Archives for February 3, 2017



Event Also Features Book Readings, Themed Crafts,
Activities and Kids’ Dance Party

Saturday, February 18 and Sunday, February 19, 2017
10 am to 4 pm
Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens hosts PBS SoCal KIDS Weekend at the Los Angeles Zoo on Saturday, February 18 and Sunday February 19, 2017, 10 am to 4 pm.  The event fills the Zoo’s Eucalyptus Grove with a variety of engaging fun for families with book readings, themed crafts, activities and a kids’ dance party.  Guest can also enjoy a special opportunity to take photos with PBS KIDS characters Curious George and Daniel Tiger from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.  Curious George is available for photos both days from 10:30 to 11 am, 11:30 am to 12 noon and 12:30 to 1 pm.  Daniel Tiger is available both days from 1:30 to 2 pm, 2:30 to 3 pm and 3:30 to 4 pm.  A Curious George photo op for members of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association takes place on Saturday only from 8:30 to 9 am, followed by a Daniel Tiger photo op for members from 9:30 to 10 am.  PBS SoCal KIDS Weekend activities are free with paid admission to the L.A. Zoo.

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens marks its 50th anniversary with a yearlong “ZooLAbration” of its November 28, 1966, opening that spotlights not only its key role as a world-class destination and an important community asset but also its critical successes in conservation, quality of life and premier care for animals.  Having recently completed a $172 million master plan which significantly improved the Zoo facility, the 50th anniversary coincides with the early planning stages of a new Master Plan for the future.  The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing nearly 1.8 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered, as well as a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants.  Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife.  The L.A. Zoo’s lush grounds on 113 acres feature Rainforest of the Americas, an extraordinary collection of endangered and exotic mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians living in spaces that exemplify their natural habitat in the rainforest biosphere; Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains, home to one of the largest troops of chimpanzees in the United States; Red Ape Rain Forest, where visitors can walk among orangutans; the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles); Elephants of Asia; Campo Gorilla Reserve; and one of the largest flocks of flamingos in any zoo in the world.  Among other highlights are an extraordinary, hands-on Hippo Encounter; the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo and Muriel’s Ranch animal contact area; the Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel; a variety of daily opportunities to learn more about animals, including close-up visits, special feedings and intriguing talks; and much more.  The private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), which has supported the Zoo in partnership with the City of Los Angeles for more than five decades and provides funding for and operates seven essential Zoo departments, has 60,000 member households representing more than 240,000 adults and children.  As evidence of the Zoo’s popularity, GLAZA attracts one of the largest membership bases of any cultural organization in Los Angeles.

About PBS SoCal
PBS SoCal is the home to PBS for Greater Los Angeles and Southern California.  PBS SoCal delivers the full schedule of PBS programs, plus content that is for, about and by the people of Southern California.  Content is available free through four broadcast channels, at, on PBS mobile apps, and via connected TV services.  And PBS SoCal provides the community with early education resources and cultural and educational experiences through partnerships, events and grassroots outreach.  PBS SoCal has offices in Century City, Costa Mesa, and Los Angeles.  Connect at and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

Programming subject to change.  While every possible effort is made to allow all guests a visit with the PBS SoCal KIDS characters, a photo with the characters cannot be guaranteed due to high demand and limited capacity.

All PBS SoCal KIDS Weekend activities are free with paid Zoo admission, which is $20 for general admission (ages 13 to 61); $17 for seniors (ages 62+), and $15 for children (ages 2 to 12).  No ticket is required for children under age two.  Admission for Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association members is free.

The Los Angeles Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways.  5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA  90027.  Free parking is available.  For additional information, contact (323) 644-4200 or visit

Credit: Los Angeles Zoo. Photo Credit: courtesy of PBS SoCal KIDS.

Split – Terrifying story with amazing performances


When three girls are kidnapped by a man with 24 different personalities they have to work out which of those personalities will help them escape and which of those personalities will try to stop them. James McAvoy produces a master class performance playing the psychotic kidnapper with 24 personalities. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Alejandra B. comments, “Most importantly, I want to say that this movie is amazing! It is very well made! What I like most about it is the acting… In particular, James McAvoy and Ana Taylor-Joy really stand out.” See her full review below.



By Alejandra Garcia, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17



Most importantly, I want to say that this movie is amazing! It is very well made! What I like most about it is the acting. The actors’ performances truly deliver a great story. In particular, James McAvoy and Ana Taylor-Joy really stand out. They make you feel they truly are the characters they portray in the film. James McAvoy plays Kevin, the insane man that kidnaps three girls. His performance of this complex character is really incredible. Ana Taylor-Joy plays Casey Cook, one of the girls that is kidnapped. Additionally, the plot takes your breath away. M. Night Shyamalan’s direction stands out. He is a master of this genre and this is excellent. The scenes are so well set up and all the questions get answered at the end of the movie. The movie is full of suspense, which I love! But, if you get scared easily, this might not be the film for you.


Kevin has a dissociative identity disorder, something that has always fascinated science. It is believed that some can also show unique physical qualities for each personality, which is Kevin’s case. Though he has revealed 23 different personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, there remains one still hidden which is set to dominate all the others. By kidnapping three teenage girls, Kevin plays a war for survival among his different personalities and everyone around him, as everything around him collapses.


My favorite part of this film is when Casey starts winning one of Kevin’s personalities. She is determined to do whatever it takes to run away, because she knows she could lose her life at any moment. And, one of those ways is to win his little boy personality to find a way out. She is super sneaky and super careful in how she does it, because she has to remember he is a psycho. I love this film because it shows how smart Casey is, how she knew what she was dong and how she had to do it. She almost achieves her goal in escaping, but Kevin turns back into another personality and reverts back to his original self. When he turns back, he does not let her do anything.



There aren’t any lessons per se in this film other than not to befriend a psychopath. I recommend it to ages 14 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. Split is in theater now so, if you like horror films, be sure to check it out.





The Founder – The Man Who Turned McDonald’s into one of World’s Best Known Brands


This film is about Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers’ innovative fast food eatery, McDonald’s, into one of the biggest restaurant businesses in the world with a combination of ambition, persistence and ruthlessness. This biographical drama film reveals the story of American businessman and founder of the McDonald’s Corporation. Whether you love or hate McDonald’s, this film reveals the story behind the man who turned it into one of world’s best known brands. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Maria G. comments, “The Founder is an entertaining, fascinating and interesting film that gives you a glimpse of the formation of one of the greatest and powerful food restaurant chain in America and worldwide…” Calista B. adds, “It is thought provoking and made me look at McDonald’s in a different way. I am a huge McDonald’s fan and I have to say, I still am, but after watching the origin story, my view is slightly tainted.” See their full reviews below.


The Founder
By Maria G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17


The Founder is an entertaining, fascinating and interesting film that gives you a glimpse of the formation of one of the greatest and powerful food restaurant chain in America and worldwide – McDonald’s. Throughout the film you experience the historical formation of this corporation and discover how a 50-year-old became the owner of a dominant corporation. As a viewer, I personally love the concept of the film and the rich iconic history of this massive food chain.

Ray Kroc, a salesman, finds himself struggling selling milkshake machines for a couple bucks to support himself and his wife, Ethel Kroc.  As a salesman living in Illinois in the 1950s, Kroc has to face numerous rejections and several doors slamming in his face before he rises to become CEO of a grand corporation. On a drive across Route 66, Kroc comes across a family-friendly restaurant whose philosophy is “30 seconds and not 30 minutes.” Amazed by this unique concept, Kroc will do whatever it takes to franchise and popularize this exclusive restaurant.

American actor Michael Keaton delivers the perfect performance as Ray Kroc. Keaton’s physical appearance and excellent acting skills bring us a perfectly believable ruthless, greedy, egotistical portrayal of Ray Kroc. Dick McDonald (Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation) plays the McDonald brother who invented the idea of the “speedy system” and the iconic “golden arches.” The supportive brother Mac McDonald is played by John Caroll Lynch, known for several film such as Shutter Island, Gran Torino and Zodiac. This review would be amiss without giving kudos to the film’s amazing director, John Lee Hancock and its writer Robert D. Siegel.

I really enjoyed watching this movie and watching the history of McDonald’s unravel before my eyes. I like how the director and producers made this film so precisely accurate to the actual events that took place. The history of McDonald’s is fascinating and intriguing. Minutes after the film, I was on my phone reading and learning more about its rich history.  I learned that the director used exact locations, exact character names and exact details to produce this biographical drama exactly as he could.

A clear and straightforward message is depicted throughout the 115 minutes of the film. A message of persistence and ambition can be seen through the actions of Mr. Kroc. He was a 50-year-old struggling business man who faced rejection after rejection, yet he does not give up or stop from archiving his dream. It’s his persistence, hunger to succeed and ambition that lead him to achieve his goal. There is something we can all learn form Kroc, since we all have personal dreams and goals.

As a history lover myself, I recommend this film to any history enthusiast who is interested in learning about the formation of McDonald’s. I also recommend this film to ages 15 to 18 and believe adults will enjoy this too. I give this biographical drama four out of five stars. It is playing in theaters now so, go check it out.

The Founder

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13




I really enjoyed this movie. It is thought provoking and made me look at McDonald’s in a different way. I am a huge McDonald’s fan and I have to say, I still am, but after watching the origin story, my view is slightly tainted.


The story is about a man named Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) who is always looking for the next big thing. He comes across a small burger stand called McDonald’s, where he promises to help the brothers who created McDonald’s turn their burger stand into a franchise. After they agree, Ray slowly becomes more and more obsessed with money and corporate greed.


I will say that one thing that is really good about this movie is how amazing it is paced. Ray’s transformation isn’t rushed and that’s how it becomes believable. You see him becoming more of an antagonist over the course of the film. And, it’s actually sad to watch a decent man turn evil so easily. Michael Keaton is excellent in his portrayal of Ray Kroc. The story begins and ends with a monologue that Keaton nails. He gets very invested in his role and it creates a believable character that is very human.


I certainly didn’t expect it to be so dark. This is the company that brings Americans Happy Meals. My favorite scene is when the brothers tell Ray about how they set up the first McDonald’s. This scene is the first scene that really sets them up as characters and it is really well done. I genuinely liked the brothers and their relationship. They definitely are each other’s best friend.


The sets and costumes are also pretty genuine. This movie takes place in the 1950s and the set directors and costume designers have outdone themselves at making the film look authentic to that period. The recreation of the original Golden Arches, right down to the hamburger wrappings is spot on.


I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Adults will most likely enjoy it as well and it certainly is not suitable for really young kids. Whether you like eating at McDonald’s or not, I recommend going and checking out The Founder when it comes out in theaters on January 20th, 2017.