OCTOBER FAVORITE PAIR-UP: We don't have to go out on the very long limb of a very tall tree, the kind you might see around Big Bear, when we say that both flashlights and animals are two October classics that receive a lot of attention come the autumn. Well, animals are always important and classic and major, but their special role in October comes when humans dress up as critters on Halloween night (think cats, mice, bats, and such). Flashlights, too, have their moment on the last day of the month, when trick-or-treaters make for the streets with battery-powered torches in hand. So putting flashlights and animals together, in one place, feels very seasonal and something that fits with fall. The Big Bear Alpine Zoo certainly thinks so, and each October beastie buffs can make for the mountain-placed animal preserve for a little evening wander-around time. It's the Flashlight Safari, and it is on at the high-elevation zoo each Friday and Saturday during October.
BYOF... is the order of the night -- that's "Bring Your Own Flashlight," of course -- and know that the only Saturday the zoo will be closed to the public is Halloween night (so, nope, don't plan on Oct. 31 for your spooky safari). You'll want to layer, or at least jacket-up, since the air can be a mite nippy near Big Bear Lake when autumn sets in, and you'll want to arrive well ahead of the 6:30 start time, as no one shall enter the zoo after 7 o'clock. What will you see, by low light, as you stroll the grounds at a time when those grounds are usually locked up tight? Many mountain-dwelling creatures, from black bears to bald eagles to fallow deer to hedgehogs and mountain lions. Many a Big Bear Lake visitor hopes to spy an owl or eagle in the wild, while hiking, but you absolutely will, at the zoo, during your Flashlight Safari.
COST? It's zoo admission, is all, and the whole atmospheric amble lasts for two hours. That means you'll get plenty of time to gaze upon the bears and owls and plan what animal you want to be for Halloween. Isn't that the best, when we get to dress up, in Halloween homage, to our co-earthlings? The animals? But do they ever think of dressing up as us?