Beloved Pets Ofrenda
Through november 2, 2023
September 30 – October 29
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
SPECIAL HOLIDAY HOURS
Indigenous Peoples’ Day, October 9
Day of the Dead, November 1 & 2
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
We’re partnering for the third year with Plaza de la Raza Cultural Center for the Arts & Education on an ofrenda for the public to enjoy and co-create. The Beloved Pets Ofrenda is designed to honor the memory of cherished animal companions that have passed away, and all Zoo guests are welcome to participate.
Staff from the Zoo’s Learning & Engagement team will be available at the ofrenda on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to facilitate the co-creation of the altar. During staffed hours, guests will be able to print pet photos from their phone or draw their pet using available art supplies. Participants will also be able to decorate their own frames, provided by the Zoo, and place their pet photos on the ofrenda. While staff will be there to assist only on weekends, the altar will be accessible to the public during all hours that the Zoo is open so that guests can contribute any time.
The Zoo has a long partnership history with Plaza de La Raza, an established community art school that serves systematically excluded communities of Lincoln Heights, Boyle Heights, and East Los Angeles. Resident folklorist artist America Madrigal-Herrera led a team of Plaza de la Raza parents and students in co-creating the altar at the L.A. Zoo’s Sea Life Cliffs.
“It is an honor for Plaza de la Raza to collaborate with the L.A. Zoo every year to spread culture and share stories, and we thank our friends, the furried and the others,” says Maria Jimenez Torres, Plaza de la Raza’s executive director.
Meaning “offering” in Spanish, an ofrenda is an alter created to honor loved ones who have passed away. These displays are a colorful mix of symbols, pictures, flowers, and other meaningful items, and are an essential part of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations, which Hispanic, Latino, and Latinx cultures observe on November 1 and 2.
Pets form a very important part of a family, and an ofrenda full of pet pictures is a wonderful way to celebrate their lives. Día de los Muertos “is a time to honor, remember, and salute our loved ones,” says Maria Jimenez Torres. “In any family who loves their pets, animals are a part of the family and our lives, so an alter to remember them with more joy than sorrow… is fitting and healing.” The Beloved Pets Ofrenda is a special way to celebrate both Hispanic heritage as well as honor the connection between humans and animals and express empathy for all living things.