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Stand Aside, Rudolph 

Wednesday, Dec 19 2012
Oakland's zoo may have the largest LED holiday light display in the Bay Area, but you know what it doesn't have? Reindeer. These might not be of the flying variety, but the four reindeer that live in a special corral on the zoo's Patas Lawn are no less impressive than Dancer or Prancer. Today is the last day to catch Holly, Velvet, Peppermint, and Belle as part of the S.F. Zoo's Reindeer Romp before they head back to colder climes (not quite the North Pole, but close: Oregon's Operation Santa Claus). Some trivia, to start your new year off right: Reindeer, called caribou in the U.S. and Canada, are the only type of deer where males, females, and calves grow antlers. Plus, their antlers are like fingerprints -- no two pair are alike. They also really do pull sleds (mostly in Sweden and Norway). Between this, the penguins singing "Jingle Bells," videos of otters frolicking in the snow, and the newish nightlife festivities, the zoo is proving to be a happenin' stomping ground for hoofed creatures and humans alike.
Dec. 20-Jan. 1, 10 a.m., 2012

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Anna Pulley

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