FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Wild Zoo Halloween has been a tradition at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo for around 44 years. For every weekend in October, kids – and adults – can enjoy special activities with a little holiday flare.
“Halloween is a fun time. It’s fun to get a little spooky, but being the children’s zoo we’re a little more merry not scary,” Kyle Etheridge, the zoo’s Events and Sales Manager, said. “We have the fun nostalgia elements every year, but we also change it up a little bit and bring something new.”
The fun décor and hundreds of pumpkins fill the zoo every day, but the Wild Zoo Halloween events are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays in October. The main events are free with zoo admission. This year, there will also be a free magic show every Saturday at 11 a.m. in the Australia Plaza.
A princess brunch on October 21 is also new this year. That event requires another ticket. Click here for more information on the Princess Brunch.
The popular adults-only summer concert series Rock & Roar will also wrap up with a costume party on October 20. Click here for ticket information.
It can be tricky to get the zoo all ready for Wild Zoo Halloween.
“It’s a time crunch,” Etheridge explained. “Pumpkins need to be fresh to last an entire month and need to stay on the vine as long as possible. So, we’re bringing in pumpkins the week-of. We have a short window to get the zoo ready and spookified, but we have a great team that does a really awesome job getting the zoo set up.”
There are several hundred – eight pallets worth – of pumpkins and gourds and several hundred bails of straw all throughout the zoo.
“All of our supplies you see are from local farmers from our pumpkins to our gourds to our corn to our straw. All that is locally grown,” Etheridge said.
Some of the straw is stacked and decorated to depict animals found in the zoo.
“We change those every year and we try to theme those with animals in the zoo. We have a great team that puts those together and it’s fun for guests,” Etheridge said.
There are also ten trick-or-treating stations. Kids and adults are encouraged to wear costumes. Each weekend has a different theme:
October 14 & 15: Superheros
October 21 & 22: Pirates and Princesses
October 28 & 29: Witches and Wizards
“Kids, adults, come on out. It’s going to be a great time. Wear your costumes and join in on the Wild Zoo Halloween fun,” Etheridge said.
The zoo’s open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until October 29.