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Dora the Explorer hits the Crossroads

By ALLISON MILES
Nov. 12, 2011 at 5:12 a.m.

Nickelodeon's Dora the Explorer meets with kids Saturday at the Texas Zoo.

For more information

Visit texaszoo.org or call 361-573-7681.

Crossroads kiddos got a special visit this weekend from a spunky adventurer and her sidekick.

Saturday was Dora Day at the Texas Zoo, where children rubbed elbows with Nickelodeon's Dora the Explorer and her monkey, Boots.

The event, about three months in the making, included bounce houses, face painting, animal shows and more, said Andrea Blomberg, the zoo's executive director.

An adventure map guided children to six native Texas species throughout the zoo.

"We've just got a day of fun," she said. "And Dora."

The staff expected at least 1,000 people to attend Saturday, Blomberg said, although some expected it to top 2,000.

Carlee Suarez, a 3-year-old with bouncy brown pigtails, greeted Dora, hugged her and even took a picture with the cartoon megastar.

The zoo's nearby fox exhibit didn't go unnoticed, either.

Another Dora character, Swiper the fox, often attempts to steal the young explorer's things. Carlee was prepared with Dora's catchphrase, just in case things got out of hand.

"Swiper, no swiping," she said with a grin.

Other fans were more comfortable with Dora on the small screen than in person.

Allison Charlton, 3, said Dora was scary at the zoo but admitted she enjoyed watching the ballerina episode on TV.

Audrey Lynn Hernandez, 21/2, shied away with her aqua hoodie safely over her head when it came time to meet her.

"She was very, very excited," said Audrey's father, Clarence Hernandez. "Last night she didn't want to go to bed."

Dora wasn't the only icon on people's minds Saturday, however.

TaHithia Hunter, a 4-year-old fan whose room boasts Dora blankets, clothes, stickers and more, visited the zoo as a surprise from her godmother, Linda Callis.

As for TaHithia's favorite thing about Dora the Explorer?

"Justin Bieber," she said.

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