Wednesday, May 4 , 2016, 12:34 pm | Fog/Mist 57º

Zoo’s Elephants to Pick Super Bowl Winner; Fox to Predict Winter Weather

By Julia McHugh for the Santa Barbara Zoo |

The Santa Barbara Zoo’s elephants and golden lion tamarins will make their Super Bowl predictions on Saturday.

Sujatha and Little Mac will emerge from the elephant barn at 10:45 a.m. to find two large boxes filled with treats — one painted blue for Seattle Seahawks, the other orange for Denver Broncos. Which will the pachyderms pick?

At 2:30 p.m., the golden lion tamarins will choose between orange and blue paper bags, both containing yummy mealworms. Golden lion tamarins are small monkeys that are endangered in their Brazilian rainforest habitat.

Kids who correctly predict the animals’ preferences get prizes. A handout reveals fun facts about ospreys (a kind of sea hawk) and horses.

On Sunday at 11 a.m. sharp, Santa Barbara Beau the Channel Island fox, the zoo’s answer to Punxsutawney Phil, makes his prediction for the upcoming weather.

If he picks the frozen treat, it’s six more weeks of winter weather, which in Santa Barbara may be what local residents would prefer, given the drought. But if it’s the squirming mealworms, six more weeks in paradise. Prizes are given to kids who predict which Beau chooses. Guests receive handouts with fun facts about Groundhog’s Day and animals that hibernate or migrate in winter.

Channel Island foxes are only found on the islands of their name, which are visible from the zoo on a clear day.

These events are free with zoo admission. For more information, click here or call 805.962.5339.

— Julia McHugh is the director of public relations for the Santa Barbara Zoo.

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