Animal Tracks provides scary good time for families

Visitors to Animal Tracks, Inc.'s Sanctu-scary tours got up close and personal with animals like this alligator. Matt Fernandez/ The Signal

Parents and children celebrated Halloween a little early with some special animal friends during Animal Tracks Inc.’s “Sanctu-scary Tours” Sunday morning.

Tour guests were able to touch, meet and feed a variety of animals including an alligator, Patagonian maras, and kangaroos. As a special treat, children were even able to meet a monkey, an encounter usually reserved for guests age 16 and over. 

In order to make the day extra-Halloween-y, the animal sanctuary was specially decorated, children got to sign pumpkins that would be fed to their favorite animals and also received special Halloween goodies to take home, like pumpkin decorating kits and masks. 

Stacy Gunderson, director of Animal Tracks, said Halloween is one of the main times a year that the sanctuary is able to engage with and educate children.

“The idea behind the treats and the pumpkins is teaching the kids to give so that the animals also get to eat, but of course the kids will get something as well,” Gunderson said. “Since we have a lot of animals like monkeys and mandrills, a lot of what we do is more geared towards adults, but it’s still important to do shows for our youngsters because they are our future.”

Ian Haufrect brought his family to Animal Tracks as a surprise gift to his wife, Lisa, and specifically chose to come for the Halloween tour.

“The Halloween tour was a good day that we could go and also bring our son because there are usually age restrictions to come to their tours,” Haufrect said. “Being able to touch these animals firsthand is a real treat for me and my wife, but I think my son’s favorite parts are his Halloween cookie, candy and drink.”

Greg Levine brought his godson to Animal Tracks and also was specifically interested in the Halloween event.

“Halloween is a great, folksy holiday where people are able to get out of the house and try new things and new events,” Levine said. “We learned a lot today and I got to spend some good time with my godson, who got to see a bunch of animals he had only ever read about. People always assume that the only place you can see animals like this is a zoo, but this place is a great opportunity to learn about some interesting animals.”

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