Santa Maria Sun / Art
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 16
Monkey aroundThe newest Santa Barbara County Fair exhibit brings the rainforest to the Fairpark
BY SHELLY CONE
The Santa Barbara County Fair will swing into town this month, and so will a few hairy friends—and furry ones, and feathery ones, and hopping ones. One of the newest exhibits this year will bring the rainforest to the Santa Maria Fairpark July 11 to 15.
Pacific Animal Productions lead keeper, Karla Majewski, said they’ve brought some animals in different groupings to the Santa Barbara County Fair in the past, but 2012 marks the first time Pacific Productions has been able to bring the Rainforest Adventure.
“If people have liked the animals before, then they will really like them this time,” Majewski said.
The exhibit will feature such rainforest animals as monkeys, binturongs, macaws, parrots, boa constrictors, and tree frogs. In all, 35 species will be on display with plenty of opportunity for hands-on exploration. Visitors will be able to walk through the exhibit and feel like they’ve stepped into another world.
“It’s an amazing rainforest adventure, from the canopy to the forest floor,” Majewski said.
Along with the exhibit, daily shows will extol the virtues of the rainforest and how each animal shares an important role. Animals and insects—like tree planters, pollinators, and insect eaters (which help control the insect population)—keep the rainforest ecosystem in balance. And while corn dogs and education seem an unlikely pairing, Majewski said she’s glad to offer it.
“Our niche seems to be fairs. They embrace us, which is cool,” she said. “It’s an unlikely place to learn about the rainforest. People go in for food and rides and learn about the rainforest, but we’re happy to do that.”
Pacific Animal Productions also does birthday parties, school functions, and other events, but fairs are the most common. The animals and exhibits generally tour fairs throughout the summer months. But such treks are large undertakings—especially the exhibit that will be coming to the Santa Barbara County Fair. The production is so large, the rainforest equipment has to come in on a tractor-trailer and the animals are coming in on a zoo trailer.
Though moving animals and equipment takes a lot of effort, Majewski said one of the biggest challenges is actually creating the experience.
“It’s going into a building with bare white walls and transforming it into a believable rainforest,” she explained.
Even after equipment and animals are hauled and conference centers are magically transformed into rainforests, there’s yet another obstacle to overcome: Every animal has to be stocked with its favorite munchies, Majewski said.
“One challenge is finding the best produce for the best price in each town,” she explained. “We go through a lot of fruit and produce.”
Now Arts Editor Shelly Cone is hungry. Contact her at email@example.com.
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