The zoo’s Spring Festival runs now through April 24

ATASCADERO — Zookeepers at the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero introduced some of their new zoo babies on Monday, April 12, to kick off their Spring Festival, which is happening all through April.

Zoo Director Alan Baker, began by introducing some radiated tortoises

“Many of the species we have here at the zoo are critically endangered, and they need special care, particularly when they are young,” he said.


Born about one week ago, the radiated tortoises are native to Madagascar. 

Next, Flavia Parotti, vet tech at the zoo, introduced a baby roadrunner who was approximately 32 days old on Monday. The roadrunner’s parents, native to California and on exhibit in the zoo, were not properly taking care of their eggs. So, zookeepers took over, and the zoo’s first roadrunner was finally born. 

The baby roadrunner and tortoises will not be on exhibit until they are old enough to be independent.

Last to be introduced was a 5-month-old prehensile-tailed porcupine. The porcupine can already be visited and is on exhibit with his parents. He is still slightly smaller than his parents and can often be found sitting in his food pan.

The prehensile-tailed porcupine is a native from Central and South America — much smaller than their African crested porcupine cousin found just down the way.

Through the month of April, Charles Paddock Zoo is celebrating spring with their Spring Festival. From now until April 24, the zoo is hosting fun-filled family activities. From a variety of crafts, backyard babies, baby chicks, and scheduled animal feedings, there is plenty happening at the zoo to keep you entertained.

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Spring Festival Animal Feeding Schedule:

Monday (April 11) — 11 a.m. — Aldabra tortoises

Tuesday (April 12) — 11 a.m. — Meerkats

Wednesday (April 13) — 11 a.m. — Malayan tiger

Thursday (April 14) — 11 a.m. — American alligator

Friday (April 15) — 11 a.m. — Red pandas

On Saturday, April 23, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., the annual “Party for the Planet” Earth Day Celebration is back. The event will focus on natural resource conservation and the global and local protection of animals and plants. There will be interactive adventures, hands-on activities, exhibits by sustainability-conscious businesses, as well as providing many educational demonstrations like water conservation, beekeeping, and more.

Food will be available for purchase from Zen Dog and Huatulco Tacos. The zoo also thanks its sponsors, which include Atascadero Mutual Water Company, Solarponics, Waste Management, and Idlers Home.

There are over 200 animal species at the zoo, and many of the zoo residents are part of a globally managed program to preserve animals and their habitats. The zoo features several unique species not often seen in facilities of its size, including fossa, red pandas, Malayan tigers, lemurs, meerkats, and many other exciting and interesting mammals and birds, reptiles, and insects. 

Spring Festival and Party for the Planet are included with General Admission. Tickets are $10 for adults age 13 and up, $9 for seniors age 65 and up, $8 for children 5-12, $5 for children 3-4, and free for kids 2 and under. 

The Charles Paddock Zoo is SLO County’s only zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Open Daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and located at Atascadero Lake Park on Hwy 41/Morro Road, one mile west of Hwy 101. For information, go to or or call the zoo at (805) 461-5080.