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Wild Wonders - Family Program

  • California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks 350 West Hillcrest Drive Thousand Oaks, CA, 91360 United States (map)

Family Program at CMATO


Come up close and meet exotic animals under the watchful eyes of zoo keepers (some in training!) from Moorpark Teaching Zoo.

Visitors will have an opportunity to meet and interact with an array of furry friends at “Wild Wonders,” a special wildlife “meet and greet” presented in conjunction with Moorpark Teaching Zoo - one of the only two teaching zoos in the nation.

Visitors can get up close with the Zoo’s animal ambassadors and learn about the habits and characteristics of these amazing creatures in addition to animal ecology, adaptations and endangered species. This fun and interactive family program engages audiences about the wonders of our earth and the animals with whom we share it.

Free For Everyone!

“Wild Wonders” complements the ecologically-conscious works of artist Kevin Sloan, whose “A Collection of Rarities” exhibition, now on view at CMATO, explores the intersection of humanity, nature and wildlife in the modern era.

Exotic Animal Training and Management (EATM) Program was established as a major at Moorpark College in 1974. In 1990, the EATM Compound was moved to its current location, on a 5 acre site overlooking all of the Moorpark College campus. Animal enclosures were built, and new enclosures are always being constructed. The animal collection has gradually increased over the years as animals were acquired through donations and breeding loans from major zoos and research centers. This extraordinary collection has included exotic animals ranging from Marmosets to an Asian Elephant, Leopard Geckos to Alligators, Turacos to Emus. We currently have a Bengal Tiger, African Lioness, Spotted Hyena, Mountain Lions, a wide variety of Primates, Birds, and many, many other exotic and endangered animals. New animals are continuously being acquired, as space arises.

As the animal collection grew, so did the program. New courses were developed and enrollment increased. The present animal collection, is maintained on a five-acre facility on the Moorpark College campus called  "America's Teaching Zoo".

Students in the Exotic Animal Training and Management program are required to be at America's Teaching Zoo most days, including weekends when we are open to the public. This requirement is in addition to the long hours and days spent working with and caring for the animals, and attending classes. Our Zoo has about 130 different animals at any time, and the students are responsible for most of the care, feeding and well-being of the animals, under close faculty and staff supervision. Responsibility is a key commitment to this program. Graduates of the EATM program are working all over the world, in many different situations involving animals. They are training dolphins and other marine mammals, doing conservation work, training animals for television and films, working at zoos and theme parks, and many other animal jobs.