SURREY - It was 25 years ago when artist and photographer Gary Oliver got the idea to combine his love of art with his love for animals. And the resulting Cinemazoo has been going strong since.
Oliver, the man behind both Cinemazoo and the charity Urban Safari Rescue Society, said everyone is invited to help them celebrate the big anniversary Sunday, Aug. 12.
"Come out and appreciate nature," Oliver said.
Sunday's celebrations include a wide variety of animal-related activities, such as a petting zoo of farm animals, bee beard demonstrations by Honeybee Centre, Paul Smith - who does an Alice Cooper impersonation - will have his snake for people to pose with for photographs, as well as free zoo tours and visitors can learn about Timberwolves, with one there with its owner.
"We've redesigned the zoo a little bit to make it completely wheelchair accessible," said Sharon Doucette, an office administrator with Cinemazoo.
The zoo has a host of animals, large and small, for visitors to see and learn about, including exotic birds, insects, turtles, ferrets, a skunk and even a giant iguana, who often roams freely about the place, and others.
Korki the Clown will do a magic show and hang out with visitors to the South Surrey zoo. Other attractions for the open house and anniversary party include a barbecue and word has it there will be blueberry sundaes in addition to the more traditional hot dogs and hamburgers.
There will be plenty of other surprises and features, said Doucette, who invited all past and present volunteers, students and visitors to come by for the Sunday event.
The anniversary party is also a fundraiser, with a silent auction planned.
"We have a couple thousand dollars worth of silent auction items now," she said Thursday, "with more coming in."
Among the items up for grabs are two golf packages, one each from Peace Portal Golf Course and Meridian Golf. One of the more coveted prizes is bound to be the king room for two at the Four Seasons in Whistler, although there are plenty of other auction items to tempt bidders, such as a massage from Aru Spa, a night at the races at Fraser Downs, different baskets, gift certificates and other donated goods.
"We're hoping to see lots of old friends and make new ones," said Doucette. "We'd like to share our enthusiasm for exotic animals with the public."
The event runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 12 at Cinemazoo, 1395 176th St. in South Surrey. For more details on the event, call 604-299-6963.