Over 1,000 people attend the annual event at Charles Paddock Zoo

Over the weekend, families pulled on their costumes, jumped in their cars, and headed out for some kid-friendly Halloween fun at Charles Paddock Zoo. A little over 1,000 people were in attendance at this year’s annual Zoo Boo event, which was held on Saturday, Oct. 23. 

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Zoo Boo is a North County favorite and has been an October staple in Atascadero for the last twenty-plus years.

“It was an event that was already happening when our Zoo Director, Alan Baker, started working for the Zoo about 19 years ago,” said Atascadero’s Deputy City Manager, Terrie Banish.


With over 200 animals calling the Zoo home, Zoo Boo is the perfect blend of experiencing family-friendly spooks while hanging out with your favorite animals. Who doesn’t want to watch the antics of red pandas, meerkats, monkeys, tortoises, or the Mayalan tiger while dressed up?

There was also plenty of fun, Halloween-themed activities throughout the zoo for attendees to participate in. Including carnival games, a costume contest, a haunted house, tons of Halloween decorations, and treats for everyone!

“The Haunted House was an amazing stand-out activity, along with the new “Education Table” with a variety of creepy crawlers and other animals that the kids could see up close,” Banish said.

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And the costumes! Charles Paddock Zoo was filled with a plethora of super creative costumes. Everywhere you looked, there was someone dressed up in their Halloween best. 

“Costumes were really good this year! Favorite costumes ranged from a Cabbage Patch Kid with a small child in a stroller to a whole family dressed up [as the characters] from the movie 101 Dalmatians. From Cruella de Vil to the puppies. People were super excited to be there and very happy to be joining us for the event,” Banish concluded.

Due to COVID, Zoo Boo was canceled last year, but numbers don’t lie, and Zoo Boo is back and popular as ever. In fact, the turnout was so good that Charles Paddock Zoo is working on getting pre-ticket sales online for events like Zoo Boo to help with ticket-sale lines in the future.

While we have to wait a whole year before the Zoo Boo event is back, be sure to visit the Charles Paddock Zoo all year round! Open seven days a week, excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.


To find out about local events coming up for Halloween, see our article.