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Bison Bonanza offers fun for families at the zoo

All of it FREE with the price of admission, which is only a dollar for kids from 3 to 12, and free for kids under 3. Interested?The place to be is the Queens Zoo in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, for the Bison Bonanza weekend, this Saturday and Sunday.The puppet shows take place on both days, at 10:45 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. "King of the Prairie," features prairie animals, and "The Great Treasure Hunt," features marsh inhabitants. The two shows alternate performances. Kids at the shows are encouraged to imitate animals and dance.This special zoo weekend is the first to offer shows by both the Red Storm Dance and Drum Troupe and the country western musicians of the Mary Lamont Band. The troupe will perform several times, beginning at noon on Saturday, while the band will play kid-friendly music, beginning at noon, at various times on Sunday. Both groups will appear in the outdoor cafe area, a spot right by a pool of playful sea lions.At "education stations" kids can find out interesting facts about predator and prey animals, animals that live in the ground, and others. (Did you know that bison eat half a bale of hay a day, along with other stuff?) They can examine skulls from meat-eaters and plant-eaters, and compare their teeth. If they play the Jeopardy-style habitat game, "Prairie Jeopardy," they can win prizes.The bison on display are not part of the petting zoo, but kids can touch bison horns and bison fur, and make bison headbands. The animals on the domestic side available for petting include goats, cows and llamas. The zoo's wild side includes an aviary in a geodesic dome, and includes prairie dogs, bears, parrots and a marsh full of ducks and other marsh-dwellers. Four different shows will be presented throughout July and August, at the Wildlife Theater. The zoo is located at 53-51 111th St., and has a carousel, two picnic areas, food carts, snack machines and a souvenir stand. Zoo hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekends, April through October. No pets or radios are allowed, and no smoking is permitted. Admission for adults is $5. Senior citizens pay only $1.25. For more information, call (718) 271-1500, or (718) 271-7361, or visit www.queenszoo.com.

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