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Haunted Zoo not for faint of heart

By Camille Doty
Oct. 25, 2011 at 5:25 a.m.

Lacey Alexander, one of the scary clowns, jumps out at people in the aviary during the Haunted Zoo.

IF YOU GO:

WHEN: 7-11 p.m., Friday and Saturday

WHERE: Texas Zoo, 110 Memorial Drive, Victoria

COST: $5

FOR MORE INFO: Visit texaszoo.org

Julie Gonzales recruited her friends to share a haunted experience to kick off the Halloween festivities. She was enticed by the Haunted Zoo advertisement because it sounded scary. Friday night, she and her out-of-town friends entered the house of horror.

Her boyfriend, Scott Manning, wasn't confident everyone would survive.

"There are four of us going in, and only three ... are going to come out," he said jokingly.

Gonzales' and Manning's curious minds entered the unknown.

For the last several years, the Texas Zoo has organized the haunted house as a fundraiser. Andrea Blomberg, the executive director said the zoo raised $8,000 from the haunted house.

For the last two months, close to 60 volunteers and staff members put on their creative skull caps to invent new scenes and revise fan favorites.

Blomberg said the zoo is not for the faint-hearted.

"The chances are, we're going to scare the heck out of people," she said.

Chrissi Ward has volunteered at the Haunted Zoo for the last four years. She said she likes the holiday and the zoo - a perfect marriage. She portrayed a wreck victim, whose almost lifeless body had involuntarily spasms. Those passing by her shrieked in horror.

Ward and others had ghastly makeup and mutilated body parts to add to the dramatic effects.

The flickering strobe lights and thumping keys matched the racing hearts. Those who dared to enter the haunted house, tip-toed through the graveyard, preparing themselves for a surprise attack.

One young lady's biggest battle was her own emotions. "Oh my gosh ... I can't do this," she said to her friends while shaking her head.

But her army rallied around her, and she survived.

And so did the doting couple. Gonzales said she was able to hold her own, and Manning begged to differ.

"She (Gonzales) jumped a few times but she tried to act tough," he said.

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