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Jacksonville Zoo announces Spooktacular dates

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens announced its 28th annual Spooktacular will open this Sunday.

The event will run October 16-18, 23-25 and 28-31.

Children and adults are encouraged to dress up in their favorite family-friendly costumes to enjoy trick-or-treating, music, dancing and optional scare zones.

Some favorite zoo animals will be on exhibit, including bobcats, alligators, jaguars, the animals of the Lost Temple and giraffes.

"This is such an exciting time of year here at the Zoo," said Tony Vecchio, executive director of JZG. "The entire staff pulls together to put on what has become Jacksonville's best Halloween party. So much fun that we can't just celebrate it in one day. We have to make it 10 days long to accommodate all of the Spooktacular fans."

Spooktacular also includes hundreds of pumpkins in Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin Patch, a chance to walk down the yellow brick road in the Wizard of Oz, meet characters from A Nightmare Before Christmas and hang out with Peter Pan and Wendy.

There will also be bounce houses, giant slides and face painting.

"Kids can build and take home their own Halloween monster, play games and fill a bat-themed trick-or-treat backpack with goodies—we hope everybody enjoys a happy and safe Spooktacular," said Steve Vachon, head of branches for Chase in Jacksonville, which created the activities as part of this year's Spooktacular.

The Zoo opens each night at 6:30 p.m. with ticket sales ending at 9 p.m. and the Zoo closing at 10 p.m.

Admission is $8 for members, $10 for non-members, and children ages two and younger are free.  Parking is free. 

To purchase tickets in advance at a discounted rate and for more information visit www.jacksonvillezoo.org