Pixel Tracker

Saturday, March 23 , 2019, 8:21 am | A Few Clouds 46º


Princess Weekend Regals Royalty — And Frogs — at Santa Barbara Zoo

March 23-24 event focuses on saving amphibians

Boys and girls in costume meet princesses and amphibians.
Boys and girls in costume meet princesses and amphibians. (Courtesy photo)

Frog kissing is optional but a schedule change was required for the Santa Barbara Zoo’s Princess Weekend, which is now set for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 23-24. Santa Barbara Zoo members only are allowed early admission at 9 a.m.

At the event, young females of royal birth don tiaras, step into their glass slippers, and wear their finest sparkly ball gowns to this celebration of all things princess.

But it’s not all dress-up. Princess Weekend also is designed to bring attention to the world’s many frogs, toads and other amphibians that face possible extinction.

Attendance at Princess Weekend is free with zoo admission: $18 adults, $13 seniors aged 65 and up, $11 children ages 2-12. Parking is $11. For more information, visit www.sbzoo.org.

The date change is due to newly scheduled Cabrillo Boulevard closure for vintage car races.

Princess Weekend highlights include a Kiss-a-Frog booth, face painting, bounce house, crafts and activities, all with a princess theme. DJ Hetick will spin tunes for an expanded dance party, and makeovers are available for the young princesses from Santa Barbara City College Cosmetology Academy.

Activities are held at the Cabrillo Lawn area, adjacent to the Cats of Africa exhibit area. Real princesses like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, along with mermaids, fairies and other fairytale characters, will be present.

A princess will lead Story Time, and the zoo’s live show, featuring Duncan the T. Rex and his friends, is princess-themed.

Costumed boys are welcome, be they dressed as knights, princes, cowboys, pirates or astronauts. Live animal encounters and keeper talks focus on several of the zoo’s amphibians including milky frog, marine toad, blue tongue skink, caiman lizard, and Western toad.

Guests can also learn about and join FrogWatch USA, in which citizen scientists are trained to identify and count frogs and toads in local wetlands, creeks, or other habitats.

During the breeding season — February to August — these volunteers listen for the croaks, peeps, trills, and other calls of common species and report their findings, which go into a national database. The commitment is just three minutes twice a week. Visit www.sbzoo.org/frogwatch-usa/.

Created by the Santa Barbara Zoo in 2009, versions of Princess Day have been staged at other organizations accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) including the Georgia Aquarium, Houston Zoo, Franklin Park Zoo (Boston), Calgary Zoo, Grand Rapids Zoo, Oregon Zoo,
and Knoxville Zoo.

What do sparky crowns have to do with frogs?

“There has been a shocking drop in populations of the world’s amphibians,” said Santa Barbara Zoo CEO Rich Block. “If only there was a fairy godmother with a magic wand to fix the problems they face.

"In the absence of that, accredited zoos and aquariums are working to address the issues in the wild, and are creating temporary captive ‘lifeboats’ of some of the most threatened species.”

Estimates are that at least one-third of known amphibian species are threatened with extinction, a rate higher than that for birds or mammals.

While the major culprits historically have been habitat loss and degradation, the main challenge today is the rapidly dispersing infectious fungal disease chytridiomycosis, which is causing population and species extinctions at an alarming rate.

AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are committed to ensuring the survival of all amphibian species and are already an active force in amphibian conservation. For more information, visit www.aza.org/amphibian-conservation/.

For more about the Santa Barbara Zoo, visit www.sbzoo.org.

— Julia McHugh for Santa Barbara Zoo.


Support Noozhawk Today!

Our professional journalists work tirelessly to report on local news so you can be more informed and engaged in your community. This quality, local reporting is free for you to read and share, but it's not free to produce.

You count on us to deliver timely, relevant local news, 24/7. Can we count on you to invest in our newsroom and help secure its future?

We provide special member benefits to show how much we appreciate your support.

I would like give...
Great! You're joining as a Red-Tailed Hawk!
  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Dianne and Brianna Johnson
Dianne and Brianna Johnson
"We are committed to making our clients feel special by providing the concierge level service they deserve."

Full Profile >

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >