ATASCADERO — It was officially the ninth annual Cookie Adventure Day at the Charles Paddock Zoo, May 12, giving sweet treats to moms with little ones in tow, as well as an event for another guardian to pack kids off to if mom got to sleep in.
Zoo Director Alan Baker, his wife Colleen, and their adult children greeted guests at tables with cookie samples from at least four local bakeries while volunteers set up a booth for handmade Mother’s Day cards and a selection of the Zoo’s educational program animals came out to socialize.
Walter the Blue-Tongued Skink was one of the animals not normally seen during a visit, as he lives “backstage” most of the time. While kids saw Walter “smelling” all of the bakery aromas with that blue tongue, staff noted that the reptiles do not have a sweet tooth as we’d imagine it.
A baby porcupine, the zoo’s newest resident, born there last month, looked up occasionally from a comfortable tree branch nook while its parents slept nearby, but guests who hadn’t visited the zoo recently were drawn in greater numbers to the red panda exhibit installed in February.
The cookie supply just held out from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with donations from Sweet Grace Cookie Company; Sun and Buns; and Back Porch Cafe. Cider Creek Cookies from Paso Robles marked their continued support through nearly a decade of zoo events, while the brand new Bricklyn’s Sweet Treats of Atascadero showed off their cookie-cake creations with cookie dough “cupcakes.”
Flavia Parotti, Lead Zookeeper, said she was pleased with the event’s turnout and flow of guests stopping by to learn about the animals after getting a lemon cookie or chocolate peanut butter snack, noting that new this year a unique Mother’s Day gift would be a sponsored Camellia plant to go in the Zoo’s permanent gardens.
The long-lived shrubs that provide feature glossy-green foliage and seasonal flowers at cooler temperatures. As the plantings grow commemorative placards will be placed.
Information about the zoo’s daily activities is available online at: charlespaddockzoo.org.