Archives for August 12, 2019

Aquarium welcomes five fuzzy baby American avocet chicks

Photo: Robin Riggs

Five American avocet chicks hatched at the Aquarium between June 23 and 25. The chicks and their parents are now on view in the lower enclosure in the Guam Kingfisher aviary near Shark Lagoon. The parents have lived at the Aquarium since August 2017. Both parents will take turns tending to the chicks.

The chicks will fledge, or replace their downy juvenile feathers with adult feathers, at about twenty-seven to twenty-eight days old. Adults stand at about 18 inches tall. They have a white body, black and white wings, and long, slender legs. During breeding season, they have a pale rust-colored head and neck.

In the wild, American avocets live on beaches, around shallow lakes and ponds, and on coastal and inland mudflats throughout the western United States, southern Canada, Mexico, and Baja. This shorebird species migrates to southern coastal areas, including Mexico and Baja and the southeast and Atlantic coasts, or California valleys in the winter.

Avocets are precocial birds, meaning that chicks are able to walk around and forage immediately after hatching. Like the adults, the chicks will quickly learn to eats all different types of insects and worms, including blood worms, meal worms, wax worms, and crickets. As they get older, they will forage for krill and small fish. Avocets search for food by wading in shallow water and filtering food by sweeping their long, upward-curved bills from side to side.

American avocet populations declined in the 1960s and 70s, when agriculture and development began to shrink wetland habitats. Since then, their numbers have rebounded, and they are currently listed as a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Credit: The Aquarium of the Pacific.

The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific is a community gathering place where diverse cultures and the arts are celebrated and where important challenges facing our planet are explored by scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders in search of sustainable solutions. The Aquarium is dedicated to conserving and building nature and nature’s services by building the interactions between and among peoples. Home to more than 12,000 animals, Aquarium exhibits include those in the new Pacific Visions wing, Ocean Science Center, Molina Animal Care Center, and the Tentacles and Ink and FROGS: Dazzling & Disappearing exhibits. Beyond its animal exhibits, the Aquarium offers educational programs for people of all ages, from hands-on activities to lectures by leading scientists. Field trips for schoolchildren are offered at a heavily discounted rate from $7 to $8.50 per student. The Aquarium offers memberships with unlimited FREE admission for 12 months, VIP Entrance, and other special benefits.

Roaring Nights Returns to the L.A. Zoo on Friday, August 16

Photo Credit: JAMIE PHAM/GLAZA

Roaring Nights Features an Eclectic Mix of Multi-Genre Music, a Silent Disco Dance Party, Lawn Games, Food Trucks, and Libations

The L.A. Zoo’s Roaring Nights summer entertainment returns for its third installment on Friday, August 16, transforming the Zoo into a music-lovers’ utopia with DJs and live music spanning four decades and inviting partygoers 21-and-up on a nighttime journey that includes special animal feedings, pop-up zoo talks, food truck fare, cocktails, lawn games, and more. Patrons will roam the grounds after dark and have the chance to hear local favorites DJ Avi Bernard of KJLH and DJ Johnny Hawkes; dueling DJs at the HUSH Silent Disco party; and the ultimate ‘90s tribute band, Pulp ‘90s; and The Detroit Nights playing classic Motown, funk, and R&B hits. Unwind with the “fireside” charm of the Watering Hole glamping lounge, featuring music, cocktails, and international cuisine from some of L.A.’s best-known food and dessert trucks. The fiercest summer soirees in town are happening monthly this summer, only at the L.A. Zoo.

WHEN
Friday, August 16, 2019, 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. 
Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Tickets are $21. Tickets for Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association members are $16. Must be 21+ to attend. Free parking is available. Full bar and food truck fare is available for an additional charge.  

For the full lineup of entertainment and to purchase tickets, visit: https://www.lazoo.org/roaringnights/

Credit: The Los Angeles Zoo.

Sesame Street: Dance Party * So Enjoyable. Brings Out The Dancer In Everyone

Everyone loves to dance–from furry little monsters to furry BIG Snuffleupaguses. This special collection includes over two hours of content that will make your child want to move and groove. Little ones will love to see real kids dancing flamenco, doing an Irish stepdance, clapping out West African beats, and cha-cha-ing all over the place. They’ll learn to dance like a dinosaur, a robot, and Elmo! Includes appearances by Amy Ryan, Liev Schreiber, Maria Menounos, Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman, Jason Derulo and performances by Ne-Yo, Feijóo Sisters, Janelle Monáe and Sara Bareilles. Bonus Features – Elmo’s Music Magic. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “This DVD is absolutely awesome! It is so enjoyable to watch and it’s educational at the same time. It teaches you how to perform different dances, which can be very entertaining for active children.” Selene W. adds, “Stomp and slide while watching Sesame Street: Dance Party!  What could be more fun than clapping your hands, stomping your feet, touching your toes and wiggling and jiggling your way to learning new dance moves with the Sesame Street characters and their special guests?” and Jolleen M. wraps it up with, “The different scenes feature the Muppet characters of Sesame Street learning all about dance. They learn different styles of dance from all over the world, how to dance, what a choreographer is and much more. The DVD also teaches the audience the dances and then encourages people to get up and dance.” Check out their full reviews below as this DVD comes out on August 6, 2019.

Sesame Street: Dance Party

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

This DVD is absolutely awesome! It is so enjoyable to watch and it’s educational at the same time. It teaches you how to perform different dances, which can be very entertaining for active children.

Sesame Street: Dance Party has so much to watch. Every single scene is adorable, from Rosita and some friends learning how to do the chicken dance to Elmo teaching you the happy dance. And it has all of our most favorite and lovable characters such as Elmo, Rosita, Cookie Monster, Big Bird and Mr. Snuffleupagus.

This DVD teaches your children what a choreographer is and does. Also, the episodes teach you different dances and you learn about where they came from. My favorite scene is when Big Bird and Mr. Snuffleupagus try to find their favorite dance.

Throughout the DVD, there are a bunch of great messages. Some of my favorites are: learning is fun, dance can show different cultures and our voices can do amazing things. This DVD has no bad language and no bad behavior. There is nothing risky or dangerous that kids might try to do.

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 7. Adults will also think that it is cute to watch with their children and can participate in some of the dances. It is available August 6, 2019. Look for it.

Sesame Street: Dance Party!
By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

Stomp and slide while watching Sesame Street: Dance Party!  What could be more fun than clapping your hands, stomping your feet, touching your toes and wiggling and jiggling your way to learning new dance moves with the Sesame Street characters and their special guests? 

All of your favorite characters are included in this party, which starts off with Elmo’s “Happy Dance.”  Elmo and friends learn about dances from all around the world with their friend Nina.  Nina explains that you can learn to dance by learning one step at a time and to find the dance that’s perfect for you. Different Sesame Street characters appear in various segments while learning about different cultural dances as well as the joys of counting and helping friends.  What dance party would be complete without Zoe who makes her appearance throughout this dance party! 

Love the settings throughout the party and especially the costumes in Zoe’s production of “Six Swans,” which is one of my favorite scenes. 

The message of this DVD is to keep learning and to learn new things – including dance moves.  Have fun while watching the Elmo Slide, Big Bird Cha-Cha, the Dinosaur, Snuffie’s Hokey Pokey, the Conga and the Chicken Dance! It’s always more fun to learn with friends and of course, everyone loves Elmo!

I rate this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 6.  This DVD comes out August 6, 2019, so watch for it.

Sesame Street: Dance Party

By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

This DVD is educational and inclusive! All of the storylines enlighten the audience with morals or teach new skills. The puns, irony and jokes are hilarious. Even though I am not in the target age range, I still enjoyed watching this DVD.

The different scenes feature the Muppet characters of Sesame Street learning all about dance. They learn different styles of dance from all over the world, how to dance, what a choreographer is and much more. The DVD also teaches the audience the dances and then encourages people to get up and dance.

The Sesame Street Muppets are very colorful. Each looks very unique. I love that each one has a different personality. Some of them have best friends and others get along with everyone. The humans are also included in this community and interact with the Muppets. This complexity makes the DVD even more interesting. The set of Sesame Street looks realistic and is so colorful. The characters seem to have access to every part of the shops and buildings.

My favorite part is when Alan is pressured into being a swan for Zoe’s “Six Swan Dance.” He has to put on a swan costume, which includes a tutu. He also has to carry Snuffy, who is a large monster. I think Alan is very inspiring, doing all of these things for Zoe and remaining determined. It is really funny to watch his reaction to the seemingly impossible task requested of him.

Each of the scenes has different messages. All encompass taking dance, one step at a time, asking for help from the choreographer when needed and encouraging everyone to dance. Nina is the main teacher in this DVD and she is quite knowledgeable about all types of dances from all over the world.  She helps the Muppets find their personal dance style and prevents them from becoming overwhelmed when trying to learn the dances. 

This DVD is so adorable. It would be a great introduction to dance for children. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages of 2 to 6. This is releases August 6, 2019, so go check it out!

Dora And The Lost City Of Gold Knocks It Out Of The Jungle!

Having spent most of her life exploring the jungle, nothing could prepare Dora for her most dangerous adventure yet — high school. Accompanied by a ragtag group of teens and Boots the monkey, Dora embarks on a quest to save her parents while trying to solve the seemingly impossible mystery behind a lost Incan civilization. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Nathalia J. comments, “Paramount Pictures has done it again! Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum. Deliciouso! Are you ready for a new live action Dora?! If so, you’ll love this feature transformation of Nickelodeon’s TV show Dora The Explorer.” Zoe C. adds, “Vámonos! Dora and the Lost City of Gold sends me back to my not-that-long-ago childhood and reminds me why kids love Dora: she is simple, enthusiastic and an avid explorer! Now a teenager, Dora keeps her spirit and deals with identity, like most teens nowadays do, and continues teaching us lessons—and some Spanish. (“Vámonos” means “let’s go!”)” Mia G. wraps it up with, “As someone who grew up watching the show, Dora the Explorer, I am delighted at all the little tidbits in the movie that are reminiscent of the cartoon.  Dora speaks to the camera, carries her nifty backpack everywhere she goes and she throws in a Spanish word every once in awhile – ‘Can you say Delicioso?’” See their full reviews below and check out some of their interviews including coverage at the Studio Movie Grill honoring Pat Gonzalez from Paramount Studios for her charity work with the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Southern California.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold

By Nathalia J. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Paramount Pictures has done it again! Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum. Deliciouso! Are you ready for a new live action Dora?! If so, you’ll love this feature transformation of Nickelodeon’s TV show Dora The Explorer. If you have you ever wondered what it would be like to grow up in the jungle, that’s a question for Dora and her playful monkey Boots. This film takes you alongside Dora as an explorer learning the jungle’s darkest secrets. Buckle up, it’s going to get wild.

This film follows Dora, a teenage explorer who leads her friends on an adventure to save her parents and solve the mystery behind The Lost City Of Gold. Dora spent most of her life exploring the jungles of South America, but nothing could prepare Dora for her most dangerous adventure yet, high school. Yes, high school. Dora spent most of her life in academic isolation with her professor parents. Get ready for Dora and her adventures to begin. Swiper, no swiping. Swiper, no swiping.

The lead characters are Dora (Isabela Moner), Elena (Eva Longoria), Boots (Danny Trejo’s voice), Diego (Jeff Wahlberg), Swiper (Benicio Del Toro’s voice), Dora’s Father (Michael Pena) and Diego’s Mother (Pia Miller). My favorite character is clearly the favorable Dora who shows strength and courage throughout the film. For example, her parents doubt her, but she has a light inside her that will prove them wrong. She wants to show her friends, family and fellow explorers that, just because she’s young, she can be a leader and explore alongside her parents. I love that the film features a predominantly Latinx cast. The Spanish parts feel really natural and funny. The Latina female lead really inspired me in so many ways. I learned from her spirit and her willingness to be herself. 

My favorite scene is unquestionably when Dora and her friends find the Lost City of Gold. We see how the treasure hunters have tried stealing something that wasn’t their own. This scene definitely shows teamwork, action, decision-making and communication skills.

This film shares an important message about always being yourself. Dora proves this as she enters high school for the first time, after being homeschooled. She expresses her own personality and doesn’t change for anyone.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, as well as adults. There is no bad language or violence or anything to be concerned about.  It opens in theaters on August 9, 2019. Make sure to go check out this astonishing and adventurous film. 

Dora and the Lost City of Gold

By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Vámonos! Dora and the Lost City of Gold sends me back to my not-that-long-ago childhood and reminds me why kids love Dora: she is simple, enthusiastic and an avid explorer! Now a teenager, Dora keeps her spirit and deals with identity, like most teens nowadays do, and continues teaching us lessons—and some Spanish. (“Vámonos” means “let’s go!”)

In this live-action movie, Dora (Isabela Moner) goes to the city to explore . . .  high school! The jungle seems to be her natural habitat, so when Dora arrives in the city she seems a bit lost and confused. There she meets with her cousin Diego. She doesn’t know much about what going to school is and real life in a city seems more dangerous than the jungle does. On a field trip, Dora goes back to doing what she knows best: having adventures. Dora and some classmates accidentally end up in the jungle, and she helps her parents solve a mystery and find the Lost City of Gold.

I love that this film keeps the essence of the original Dora animated series and brings to the big screen elements from the TV show, like some of the animated characters. I like that family is important to Dora, and that she is a good example for younger children. The acting is very good and everyone fits nicely in their roles. Eugenio Derbez, one of the producers of the film, is surrounded with a great group of actors. He plays Alejandro Gutierrez, an explorer related to Dora, although she doesn’t know him well. Eva Longoria and Michael Peña play Dora’s parents, and they are funny and add a warm touch. Isabela Moner is the perfect Dora: she totally embodies the tone of the little girl while playing a teenager.

The story is a little predictable but overall is entertaining. The sets are not perfect, but they serve the purpose. I was actually excited to see the film since Dora is such a classic and 2020 (next year) will be the 20th anniversary of the character. The message of the film is: family comes first, and you don’t have to change who you are to fit into society.

I give Dora and the Lost City of Gold 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids 4 to 14.  Dora and the Lost City of Gold is in theatres August 9, 2019.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold
By Mia G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 8

I love Dora and the Lost City of Gold much more than I thought I would! The live-action movie is light-hearted, full of comedy and adventure, and stays true to the original Dora the Explorer TV series.

The movie follows Dora, a teenager now, who is begrudgingly shipped off from the jungles of Peru to Los Angeles, California to live with her relatives, including her cousin Diego. Dora struggles to assimilate in high school and has difficulty making friends.  Meanwhile, her parents who are professors and explorers, go missing while on their latest quest to find the Lost City of Gold.  Through a series of events, Dora and her new friends are off to save the day!

As someone who grew up watching the show, Dora the Explorer, I am delighted at all the little tidbits in the movie that are reminiscent of the cartoon.  Dora speaks to the camera, carries her nifty backpack everywhere she goes and she throws in a Spanish word every once in awhile – “Can you say Delicioso?”

Isabela Moner portrays Dora so well. She fits the part perfectly; looks like her cartoon counterpart; sounds like her and is Peruvian herself! She is upbeat, and as one of the characters in the movie says, has a “relentless good-natured spirit.”  Though I initially thought the movie would be cheesy, I enjoy Isabela’s comedic timing.  She carries the movie as its heroin.

Dora’s best friend, Boots (a monkey) and nemesis, Swiper (a fox) join her in this adventure.  They are the only two characters who are in CGI.  Though it might be have been created like this on purpose, I find the graphics of these two characters too cartoony. They stand out too much from the live-action cast.

The message of the movie is to stay true to yourself, which is the advice given to Dora early on. Because Dora stays true to herself, she is able to conquer both the high school and jungle worlds.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, because of its youthful nature.  You can find it in theaters beginning August 9, 2019.