Lunar new year celebrations are built very much around beasties. Twelve, in fact, from rats to horses to roosters to snakes. And let us not forget the lion, a fellow who does not make a zodiac cameo but is present, in spirit, in the Lion Dance, a staple of every new year festivity.
And while there are parades and dinners and ceremonies across the city to welcome the new year, from Chinatown's 100k-strong spectacular to quieter affairs at local museums, there is only one spot in the city to find all the animals of the zodiac: the Los Angeles Zoo.
Or make that the Zoodiac. Nope, there aren't dragons at the Griffith Park institution but -- wait. Yes, there most certainly are: komodo dragons.
All of the animals of the lunar zodiac will get the spotlight over a two-day weekend celebration on Saturday, Jan. 25 and Sunday, Jan. 26. And while some of the favorites of the calendar don't reside at the zoo -- horses, for instance, are not residents -- there shall be on-site animals representing the signs. Meaning zebras, rhinos, and tapirs, which all have equine ties, shall serve as the horse for the proceedings.
Komodo dragons, as mentioned, are the dragons, the lowland anoa shall play the ox, and the Visayan Warty Pig is, you guessed it, the pig. Keepers will talk about all of the animals of the Zoodiac.
Plus? Chinese lion dances, acrobatics, Kung Fu demos, and more lunar new year loveliness fill the animal-themed adventure.
If you traditionally celebrate with firecrackers and food, consider this an unusual way to approach the new year: Through its furry symbols. It's the Year of the Horse, too, so be sure to pay special heed to those tapirs, zebras, and rhinos. (How can one not give a rhino special heed?)
The Zoodiac celebrations are free with paid zoo admission.