Family Fun: The Annual Boo At The Zoo In Gainesville

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A quick photo of the Boo at the Zoo banner while waiting in line to enter the zoo.

First things first: My son Loren and I love Halloween! He loves dressing up and I love stealing checking through his hard-earned chocolate candy. Ever since he was 9 months old we’ve celebrated by trick-or-treating or attending local festivals put on by family churches in full costume.

This year we checked out Boo at the Zoo for the first time and had a blast! The cost of admission was one can good per person, in which proceeds went to Catholic Charities, a local food bank that provides services to those in need. I’ve volunteered with Catholic Charities in the past and love their mission, so I felt good knowing our donations were going to them.

There were literally hundreds of families (and superheroes) at this event! Once inside of the actual zoo, there were different worlds to enjoy every 10 feet or so. Some of our favorites were Hercules, Minecraft, Moana, and Star Wars. Aside from the exhibits, the animals were fun — they were either really excited or really annoyed by all the festivities!

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Black Panther and one of the beautiful Black women from Hercules!
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Minecraft was fun! Their costumes were my favorite.
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Black Panther with Moana.

Loren dressed up as Black Panther and received lots of compliments! Once we walked through the whole zoo, there were local vendors waiting to capture our attention. Each booth offered another opportunity to win candy and learn about their latest offering or product.

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These monkeys screamed and howled the whole time we were there! Again, either really excited or really annoyed. I couldn’t tell.

Before leaving the grounds, Loren partook in a quick and easy complimentary fencing lesson by the Florida Fencing Academy. He had a blast and might take up fencing later in life. And for his first time, he did an amazing job, winning his match at 5-to-3.

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Black Panther (right) and Bumblebee (left) before their fencing match. BP won!

Boo at the Zoo is held annually at Santa Fe College. I literally went to this college but never once stepped foot in the zoo. Now that we’ve attended this event, it’s a must that we come back every year with new cans and costumes!

Does your town do special things like this during the Fall?


Ariel C. Williams is the founding editor-in-chief of Slay Culture. She’s a millennial who’s down for the culture, loves Netflix, and pegs Master P as one of her entrepreneurial heroes. Buy her book The Girl Talk Chronicles here. Follow her at @ArielSaysNow everywhere.

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Slay Culture curates content and experiences for smart and lit Black millennials. Follow us online everywhere at @SlayCulture.