By Rachelle Rickard

Even while we’re all safely distancing, wearing face coverings and being COVID-19 conscious this summer, there still have been plenty of fun and entertaining activities to do in Atascadero, with many now being delivered virtually, along with those that are still safely available live and in-person! The City of Atascadero has been striving and has been very happy to continue to present as many safe-to-enjoy events and activities to the community as possible.

Following all state and local safety guidelines, the staff of the Charles Paddock Zoo was very excited to reopen in June to in-person visitors, allowing a limited number of guests into the facility at a time. The Zoo is again open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the animals are very happy to have guests come to see them again! 

Earlier this year, while the Zoo was physically closed to the public, our Zookeepers came up with some innovative ideas to keep community members and the animal residents virtually connected. Those virtual programs were so popular, we decided to keep them going and now everyone can continue to learn about, see and enjoy their animal friends from anywhere, at any time. Visit the Zoo’s website, Facebook, and Instagram pages to be entertained by the fun and educational, virtual Zookeeper Video Series, make reservations for virtual tours, virtual field trips, virtual birthday parties, and more! To find out about these terrific programs, please visit charlespaddockzoo.org, send an email to zooeducation@atascadero.org, or call (805) 461-5080. 

We are also very pleased to offer our annual Brew at the Zoo event virtually this year, which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 26, from noon to 3 p.m. This Virtual Beer Festival will highlight the Charles Paddock Zoo along with the many great breweries we have here in our community, all to be enjoyed right from the comfort of your own home. This event will feature 13 local craft breweries plus one local cider maker, and ticket buyers will have the Box of Brews delivered right to their front door! Then they will receive an email with a link that will enable them to join the event virtually. This unique event will broadcast live from the Charles Paddock Zoo. Guests will enjoy a personal tasting from each of the 14 breweries, plus they’ll be able to go behind the scenes at the Zoo and also meet some of the animals and Zookeepers! The experience is designed for guests to feel like they’re attending in person, including enjoying music from Bear Market Riot and Ricky Montijo, plus having chances for giveaways and best costume prizes! Three hundred tickets are available now at VisitAtascadero.com/Brew-at-the-Zoo and the event is expected to sell out. Only California residents that are over the age of 21 may purchase tickets. All proceeds benefit the Charles Paddock Zoo. 

In addition, and thanks to our very generous sponsors, along with KPRL and Atascadero Bible Church for kindly helping with logistics and much more, we’ve been able to continue with our 2020 Saturday Summer/Fall Concert Series, but with all of the concerts being presented virtually this year. We’ve had an amazing lineup of bands so far, presented via KPRL radio broadcast and on the City’s YouTube channel. The two virtual concerts are still to come are with the Rockin’ Bs Band on Saturday, Sept. 19, and then Ghost/Monster on Saturday, Oct. 3; both begin on KPRL and our YouTube channel at 6 p.m. For your future viewing and listening pleasure, the entire 2020 Summer Concert Series will be available on atascadero.org/YouTube

Continuing our summer season lineup of events, the City was very happy to present our annual summertime outdoor Movies in the Gardens. However, we had a safely-distanced version with Drive-In Movies at Paloma Creek Park instead. And with the popularity of the drive-in movie experience in mind, Wild Fields Brewhouse, SLODOCO, Roundtable Pizza, Galaxy Theatre and the City of Atascadero teamed up to present Pop-Up Drive-In Movies at Colony Plaza in the Downtown! The final outdoor drive-in movie presentation for 2020 at Colony Plaza will be held on Thursday, Sept. 17, with “Space Chimps” starting at 8:15 p.m. The entry fee is $11-$20 per carload, and you can also order food and drinks with delivery right to your car! Tickets are available at www.my805tix.com.

The Recreation Department staff have also been coming up with lots of creative ways to keep residents active and engaged throughout this time of sheltering. For a great list of fun ideas, visit the Virtual Recreation Resource information page under “Activities and Recreation” on the City’s website at atascadero.org. And don’t forget, there’s always the great outdoors that we can all safely enjoy at any time, with beautiful scenery, parks, hiking and biking trails, Atascadero Lake and so much more. For some great ideas, go to VisitAtascadero.com/Things-to-do.  

As always, if you need to reach me about this or any other topic related to the City of Atascadero, contact me at rrickard@atascadero.org

Getting through this together, Atascadero