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Great Outdoors
Creatures Of The Night


Nocturnal Animals Come Alive After Dark at Moonridge Animal Park


Ear piercing howls fill the night sky. Claws scamper and scurry through fallen leaves. A pair of glowing eyes stares directly into a beam from a flashlight. These are just some of the sights and sounds guests witness after dark at the Moonridge Animal Park’s Flashlight Safaris. As dusk sets in this fall in Big Bear Lake certain animals’ nocturnal instincts take over at the Moonridge Animal Park, which provides an engaging exhibition for people to learn about these creatures of the night. Flashlight Safari tours start Saturday, October 1 and continue every Saturday through November 12. Some of the animals that come alive after dark include mountain lions, bobcats, foxes, raccoons, skunks, beaver, black bear, owls, coyotes and wolves.

“This zoo turns into a party of sorts. We get the coyotes howling at one end of the zoo, which in turn triggers the wolves to howl back, making it an absolute howling fest,” said Moonridge Animal Park Curator Debbie Richardson. “Then we hear the owls hooting, foxes scratching and mountain lions chirping. There’s a lot more activity happening at night, that’s for sure.”

The Flashlight Safaris begin in the education center where guests learn about the biological makeup and heightened senses of nocturnal and crepuscular animals such as the rods in their eyes that enable them to capture light when it’s dark or the color of their fur that blends with nighttime lighting creating a natural camouflage. From there the curator or other park staff lead the tour group through the confines of the zoo with flashlights to point out various nocturnal behaviors.

Flashlight Safari tours are a great way to celebrate Moonridge Animal Park’s 51st Anniversary of providing sanctuary and rehabilitation for orphaned and injured alpine wildlife. The park has over 160 animals on display. More than half of the animals are nocturnal or crepuscular, which means guests are in for a show.

Flashlight Safaris are held at Moonridge Animal Park, located at 43285 Goldmine Drive in Big Bear Lake, every Saturday starting October 1 to November 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. Patrons have up to 7 p.m. to join the tour. Doors close promptly at 7 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults and $6 for seniors and children ages 3-10, children under 3 are free. Guests are encouraged to bring flashlights and wear warm clothes. To learn more about the Moonridge Animal Park or further information about Flashlight Safari Tours visit www.moonridgezoo.org or call (909) 584-1299.
For all there is to see and do in beautiful Big Bear Lake, make lodging reservations or request a free Visitors Guide log on to www.bigbear.com or call (800) 4-BIG-BEAR (800-424-4232).

About Moonridge Animal Park:
Moonridge Animal Park (MAP) is the only zoological facility in San Bernardino County, and one of only two alpine zoos in the United States. The difference is MAP is mostly dedicated to alpine wildlife that has been impacted by humans. MAP has always been a wildlife rehabilitation center and sanctuary for injured, orphaned, and endangered alpine species until they can be returned to their natural habitat. MAP is open year round, weather permitting. Permanent “residents” include a family of Grizzly bears, bobcats, wood bison, wolves, mountain lions and a snow leopard, as well as dozens of smaller native alpine wildlife, such as foxes, porcupine, raccoons, eagles and a variety of other birds. Both guided and self-guided tours are available and provide an excellent first-hand look into mountain wildlife and the delicate balance of nature.
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