation Society in Melbourne Beach, Fla. It weighs only 2 ounces and is nearly 3 inches long. The turtle was in lethargic and weak condition when it arrived (photos 12 and 16)

The second turtle was found in Cocoa Beach and also brought to the Sea Turtle Preservation Society. It weighs 2.5 ounces and is just over 3 inches long.  (photo 17)
This turtle was covered with algae and fauna, as seen in the photo.
Both hatchlings were brought to SeaWorld for examination and continued care, including, feeding, giving fluids and around-the-clock observation and monitoring.

Because of their age and size, they’re living in a small brooder where the temperature is kept at a constant 84 degrees. They are in the water several times throughout the day but also spend time dry in order to conserve their energy. The turtles are taken home in their brooder each night by a turtle expert (aquarist) for middle-of-the-night feedings.

It’s a tough journey ahead but both turtles are looking better and are showing positive signs.
Hawksbill turtles are endangered due to human exploitation and habitat degradation.   
This year, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued 10 sea turtles and released three.  For more than 45 years, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has helped animals in need -- ill, injured and orphaned.  More than 20,000 animals have been rescued by our experts.‪ SeaWorld’s animal rescue team is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ‪

Fairytale Town Presents A Midsummer Night's Dream & Crystal Ice Cream Fantasy on June 9

Annual fundraiser features fairy fun, live music, food and more

Tickets on sale May 1

A Midsummer Night's Dream and Crystal Ice Cream Fantasy, Fairytale Town's popular fairy-themed fundraiser and ice cream social, will return on Saturday, June 9, from 6 to 10 p.m. Inspired by Shakespeare's famous play, this enchanting evening features nonstop entertainment for the whole family, including costumed performers, fanciful arts and crafts activities, live music, food and all the Crystal Ice Cream one can eat.

Celtic-rock band Tempest will perform throughout the evening. Since forming in 1988, the band has won rave reviews for their musical hybrid of high-energy folk rock with Irish reels, Scottish ballads, Norwegian influences and other world music elements. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, the act has released 15 critically acclaimed albums and played more than 2,000 gigs.

Multiple arts and crafts activities will be stationed throughout the park, and old-time vendors will be on hand to offer their traditional wares. Guests can also sample different Crystal Ice Cream flavors throughout the evening. Costumes for the entire family are strongly encouraged.

John Frisch, regional managing director at Cornish and Carey, and Monica Woods, News 10's chief meteorologist, will serve as the evening's hosts and honorary king and queen. Taking on the roles of Oberon and Titania, the king and queen of the fairies in Shakespeare's play, Frisch and Woods will kick off the event and greet guests. Mix 96's Jennifer Wood will emcee the event.

"The Shakespeare-inspired festivities combined with Fairytale Town's playful environment makes A Midsummer Night's Dream and Crystal Ice Cream Fantasy an event that adults and children will enjoy," said Marci Reynolds, event chair and Fairytale Town board member. "The event brings all ages together in support of the park and its programs and improvements."

Tickets go on sale May 1 and are $15 for adults and $5 for children ages 2-12 in advance. Day-of tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 2-12. Children ages 1 and under are free. Tickets will be available for purchase at beginning May 1.

Proceeds from A Midsummer Night's Dream and Crystal Ice Cream Fantasy support Fairytale Town's programs and park improvements.

The title sponsor of the event is Crystal Ice Cream, produced by Foster Farms Dairy. Additional sponsors include Mix 96 Radio, Downey Brand LLP, Sacramento Credit Union, Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP, the Lerseth Family, KVIE Television, Jordan Blair, Sacramento Coca Cola, Scott Naake Paper Products, Securitas Security Services, the Gartner Family, Otto Construction, Wendy Holmquist and Jeff Chenu, and Gilbert Associates, Inc.

For more information, visit or call (916) 808-7462.

Event Details

What:  A Midsummer Night's Dream & Crystal Ice Cream Fantasy

When:  Saturday, June 9, 2012

Time:  6 - 10 p.m.

Cost:  Advance Tickets: $15 for adults, $5 for children (ages 2-12), free for children 1 & under

   Day-of Tickets: $20 for adults, $10 for children (ages 2-12), free for children 1 & under

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

Phone:  (916) 808-7462



San Diego Zoo Giant Panda Duo Pair Up for Endangered Species Conservation

     Over the weekend, female giant panda Bai Yun began to exhibit signs of estrus and was paired with male Gao Gao on Sunday and again on Monday at the San Diego Zoo. Although the pair showed interest in each other on Tuesday, it did not lead to another coupling. In 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009, the results of this match led each time to the birth of a single cub.

     The giant panda team, made of zookeepers, veterinarians, nutritionists, scientists and others, will monitor Bai Yun's behavior over the coming months, looking for signs of a possible pregnancy. If this week's breeding attempts successfully lead to a pregnancy, it would make 20-year-old Bai Yun the oldest-known female giant panda to give birth. If this occurs, a cub could be born in late summer or fall.

     Unfortunately, the 2011 breeding season was not fruitful. Last year, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research scientists observed increases in Bai Yun's progesterone levels typical of past pregnancies, and behavioral changes, such as activity levels and suppression of appetite, at levels similar to prior gestation periods. Thermal images last year revealed activity in both the left and right uterine horns; however, ultrasound images never revealed a fetus nor was a cub born.

     Bai Yun's behavior and hormone levels did not indicate that age contributed to a failed pregnancy in the 2011 breeding season. Medical exams of Gao Gao also offer no obvious age-related issues that would prevent conception. Because both pandas are in good health and both exhibited signs of breeding interest, the panda team allowed the pair to mate this year.

     Bai Yun has delivered five cubs at the San Diego Zoo. In 1999, her first cub, Hua Mei, became the first giant panda conceived by artificial insemination in the Western Hemisphere and the first in the United States to survive to adulthood. Four of Bai Yun's offspring are now in a breeding program in the People's Republic of China. Her fifth cub, Yun Zi, remains at the San Diego Zoo.

     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 the breeding center. Bai Yun, who's name means "white cloud" in Chinese, arrived in San Diego in September 1996 on a research loan. Gao Gao, a 20-year-old rescued, wild-born giant panda, arrived at the San Diego Zoo in January 2003 from China after reintroduction efforts failed to keep him out of areas inhabited by humans.

     The San Diego Zoo is one of four zoos in the United States with giant pandas. The Zoo began its long-term giant panda conservation partnership with the China in 1996 to study this endangered species. As part of this long-term program, the Zoo is collaborating with the Chinese Academy of Science in studies of behavior, ecology, genetics and conservation of wild pandas living in the Foping Nature Reserve.

Sun Shines on Debut of Rhino Calf at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

After a weekend of rain, blue skies finally made an appearance, just in time for the debut of a 2-month-old, greater one-horned rhinoceros at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

     The female calf named Charlees, Hindi for Charlie, was born on Jan. 20 to first-time mother, Alta. The pair spent the first two months in a boma where Charlees could bond with her mother before the calf could meet the remainder of the seven-member, greater one-horned rhino herd.

     The calf and mother came racing out of the boma, stopped to say hello to the other rhinos and continued trotting along the 40-acre Asian Savanna habitat where the calf saw other species for the first time including a large bovine called a gaur.

     Once widespread in Southeast Asia, the greater one-horned rhinoceros is now found only in India and Nepal. Numbering approximately 2,800, this species is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In 2011, the poaching of wild rhinos increased exponentially, reducing populations of this species as well as black, white, Javan and Sumatran rhinoceros.

     Charlees is the 61st greater one-horned rhino born at the Safari Park since 1975, making the Park the foremost breeding facility in the world for this species. The Park is also the first facility in the Western Hemisphere to have a successfully reproducing group of third- and fourth-generation rhinos of this species.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park Aflutter with Prep for Butterfly Jungle

  Hundreds of plants full of succulent nectar are arriving in the Hidden Jungle aviary at the same time that hundreds of pupae are emerging into gorgeous butterflies in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park hatching room. This week, the Park is aflutter with preparations for one of the biggest events of the year: Butterfly Jungle, which opens Saturday, March 24, and runs through Sunday, April 15, 2012.

     Once a year, guests at the Safari Park are enchanted and spellbound as thousands of butterflies flitter around them in the walk-through aviary. But all that magic doesn't happen without a lot of work. Eight months ago, the Safari Park staff began growing some of the plants that will sustain these fragile creatures.  Hundreds of the 30 species of butterflies that will inhabit Hidden Jungle are emerging each day.

     The Park's horticulture staff replaces 200 to 300 plants of a dozen varieties each week of the event to make sure the flowers are fresh and full of nectar for the butterflies. The plants need to be in the peak of their bloom before going into Butterfly Jungle, and the skill of choosing the plants at the perfect time has been handed down from horticulturist to horticulturist for years.

     "The plants provide a wonderful nectar source for the butterflies that sustains their lives," said Cary Sharp, the Safari Park's curator of horticulture.

     Butterfly Jungle is included with admission to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.


A loggerhead turtle that swallowed a 4 inch-long fishing hook was released today
Just weeks after SeaWorld veterinarians removed a 4 inch-long fishing hook from its throat, the rehabilitated loggerhead turtle returned home to the waters just south of Cocoa Beach this morning.

The turtle, a sub-adult weighing approximately 100 pounds, was rescued from the intake canal at the St. Lucie Power Plant in St. Lucie County, Fla. The animal arrived at SeaWorld Orlando February 26 and immediately underwent surgery following x-rays and blood work procedures. Vets removed a 4-inch-long fish hook, and after a speedy recovery, the turtle was released back into the wild.

The loggerhead was found by the Inwater Research Group - an organization committed to the research and conservation of coastal species and habitats – who also assisted in the animal’s transport.

According to SeaWorld veterinarians, the fishing hook was one of the largest the team has removed to date. To help protect this threatened species, make sure fishing line and all trash is disposed of properly. When fishing, use new "circle" hooks - turtles are less likely to swallow the circle-shaped hooks than traditional J-shaped, which cause suffocation or internal bleeding when swallowed.  Also, if a sea turtle’s nest is seen, please contact authorities. 

This year, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued nine sea turtles. For 45 years, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has helped animals in need -- ill, injured and orphaned.  More than 20,000 animals have been rescued by our experts.‪ SeaWorld’s animal rescue team is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ‪

Kathy Ireland Takes a Spin at Universal Orlando Resort

Supermodel Kathy Ireland visited Universal Orlando Resort, and we snapped a photo as she experienced a highly-visual attraction in Seuss Landing.

Koala Babies Receive First Medical Exam

Less than a year old and barely out of each mother's pouch, two young joeys visited the San Diego Zoo veterinary hospital today for their first routine medical exam.  The two youngsters, named Thackary and Milo, were born last year in the Zoo's koala colony.  Both babies are doing fine and received clean bills of health.

     "Here at the San Diego Zoo we have seen instances of hip dysplasia in koalas," said Geoff Pye, D.V.M, veterinarian at the San Diego Zoo. "We try to do exams on koala youngsters at an early age so we can watch and ensure that they do not have problems as they get older."

     The San Diego Zoo's koala colony is the largest group of this species outside of Australia.  They are currently not available for guest viewing due to construction of the Zoo's newest koala habitat, the Conrad Prebys Australian Outback, scheduled to open in spring 2013. The Australian Outback will immerse both koalas and guests in a eucalyptus forest surrounding a classic Aussie Queenslander-style house that will serve as a care center. People can find out more about the project or help support it by visiting


Universal Orlando Resort officially opened central Florida ’s newest and most outrageously-themed miniature golf experience– Hollywood Drive-In Golf at Universal CityWalk. Featuring two 18-hole courses based on classic drive-in era horror and sci-fi movies, this all-new venue is the only place where the entire family can enjoy teeing off through the open mouth of a giant space worm or the basement laboratory of a towering haunted house.

To celebrate the grand opening, some of Universal Orlando’s iconic characters “hit the links.” Universal’s classic monsters – including Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster and the Bride of Frankenstein – putted their way through a creepy cemetery on “The Haunting of Ghostly Greens” course. On the opposite side, Men In Black agents and Frank the Pug played “Invaders from Planet Putt” – a course themed after the “little green men” science fiction films of the 1950s.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spider-Man Co-Creator Stan Lee Talks about The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal Orlando Resort

Fairytale Town Presents Summer FunCamps for Children

This summer, Fairytale Town offers more than 15 exciting and innovative educational camps for children ages 3 through 12. Each weeklong FunCamp is designed for a specific age group and features a unique theme. Camp themes range from the visual and theatre arts, literature and puppetry to animals, gardening and more. Children can explore new areas of interest or dive deeper into their favorite topic. New themes explore the theatre and culinary arts and creative writing techniques.

FunCamps are $130 per camp, and registration opens April 1. Visit to register. Fairytale Town members receive advance registration and camp discounts.

For more information, visit or call (916) 808-7462.

Children Ages 3 - 4

Got Tots?

Monday - Friday, June 11 - 15

10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
In this joint parent and toddler FunCamp, parents lead their toddlers through specific routines and play interactive games designed to help children transition into class and group settings. Instructor: Kelsee McHann.

Children Ages 4 - 6

Farmer Brown's Junior Farmers

Monday - Friday, Jun. 18 - 22 & Aug. 13 - 17
9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Farmer Brown introduces campers to the daily regimens that keep Fairytale Town's friendly flock of farm animals fit and healthy. Campers will get to know these barnyard buddies while learning historical information and participating in related hands-on activities. Please note: Campers will have direct contact with Fairytale Town animals and animal feed. Some children may be allergic to the natural oils found in animal fur/hair and feed. Instructor: Jim Hernandez.

Earthworks Garden FunCamp

Monday - Friday, Jun. 25 - 29 & Jul. 23 - 27
9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Fairytale Town offers plenty of green-thumb fun in this gardening camp. This FunCamp covers the basic essentials of home gardening with a focus on environmentally "green" practices. Campers will also receive an up-close perspective on Fairytale Town's own unique gardens and plants. Instructor: Trina Lee.

Little Artists

Monday - Friday, Jul. 9 - 13 & Aug. 6 - 10
9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

This camp introduces the world of art and basic art concepts to budding artists. Campers participate in a wonderful week of art projects featuring wall-to-wall drawing, cutting, pasting and painting in a relaxed environment. Topics include primary and secondary colors, drawing, sand art and patterns. Instructor: Elizabeth Vang.

Puppet Palooza

Monday - Friday, Jul. 16 - 20
9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Every story can be told with puppets! This FunCamp teaches students the original nursery rhymes and fairytales that inspired the play sets at Fairytale Town. Campers are then encouraged and inspired to retell the classic tales using puppets they create. Each day brings a new story! Campers will make a variety of puppets, including paper bag, sock and marionettes. Instructor: Kayla Willett.


Monday - Friday, Jul. 30 - Aug. 3
9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Channel your inner rock star in this rockin' FunCamp! This camp features hands-on experience with several instruments, including guitar, bass, drums and keyboard. Campers will also explore rock 'n' roll history and participate in rock-related art activities. RockSchool is perfect for beginning musicians, but no previous experience is necessary. Please note: This FunCamp gets loud! Instructor: Sean Iwata.

Ages 6 - 12

Write Now!

Monday - Friday, Jun. 18 - 22
1 - 4 p.m.

Fairytale Town proudly presents a brand new creative writing FunCamp! Aspiring authors who wish to strengthen their storytelling skills will find a happy haven of literary enthusiasts packed with plenty of artful advice, energetic exercises and freestyle fun. The camp will cover fiction, non-fiction, prose and poetry. Instructor: April Peletta.

Zap! Boom! Pow! Comic Book Basics

Monday - Friday, Jun. 25 - 29
1 - 4 p.m.

The perfect FunCamp for budding artists who want to draw, draw and draw some more. A special emphasis is placed on dynamic anatomy, character development and sequential storytelling techniques referencing characters and profiles from the golden and silver ages of comics. Campers will have the option to create their own comic book or a freestanding art piece to display in a "comic book convention" setting. Instructor: John Lee.

Curtains Up!

Monday - Friday, Jul. 9 - 13
1 - 4 p.m.

Fairytale Town presents a new theatre arts FunCamp that emphasizes creative playmaking onstage, offstage and backstage. Curtains Up stresses the technical aspects of theatre, including scriptwriting, costume design and set and prop construction. Students will write, design, produce and perform their own short play in one fast-paced, fun-filled week. Instructor: Daphne Burgess.

Sing! Sing! Sing!

Monday - Friday, Jul. 16 - 20
1 - 4 p.m.

Young singers will learn to hit the high notes in this musical, magical FunCamp. This camp features plenty of one-on-one instruction as well as introducing group choral techniques. This camp is perfect for beginning crooners or seasoned song stylists who wish to hone their craft. Instructor: Kelsee McHann.

Kitchen Chemistry

Monday - Friday, Jul. 23 - 27
1 - 4 p.m.

Cooking is just the tip of the iceberg in this unique new FunCamp. Campers will learn nutritional basics and explore the science and history of food preparation through a series of fun hands-on experiments utilizing "Kitchen Chemistry." Please note: Campers will not be using a stove or cooking with an open flame. Instructor: Pat Peck.

Young Picassos

Monday - Friday, Jul. 30 - Aug. 3
1 - 4 p.m.

This FunCamp covers the exciting variety found in the world of art! Campers will try their hand at different art media, including watercolors, prints, clay and mixed media. Campers will also explore making 3-D works of art and creating with found objects. This camp is specifically designed for the young artist who wants to try it all. Instructor: Andy Graham.


Monday - Friday, Aug. 6 - 10
1 - 4 p.m.

A beginning theatre arts FunCamp that emphasizes important life skills--including self-expression, public speaking, teamwork and self confidence--through a variety of exercises and theatre games. Campers will be introduced to pantomime, diaphragmatic breathing and the works of William Shakespeare. A talent show featuring group-led activities and individual performances will cap off the week. Instructor: John Lee


Monday - Friday, Aug. 13 - 17
1 - 4 p.m.

Channel your inner rock star in this rockin' FunCamp! This camp features hands-on experience with several instruments, including guitar, bass, drums and keyboard. Campers will also explore rock 'n' roll history and participate in rock-related art activities. RockSchool is perfect for beginning musicians, but no previous experience is necessary. Please note: This FunCamp gets loud! Instructor: Sean Iwata.


The Biggest Mardi Gras Party Outside of the Big Easy Continues Saturday, March 10

WHAT: This Saturday night, guests are in for a big-time treat as Nickelodeon’s hottest music group Big Time Rush takes the stage at Universal Orlando Resort’s Mardi Gras celebration.

With millions of fans worldwide, Big Time Rush is one of today’s biggest names in music and entertainment. Their debut album “BTR” sold more than 500,000 copies and debuted at No.3 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. The group has sold more than 1.7 million digital tracks of their hit singles which include “Boyfriend,” “Big Night” and “Worldwide.” Their current album, “Elevate,” debuted in November 2011 and features the hit single “Music Sounds Better With U.”

Universal Orlando ’s Mardi Gras combines unparalleled theme park entertainment with an elaborate Mardi Gras parade, dozens of colorfully costumed performers, authentic New Orleans bands, delicious Cajun cuisine and live concerts by some of today’s most popular artists. This ultimate street party runs every Saturday and select nights through April 14.

This year’s Mardi Gras celebration features one of Universal Orlando’s most powerful and diverse musical line-ups ever. With a combined total of more than 350 million albums sold, guests are rocking out this spring to some of the biggest names in music during an authentic and family-friendly version of the famed New Orleans street party. For full headliner line-up, see below.


Mardi Gras Event Dates
Headliners (Performing in the Music Plaza )

Saturday, March 10
Big Time Rush

Friday, March 16
J. Cole

Saturday, March 17
Sugar Ray

Friday, March 23
Hot Chelle Rae

Saturday, March 24

Friday, March 30
Plain White T’s

Saturday, March 31
Prince Royce

Saturday, April 7
Cyndi Lauper

Saturday, April 14
KC & The Sunshine Band

Universal Orlando ’s Mardi Gras celebration is included in regular admission to Universal Studios Florida. For more information, visit

Major Manta Milestone at SeaWorld: Last Section of Coaster Track Installed!

LEGOLAND Florida Hosting Girls' Event - LEGO Friends Weekend - 3/24-25

Central Florida’s Newest Theme Park Hosting LEGO® Friends Weekend – March 24-25, 2012

Winter Haven, Fla. (March 5, 2012) – The newly introduced LEGO® Friends - Olivia, Andrea, Stephanie, Emma and Mia –are coming to LEOGLAND® Florida to host a weekend of fabulous fun geared to girls March 24-25, 2012.  A first-ever event, LEGO Friends Weekend is a daytime party that includes a LEGO Friends building event, live entertainment, games and activities. This event celebrates girls and their personal individuality, just like the LEGO Group’s newest line of construction toys.

Event details include:

·         Olivia’s Girls Just Wanna Build

o   Girls can get empowered and inspired to build masterful LEGO creations with an opportunity to meet Master Model Builder, Adora.   Once the building bug has taken hold, girls (and boys!) can build a portion of a Heartlake City LEGO model.

·         Andrea’s Heartlake Café

o   The Market Restaurant will be transformed into the iconic Heartlake Café. In front of the restaurant guests will be able to sing their heart out with a karaoke performance.

·         Stephanie’s Lakeside Party

o   Guests will be able to dance till dusk at the end-of-day LEGO Friends dance party.

·         Emma’s That’s So You Fashion Show

o   Saks Fifth Avenue is putting on the glitz to show ways to transform girls into their favorite LEGO Friend.

·         Mia’s Mad About Animals Scavenger Hunt

o   Kids will hunt through the historic Cypress Gardens using clues to find Mia’s favorite animals. Once completed, guests will turn in their list at the LEGO Friends Shop to receive a prize.

Participation in LEGO Friends Weekend is included in park admission. The best way to experience the entire LEGOLAND Florida special event series and cool off at the LEGOLAND Water Park attraction is with the LEGOLAND Premium Pass, $179 for adults, $149 children.

American Idol Winner Scotty McCreery at SeaWorld Orlando's Bands, Brew & BBQ

American Idol reigning champion Scotty McCreery recently performed at SeaWorld Orlando’s Bands, Brew & BBQ where he met an anteater who tried to convince him that eating ants with bbq sauce prior to the concert was a great energy booster. No word from McCreery if he took the anteater’s advice.

Busch Gardens' Cheetahs Run Tropicana Field for New "Saving A Species" Documentary

Animals from Busch Gardens’ Newest Habitat Filmed Running Across the St. Pete Stadium for New Conservation Program

Tampa, Fla. (March 5, 2012) – On Friday, March 9, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment (SEA)will broadcast the most recent installment of its Saving a Species series, which features some of Busch Gardens Tampa’s most popular new residents – the cheetahs – and St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field.

With the stadium closed to outside visitors and the turf marked for the St. Petersburg Bowl football game, the cheetahs were encouraged to run the length of the field, chasing a lure system identical to the one in their Cheetah Run habitat. The cats’ efforts were captured by high-definition and slow-motion cameras.

“ Even though we have this awesome habitat at Busch Gardens, a 100-yard football field will give us the opportunity to showcase what that speed looks like on a field that people can relate to ,” said Tim Smith, a Busch Gardens assistant curator who works with the cheetahs daily.

Saving A Species: Cheetah
From its breathtaking speed to its beauty and vulnerability, the cheetah’s story will bring you face to face with their fragile existence. We’ll introduce you to people around the globe who are working on behalf of this imperiled predator and explain how you can help keep cheetahs from disappearing forever.

The 25-minute program is available to teachers and broadcasters free of charge. It will be broadcast without commercials from 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. (first 15-minutes are color bars) on Friday, March 9. Satellite coordinates, copyright information and web-quality preview segments are available at In the coming months, the site will also be adding educational materials to complement the episode – including instructional videos, activity descriptions and teacher’s guides – for elementary and middle school teachers.

Shamu TV’s Saving a Species

Shamu TV’s Saving a Species series features amazing animal stories close to home and around the world.  With a focus on wildlife and wild places, this Emmy award-winning series enables viewers to trek alongside Busch Gardens and SeaWorld animal experts to visit exotic, remote locations and experience some of our planet’s most extraordinary species.  Viewers will also witness how people – scientists, zoological experts, community members, educators and children – are working together to protect these species and the places they call home.

Airing via satellite, Shamu TV is broadcast by local educational cable channels, ITV and PBS stations throughout the United States.  Shamu TV has received a Daytime Emmy Award for best Children/Family/Youth special and eight regional Emmy awards for Outstanding Achievement/Children’s Programming, as well as four Telly awards in the Educational Programming category.

Expansion At Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark Means More Summer Jobs

Schlitterbahn is now accepting online applications to hire more than 600 seasonal staff members to fill summer jobs.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Schlitterbahn Waterpark is currently accepting online seasonal employment applications for the 2012 season. With a huge expansion that includes Kansas City’s only surf ride, a mammoth rapids river, two head-first mat slides, a totally enclosed dark tube slide, a fast-flow tube chute and ride-up Aqua Veyer, the park will hire more staff members than ever before.

More than 600 seasonal employees are needed to fill open positions which include food and beverage personnel, lifeguards, cashiers, retail assistants, maintenance workers, landscaping crew and more. Potential staff members should be at least 16 years of age and able to work throughout the summer months, including weekends and evenings.

“We are excited about assembling our largest summer team to date as we prepare to introduce a long list of great new attractions and other guest amenities for the 2012 season,” said Keith Fontenot, general manager for Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark. “We strive to offer our staff members the best work experience and a competitive compensation plan, including an end of the season bonus program.”

Those interested in job opportunities are encouraged to apply online in the Jobs section at starting Monday, March 5. Online applications may also be submitted in person Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Staff Services office at 1709 North 98th Street, Kansas City, Kansas 66111. Once an application is submitted, it is reviewed by Schlitterbahn staff and applicants are contacted to schedule interviews.

Schlitterbahn Waterparks is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. Please email for more information or questions regarding employment.