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October 22
1898 - Birth of Mary S. Ruiz, eldest child of Enrique & Rosaria Ruiz of San Francisquito Canyon; all died in 1928 dam disaster [cemetery census]


Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Jan 5, 2013

JenniferFischerThis week, I kick off the ABCs of the Santa Clarita Valley, which will run for 26 weeks as I focus on a different aspect of the SCV from A to Z. Since I am a mama of two little ones (age 3 and under), my ABCs of the SCV will have a family perspective, but not one that is too heavy-handed. I suspect I will often include things about the SCV that just about anyone would enjoy, as well as some of our personal family favorites.

So, here we go with A … A is for Animals. Often when I think of taking my sons to see animals, the San Diego Zoo comes to mind, along with the OC Zoo at Irvine Railroad Park (which we absolutely love) in Orange County and Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark. While we love all three of those places – all of which are on my Top Ten list of quick SoCal Weekend Getaways for families – I try not to forget that there are wonderful opportunities for kids to experience animals right here in the Santa Clarita Valley – and all of which are fairly budget-friendly.

Walt Disney donated his herd of American bison to Hart Park in 1962.

Walt Disney donated his herd of American bison to Hart Park in 1962.

I will start off with two free fun opportunities to see animals in Santa Clarita. William S. Hart Park in Newhall, located at 24151 Newhall Avenue, has lots of families on the park grounds including 13 bison, a cow, chickens, a turkey, rabbits, hogs, pigs, geese and ducks. Regarding ducks, there is also the duck pond at Bridgeport, which my 3-year-old son absolutely loves. We go there to watch the ducks and see if we can spot any turtles. Both of these animal outings are free, making them even better. Bridgeport you can enjoy basically at any time, and the Hart Park you can visit daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for animal viewings.

Sapphire, a pregnant sheep rescued from a backyard butcher, gave birth to a healthy baby boy at the Gentle Barn.

Sapphire, a pregnant sheep rescued from a backyard butcher, gave birth to a healthy baby boy at the Gentle Barn.

Also, the Santa Clarita Valley offers refuge and research for animals at The Gentle Barn and Gibbon Conservation Center. The hours at these two places are more limited and there is a fee, but both offer great opportunities to interact with and see animals, and your funds will support important research and programs.

The Gentle Barn is a rescue and rehabilitation center for abused animals, and the organization focuses on the ability of animals to rehabilitate and offer comfort for humans. It is open to the public on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a suggested donation of $10 for the visit. At the Gentle Barn, individuals can groom horses and interact with the pigs, goats and sheep. One Sunday each month, the Gentle Barn often offers special events and activities with music and craft activities. It is located at 15825 Sierra Highway in Canyon Country.

Endangered apes at the Gibbon Conservation in Saugus | Photo by J. Zuckerman

Endangered apes at the Gibbon Conservation Center in Saugus | Photo by J. Zuckerman

Finally, I recently learned that there are apes right here in the Santa Clarita Valley at the Gibbon Conservation Center, located at 19100 Esguerra Road in Santa Clarita, across from Lombardi Ranch. It is open to the public from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and Sundays and is $10 for adults and $5 for children and seniors. Children under 5 are free. The Gibbon Conservation Center is home to two types of gibbon primates, some of the rarest primates in the world.

We have not had a chance to visit the Gibbon Conservation Center yet, but hope to do so soon. I was amazed to learn that these rare primates were living right here in the Santa Clarita Valley and am looking forward to discovering more about my own community through this ABCs of the Santa Clarita Valley project. You can also read this blog post for more on teaching little ones about animals.

 

Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.

 

 

 

 

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