• 59°

Kingdom Zoo hosts Wildlife Day and fall Festival coming to Pinehurst

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader

Want to feed big sulcata tortoises? Or see exotic birds and other animals from around the world all while the children can trick or treat and play games for candy?

Kingdom Zoo Wildlife Day and Fall Festival offers such opportunities with Kingdom Zoo Wildlife Center presents a unique, free event for the whole family from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26 at West Park located on West Park Ave. in Pinehurst.

Take games, candy and mix it with animal encounters while bringing the community together and offering wildlife conservation all at the same time.

“Think of a fall festival with games and candy,” Kingdom Zoo Wildlife Center founder Chester Moore said. “We’re going to have that a with about 10 different games with candy and prizes. But, we also have our animal encounter opportunities so it will be a fun and unique day.”

Chester added there will be a booth with information on Wild Wishes, a program which recently granted it’s 100th wish.

“We are going to grant wish 101 in Colorado,” Chester said.

Chester and his wife, Lisa, started a program called, “Wild Wishes,” in 2014, for terminally ill children or for kids who have lost a parent or sibling, with providing them encounters with their favorite exotic animals. The non-profit visited more than 4,000 kids in the area in 2019. It has also granted wishes as far as Florida and Oklahoma.

“It will be a chance to see what we have going on at our facility in Pinehurst and also how we use the animals to teach hurting children through our programs.”

“Encounters with these amazing animals do something special for the children. It breaks through emotional barriers and allows to bring then a powerful Christ-centered message of hope,” Lisa said.

Lisa added they are inviting kids to come out in costume and there will be a costume contest and special prizes for the winner.

“We want this to be a fun day and something unique for the community with the combination of fall festival tradition and our animals,” Lisa said.

The event also offers an opportunity to experience the Kingdom Zoo Wildlife encounter.

Kingdom Zoo is a ministry which started seven years ago and has had a ‘brick and mortar’ location for five years.

Kingdom Zoo and “Wild Wishes” are both 501C(3) charities that hope to teach kids about Christ through His Creation.  Their focus is on spiritual and wildlife education through media, encounter-based programs, and mentoring.

“Chester and his wife are a blessing to the city of Pinehurst for what they do, not only for kids in the area but the families as well,” City Administrator Robbie Hood said. “Kingdom Zoo offers a unique interactions between children and animals. The City of Pinehurst is very grateful to have Kingdom Zoo host an event at West Park.”