Big house for big cats in OC Zoo – Orange County Register

Now that all residents have settled in, the OC Zoo is hosting a house warmer of sorts on Friday, May 13, for its new big mammal fair.

The zoo’s $9 million expansion houses annexes that are now home to Santiago, an 11-year-old mountain lion found abandoned in 2011 in Oregon; Ray, a young mountain lion found in November after being hit by a car in Monterey; Two sisters of about the same age who are abandoned near the park of Thousand Oaks offices; and Ziggy, a roughly two-year-old jaguar from Arizona.

The new 2-acre exhibition space can be configured as needed, and for now little mountain lions huddle together while Santiago and Zighy have their own space – all with lush vegetation, rocks to climb and water features. A sky bridge that cats can roam around in turns will give visitors a unique look at the larger animals.

As families learn about the new show on Friday, the cats are also used to seeing more people around. Ziggy sometimes seemed to want to pounce from behind a large glass viewing window.

During the exhibition’s opening ceremony, a plaque in memory of Aiden Leos was unveiled. Don Wagner, who represents District Three on the OC Board of Supervisors, arranged a banner dedicated to Aiden, a 6-year-old zoo fan who died last year. His mother and sister were there for the unveiling.

The OC Zoo is open daily in Irvine Regional Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the week and 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekends. Entry to the zoo is $2 per person for ages 3 and up. Park parking is $3 per vehicle during the week and $5 on weekends.

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