Volunteeer Adventure at The Reptile Zoo

Hi my name is Ben Brady. I am the volunteer coordinator at Prehistoric Pets. I started out as a volunteer in 2015. My love for animals, reptiles in particular brought me here. My mother bought me my first Garter snake when I was 11. Over the years I've had turtles, lizards, Ball pythons and the last few years Reticulated pythons and Crested Geckos. Working mainly with Dwarf and Super Dwarf. I've had some incredible experiences working with the people and animals here that I don't think I could get anywhere else. The most amazing thing that has happened was when I was asked to help cut my first clutch of Reticulated python eggs. There is nothing like seeing the smile on the face of a customer that has never held a reptile minutes after holding their first Crested gecko or Ball python, and seeing that the fear that the had for all those years could be defeated just by holding one of these animals and seeing how amazing they truly are and that they can be enjoyed. I have even seen people buy an animal after they have realized how easy it was to care for some of them. Everyday there is something new from the animals to the people its an experience I think everyone should have. So when the opportunity to be volunteer coordinator came up I jumped at the chance. I want to share that opportunity with you. This is a non-paid volunteer program designed to help the Reptile Zoo connect with its customers. Your responsibilities can include: - Customer contact - Welcoming guests to the Reptile Zoo - Education - Facilitating animal interaction in the hands on section of the Reptile Zoo - General maintenance and husbandry - Take guest photos with Burmese Python Required: Well Mannered and outgoing reptile enthusiast that is at least age 18, who is willing to donate time to the Reptile Zoo.
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Meet Karissa!

If you’ve had the pleasure of having Karissa present at one of your Jurassic Parties, then you’ll know what an absolute sweetheart she is. Her patience and smiles make her excellent with kids of all ages, but underneath that sweet tiny exterior is a core of iron. This girl can haul a 60lb tortoise with the best of our presenters, despite being a head shorter than all of them.

Karissa is currently studying Biology at UC Irvine, and eventually wants a career working with animals. She applied to work at the zoo about a year ago and was THRILLED to receive an interview, and then a job offer. Before she worked for us at Jurassic Parties, Karissa volunteered with all sorts of animals; reptiles and mammals alike. She’s worked local reptile events for kids, and donated her time and energy to animal shelters. Her passion for animals and outreach make her such a fantastic employee.

Reaching out to the chameleons.

Karissa one day hopes to work in the conservation field with endangered animals in Africa. She holds a special place in her heart for big cats, which she hopes to one day work with at a zoo or rescue organization. When not presenting at Jurassic Parties, Karissa is working towards her bachelor’s degree in biology. Her favorite food is pizza, her star sign is Aquarius (just like Forest!), and her favorite animals at the Reptile Zoo are the Dumeril’s boas. The funniest thing that happened to her so far at work was when she was talking to a visitor, one of our chameleons went to the bathroom right above her. She finished answering the question she was asked, and then in true polite and sweet Karissa fashion, excused herself to freshen up.

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Meet Michael!

Meet Michael!

Those of you who follow our blog and come to the zoo know that, around here, we love our gentle giants. Not all of them are snakes and lizards though! We wanted to formally (and belatedly) introduce you to Michael, one of the fabulous people that make up the team here at the Reptile Zoo.

When Michael isn’t traveling all over Southern California bringing joy and reptiles to people everywhere, he can usually be found at our petting station in the zoo, chatting to visitors about all of the exotic animals we have here. His knowledge of reptiles can only be dwarfed by his impressive stature. He is an information sponge, and has been soaking up reptile facts since he was a little boy. The most common question Michael gets is “Where did you learn all this stuff?” and he cheerfully replies “All self-taught!” Michael began in 2013 as a lot of our employees begin, by working for the zoo in our OC Fair exhibit over the summer.

When not working here at the zoo, Michael likes to relax, hang out with friends, and occasionally go out for a spirited round or two of airsoft. His favorite foods are anything new and exotic. Michael aspires to one day be like Steve Irwin, an ambassador to reptiles and people alike. His favorite animal at the zoo is Harvey, the red panther chameleon living above the photo booth. Like Mandy and Lauren, he too is a Scorpio! He kindly took the time to narrate his funniest moment at the zoo:

“ I was replenishing water to the cages around the zoo. Upon opening the olive python cage, one made a break for it. While I was trying to coil it back up into its cage, the other olive python decided my forearm looked like a good spot to bite. It let go two seconds later, but I was strangely calm and proud of receiving my first big snake bite. It’s a badge of honor around here. Soldiers compare war wounds, we compare animal bites. Jay and Lynda were trying to patch me up, but it wasn’t so bad as it looked. I’m honestly a little disappointed that it didn’t leave a better scar… “

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Meet Forest!!!

It’s no surprise that many (read: all) of our employees are carnivores, but nobody here hams it up like Forest. This awesome dude graduated from University of San Francisco with a degree in Biology and minor in Performance Arts and can turn anything you say into a joke. His sense of humor comes in very handy here around the zoo. Aside from being able to laugh at someone telling him to “RUN FOREST RUN” for the millionth time, he kills the crowds at our Jurassic Parties with his lightning quips and funny turns of phrase.

Forest got his foot in the door like so many of our other employees, by working at the Orange County Fair in our traveling zoo exhibit. His incredible energy, passion for reptiles, and drive for work solidified our desire to bring him onto our team as a permanent employee. Forest is a jack of all trades, working both for the front counter helping in sales, delighting kids at their birthday parties with his reptile knowledge, and entertaining visitors at our hands-on area at the zoo. He’s only been an official employee for a few weeks, but he’s always excited and ready to learn something new and help out. While he has been otherwise warmly received, Lauren has perceived him as a threat to her unofficial “best hair” title.

When not working at the zoo, Forest likes to go to Disneyland, play guitar, and especially study acting. His favorite food is super cheap frozen pizza and chubby hubby ice cream, and his star sign is Aquarius. He moved to LA to be a film actor, and his greatest dream is to be nominated for the Oscars and thank the Academy. His favorite animals at the zoo are the green anacondas. His funniest experience here at the zoo was during the filming for KTLA morning news; our giant reticulated python flung itself out of everyone’s arms and hit him square in the forehead. Luckily for him, its mouth was closed!

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Meet Lauren

Many of you who visit the reptile zoo start to recognize the familiar faces of our employees, who are generally seen with smiles as they dispense helpful or interesting information. But no smile shines brighter or more beautifully than Lauren’s. This wonderful, compassionate, smart lady is a pillar of intelligence, class, and most importantly, modesty. That is why I, Lauren, have taken it upon myself to let you know just how awesome I am.

(I’ve kissed a celebrity. Love you too Frank xoxo)


All immodest humble-bragging aside, I wanted to let you guys get to know me! These employee bios don’t write themselves, and while it can be weird to try and introduce myself via a blog, I thought I’d give it my best shot. I’m Lauren! I started working at the Reptile Zoo in the summer of 2011, right after my sophomore year of college, as one of the seasonal employees hired to work at the OC fair. I guess they liked me, because the next year when I returned home for the summer they took me on again, this time as both an OC fair and Jurassic Parties employee. I continued to work summers for the zoo as I worked towards my Bachelors, and I’m happy to say that in January 2014 I graduated cum laude from Northeastern University with my shiny new BS in Biology, and a minor in Marine Biology to boot. I’m now working pretty much full time at the zoo, so here’s hoping you guys get to see much more of me!

When not working at the zoo: I like to scuba dive, ride my bike, and work on fun nail art designs.
My favorite foods are: Unfortunately the cheesy-carbohydrate loaded kind.
Hopes goals dreams: Become a vet, and work with animals forever.
Favorite animal at the zoo: Looks wise, I like Lucifer, the albino western diamondback rattlesnake. Personality wise, I love Mr. Spot the rhino iguana. We bonded at the OC Fair this year.
Funniest thing that happened to you here: One time Juliette cornered me at the OC fair with a giant water balloon. I caught it when she threw it and it magically didn’t pop, so she punched it and it soaked me.
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Party Prehistoric Style

We always say we throw "Prehistoric Style" parties, but this year definitely dissapoint! As a thank you to all the great work our team puts in to make Prehistoric what it is we like to give back with a party at Jay's house, where he's the chef! If you know anything about Jay that means you better come hungry because no matter how many friends you bring, there will still be left overs to feed the neighborhood.

 

This year to feed the masses we feasted on Jay's signature tacos with a variety of meats plus homemade rice and beans, but why stop there? Jay also treated the team to BBQ ribs that seemed to disappear as fast as he could get them off the grill. Once we were so full we could barely move the unbelievable entertainment started. Thanks to Jay's connections we enjoyed a private FIRE BREATHING show!!!! I mean who does that?

Luckily no plants, animals, neighbors, or team members were burned in the show, but WOW were those flames big! Then we got the crowd laughing with a comical magical routine pitting some of our biggest and strongest against the magician's lovely assistant. In the end everyone had a chance to relax and just enjoy the company of their amazing co-workers and friends. I'll I've got to say is they better start planning now, because it's going to be hard to top that!

 

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Prehistoric Times in 2013

How could it already be a month into 2014?!? The year of the snake just slithered by so fast we barely had a chance to share some of the great experiences that came with it, but we're going to try to make it up to you with an extra long recap blog chocked full of photos & videos. So many we'll be highlighting details from some of our favorite stories over the next couple weeks as well.

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Come & Get It at The OC Fair with The Reptile Zoo

 

Spending your summer nights at the OC Fair? Make sure to stop by The Reptile Zoo hands-on display to meet Bob the 12ft Burmese Python! Then head back to Facebook to claim your complimentary photo download!
To find your complimentary photo download please visit the link below, here you will find an album for each day of the fair. To allow photo tagging and download just "LIKE" The Reptile Zoo fan page then share away!
www.facebook.com/thereptilezoo/photos_albums
If for some reason you are unable to locate your photos please email photobooth@prehistoricinc.com and we would be happy to assist you. Please allow 48 hours for upload.

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New Wall L Wall

It seems the improvements never stop here at The Reptile Zoo. There always seems to be someone working on a brand new upgrade for one of our many lucky reptile residents. Our team may get a little dirty, but they know how to get the job done. Even founder Jay takes the time to pitch in and get his hands (and everything else) sufficiently dirty.

But it's not just Jay working his heart out The Reptile Zoo is EXTREMELY lucky to have some of the best friends and volunteers around! Not only do our friends love visiting The Reptile Zoo they often devote much of their personal time to help make sure the doors stay open and we can keep up the hectic pace of always improving and expanding! Even while Jay is away in Europe or any of his international travels the team is here and ready to get the job done and enjoy doing it!

Our most recent project has been completely rennovating what we call the "L Wall" which houses many of our smaller species on exhibit. With these upgrades we are expanding cage sizes and rethinking the layout to provide a more diverse and interesting display that fits the unique needs of each animal. 

The "L Wall" is one of the last remaining original display areas from the beginnings of Prehistoric Pets, before we even thought to dream about the amazing transformation into The Reptile Zoo. Luckily over 20 years later we have learned to work smarter not harder which will benefit not only the current displays, but allow for easier improvements. 

We love our team and their smiling faces and bright attitudes that keep us coming back day after day to work on the never ending list of tasks. Thank you to everyone who has helped The Reptile Zoo not only on our current "L Wall" project but for the last 25 years! 

W

 

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Provide a Little Christmas Joy with Us!

 

There are people in our communities, in our own neighborhoods, who are wondering if they’ll be able to give even one gift this Christmas. The Christmas PEACE Box is a way for you to share love this Christmas.

 

 

Assembling a box is simple. Just follow the 3 easy steps below. We've even included tips to help you get started.

Step #1: Assemble your box. (We've done that for you)

Step #2: Decide who you will give the box to: child (gender and age) or family. Then mark it on the box.

Step #3: Shop to fill your box.

Don't know what to fill your PEACE box with? Check out the suggestions below.

 

 

3-5 years old

Age appropriate toys: Coloring books, crayons, Play-doh, stuffed animals, books, etc.

Snacks: Fruit Roll-ups, raisins, Goldfish, etc.

Clothing: Fun socks, hair clips, sun glasses, beanies, etc.

 

6-9 years old

Age appropriate toys: Jump ropes, Slinky, hand-held games, books, dolls, small balls, etc.

Snacks: Lollipops, gum, crackers, etc.

Clothing: T-shirts, caps, socks, hair clips, etc.

School Supplies: Pencils, markers, book covers, stamps, etc.

Hygiene Items: Toothbrush

 

10-12 years old

Age appropriate toys: Hackysack, books, finger skateboard, hand-held or card games, Ear buds etc.

Snacks: Gum, crackers, hard candy, mints etc.

Clothing: Baseball caps, ankle socks, hair clips/headbands, scarves, beanies, etc.

School Supplies: Pencils, gel pens, book covers, etc.

Hygiene Items: Toothbrush, hand sanitizer, metal water bottle

 

13-18 years old

Age appropriate toys: Hackysack, books, finger skateboard, hand-held or card games, Ear buds, gift cards (Target, Wal-Mart), balls etc.

Snacks: Fast food gift cards,Gum, crackers, chips, candy etc.

Clothing: Baseball caps, ankle socks, hair clips, headbands, scarves, beanies, etc.

School Supplies: Locker decorations, sketch pads, journals, pencils, gel pens, book covers, etc.

Hygiene Items: Toothbrush, hand sanitizer, metal water bottle, shower gel, nail polish, lip gloss, fragrance, etc.

 

Family

Night Out: Movie tickets, restaurant gift cards, etc.

Night In: DVD's, popcorn, family game, books, etc.

 

Discouraged Items: Money, large or used items, common allergy products (peanuts etc.), medication, military or toy guns, beverages, breakable items, perishables, movies rated PG-13 or above.

 

After you've filled your Christmas PEACE Box you have a couple options for how to donate your gift.

1) We encourage you to give the box directly to a child or family that you know is in need. This is the most rewarding way to make an impact in your local community and show your neighbors you care.

2) Return your filled box to the Christmas PEACE Box trucks at Saddleback Church, in Lake Forest at any of the weekend services. The final weekend to return your filled boxes is December 1st and 2nd. The church will then distribute boxes to children and families in the local community.

3) Return your filled box to The Reptile Zoo where we will both deliver boxes to Saddleback Church for distribution and provide local deliveries in our community. The final weekend to return your filled boxes to The Reptile Zoo is December 15th and 16th. To show our appreciation for your gift to those in need in our local community The Reptile Zoo would like to offer you a complimentary admission to enjoy our exhibits on the day of your filled box delivery.

 

 

 

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