Guests Are Invited to Honor Pets That Have Passed Away at Ofrenda with Photos or Drawings Oct. 9-Nov. 2

The Los Angeles Zoo is finishing National Hispanic Heritage Month with its first-ever Beloved Pets Ofrenda (altar) designed to honor the memory of cherished animal companions that have passed away. Beginning Saturday, Oct. 9, guests may come and print out or draw photos of their pets and place their decorated pictures on the ofrenda located at the Zoo’s Love Wall at Tree Tops Terrace. The Zoo partnered with Plaza de la Raza Cultural Center for the Arts & Education students and their families to co-create this special ofrenda and community art display.

“Plaza de la Raza has a long history of connecting art, culture, and education to L.A.’s Hispanic, Latino, and Latinx communities – communities that are the foundation of what Los Angeles represents,” said Denise M. Verret, CEO & Zoo Director of the Los Angeles Zoo. “A common bond we all share is the love we have for our pets; the care that we provide and the bonds that are formed are very similar for the animals that call the L.A. Zoo home. Empathy for all living things inspires the passion to protect them, and continuing to remember them is ever important in our environment today. National Hispanic Heritage Month is the perfect time to give everyone the space to love and remember their pets. We invite every Angeleno to come and take part in our first ofrenda.”

An ofrenda, which means “offering” in Spanish, is an altar created to honor loved ones who have passed away. These ceremonial displays are a colorful mix of symbols, pictures, flowers, memorabilia, food, beverages, and other meaningful items, and all are an essential part of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations, which Hispanic, Latino, and Latinx cultures observe on Nov. 1 and 2. Community partnerships with organizations like Plaza de la Raza create amazing opportunities to recognize, honor, and celebrate the rich diversity of our City. It is vital to both the Zoo and Plaza de la Raza to respect the Hispanic heritage and traditions of Los Angeles.

“Getting to partner with the Los Angeles Zoo is a wonderful opportunity to work together to help relaunch the cultural vitality of our City, and emerge from the challenges and death due to COVID-19,” said Maria Jimenez Torres, executive director of Plaza de la Raza. “Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is a celebration of life. It recognizes death as a part of life, and we remember our ancestors and loved ones, thus keeping them alive in our hearts and minds. We welcome the opportunity to share our culture with our friends and new audiences. Animals are great teachers for humans about the quality of life and the dignity of death, so I say Bravo to the L.A. Zoo!”

Zoo Learning & Engagement staff will be on-site to help co-create the ofrenda with guests every Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. If guests cannot come on weekends, the ofrenda will be accessible during normal Zoo hours for guests to bring their own printed out photos of their pets. The ofrenda will be up and on display through the end of Día de los Muertos on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Author: LA Zoo