This weekend, it's time to celebrate with the party animals at CALM.

The California Living Museum is hosting a Birthday Bash in honor of its 36th anniversary on Saturday. It will be a day full of fun for both the animals and their human visitors.

Zoo manager Lana Fain said it's wonderful to celebrate another year at CALM.

"I was a visitor opening weekend in 1983, and we have come a very long way in a very short period of time," she said. "As zoos go, we are still very much in our infancy but through the continued support of this community, we are growing by leaps and bounds."

Since it's not a birthday party without cake, a few lucky animals will get their very own treat.

"The endangered California condors will be receiving birthday presents this year filled with the things condors like and the bears will be receiving their birthday cakes — also filled with everything bears love," Fain said. "We are still deciding on who will receive the third birthday presentation."

The birthday presentations also include Keeper Chats, so guests can learn even more about the animals. A fourth chat, about reptiles, will take place in the amphitheater.

Partygoers will have the chance to get up close to see the zoo's ambassador animals, which can include birds, mammals and reptiles, Fain said. 

"The docents will be out on the grounds with them and all you do is walk up and meet them," she explained.

By the entrance, a birds of prey area will be set up in the Trees of California, where guests can see them on their perches and talk to docents.

The party will also be a celebration for Smokey Bear's 75th birthday. Smokey himself, as well as the United States Forest Service, will be at the zoo for a few hours that day. The Bakersfield Police Department K-9 Unit will also be there for a presentation.

The Central California Children's Railroad will be up and running, with rides for $1.

Food for humans will be available for purchase from the Hunsaker Brothers booth. A portion of the proceeds there are always donated back to CALM, Fain said.

Best of all, admission is free for kids up to 12 years old (though they must be accompanied by an adult). 

People should go to the birthday bash "because this zoo belongs to this community," Fain said.

"Come out with the family, learn new things about nature-related organizations (and) California wildlife and support your zoo," she added. "As I always say, it won’t be a happy birthday without you!"

Kelly Ardis can be reached at 661-395-7660. Follow her on Twitter at @TBCKellyArdis.

(1) comment


[happybirthday] Congratulations on the successful growth of CALM. We were fortunate to have visited CALM many times while living in Bakersfield. Thanks to the staff and volunteers who, over the years, have put forth the time and effort to grow and maintain this asset to the families of Bakersfield and Kern County.

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