The family-friendly event was zoo-tacular at the Charles Paddock Zoo

Boo! It was a zoo! Animals and people everywhere — in and out of cages. Lights and cameras were out for the annual Zoo Boo at Charles Paddock Zoo on Saturday night.

Kids and parents enjoyed the Halloween decorations, games, a deejay and the animals on one of the busiest days of the year for the zoo.

Zoo Boo started at 5:30 p.m., and the Malayan Tiger was already zonked out in the foliage for the evening, and the Red Pandas called it an early night at about 6:15 p.m., but the rest of the animals were up for the event.

The anteater wandered his habitat waiving his fluffy, feather-duster tail. The flamingos were showing off their balancing acts on one leg near the entrance. Birds were hopping from limb to limb in their aviaries. Kids and adults were bumping about in a variety of costumes including Woody from Toy Story, Chewbacca, a 7-foot dinosaur, and zoo director Alan baker was wearing a large orange jack-o-lantern T-shirt.

Fernando strutted atop the fence as the sunset at the Charles Paddock Zoo.

Games were facilitated around the zoo by various groups, including the Boy Scouts troop and City staff. There was bowling games, golf games, ring toss, and more, with prizes given out to the winners — which was everyone.

The deejay spun toons for dancing kids in costume and there was a Spiderman and Batman that took advantage of the zone filled with fog and laser lights, showing off a few of their moves. When asked if they had showed off everything they had, they responded “we kept a few moves a secret.”

Another performance was put on by the red-legged seriema named Fernando. As the crowds poured in, he began his survey of the scene and planned his escape over the 10-foot chainlink fence. A close eye could spot his plans, but the crowds shuffled through and lined up for the nearby bowling game. Behind them, Fernando made his move.

Up on the top of the chainlink fence he leapt, grabbing the attention of the crowds. With his 2-feet long bird legs, he strutted his stuff on the top of fence against the sunset sky.

Back and forth he went, teasing the crowd as if he might make his jump to freedom, until the zoo crew came to the rescue.

“Make way for the zookeeper” was the shout as the zoo staff made their way to the fence. Efforts to “shoo” Fernando were ineffective until Baker showed why they call him the boss. Baker climbed to the top of the railing to give Fernando the final motivation he needed to hop back into his habitat and the zoo staff helped him find some peace and quiet for the evening.

“He does this every year,” Baker said about Fernando’s antics.

Fernando is coaxed off of the fence at the Charles Paddock Zoo.

How can you blame him, as it was a zoo inside and outside his fence as the community enjoyed the festivities.

The sunlight faded, and the lights grew brighter against the darkened backdrop of the zoo atmosphere.

The dancing, games, and fun night of costumed partying continued for another installment of the Atascadero Zoo Boo.

For more costumed Halloween fun in Atascadero, head to Trick or Treat on Entrada, or get spooked at the Haunted Russo House at 7720 Cortez Street, or The Haunt on El Camino Real.

Getting through this together, Atascadero