‘Go Wild’ During San Diego Zoo’s Virtual Spring Break Event

The current closure of the world-famous San Diego Zoo and Safari Park due to the COVID-19 outbreak inspired its animal experts and zookeepers to find ways of bringing the zoo’s resident wildlife to straight audiences at home.

Targeted for kids who’re stuck at home in search of entertainment (and education), its ‘Virtual Mission: Spring Break’ is running now through April 19. While it may be a youth-oriented online program, there’s nothing stopping the young-at-heart from enjoying a fascinating up-close look at wildlife.

First, there’s a downloadable list of 101 things for kids to do—backyard missions that can be accomplished with the aid of a computer, tablet or mobile phone, or by printing out pages and ticking off each task as you go. It contains fun practical challenges, animal trivia and quiz questions to test your zoological knowledge.

For kids and adults alike, wildlife talks from zoo experts are scheduled to inform and intrigue animal lovers, including a presentation by an elephant specialist and another by a serval ambassador. If visitors miss the live version, the talks will be available afterward on the zoo’s Facebook page.

Next, San Diego Zoo Global has just released its newest app, ‘Danceabout Australia,’ which brings a full-on Kangaroo Dance Party straight into your living room or backyard through the magic of augmented reality (AR). Join in the Outback Disco fun, filled with dancing kangaroos and hopping dance tracks.

You can also record your unique AR experience and share on social media or upload to Instagram using the tag #DanceAboutAustralia.

Audiences are also invited to get to know the zoo’s animal inhabitants via YouTube videos that offer up-close, intimate views onto animal behavior and feature everything from lions, hippos, elephants and gorillas to koalas, polar bears, penguins and tortoises.

Finally, as discovered by Narcity, the zoo is providing lifestreams of a variety of animals, up-close inside their habitats, where you can watch them eating, resting, grooming, running, jumping, pouncing and playing throughout their day! The list of livestreams includes:

—Ape Cam

—Baboon Cam

—Burrowing Owl Cam, presented by Ori and the Will of the Wisps

—Butterfly Cam, presented by Wheelhouse Credit Union

—Condor Cam

—Elephant Cam, presented by Planet Zoo

—Giraffe Cam

—Koala Cam

—Panda Cam (archived video)

—Penguin Cam, presented by Alaska Airlines

—Polar Cam, presented by the Coca-Cola Company

—Tiger Cam

For more information, visit zoo.sandiegozoo.org/missionspringbreak.

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During Shanghai’s Lockdown, Cocktail Deliveries Create Moments of Joy



a street filled with water and a city in the rain
a bag sitting on top of a wooden table: In China, cocktail deliveries come with everything from garnishes to vacuum-packed ice.

Our Here, Now column looks at trends taking hold in cities around the world. Given how different the world looks these days, we’re focusing on the feel-good moments emerging in between.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced bars and restaurants throughout the world to shutter or reduce their services to take-out or delivery. While selling drinks this way is a novelty in places like the US, it’s a tried-and-true concept in China—and one that has become even more popular over the last few months.

“Delivery is such a way of life here in China,” says Shanghai-based Chris Lowder, an American expat and cocktail industry consultant who has also bartended at some of Asia’s best bars. “People expect anything, goods or a service, to be available for delivery in 30 minutes or less.” Craft cocktails, he says, are no exception.

The craft cocktail concept has been popular in China for at least five years, and from the get-go even the swankiest bars weren’t sniffy about offering off-premise drinks. And though this style of cocktail delivery can be found throughout the country, it’s very much based in Shanghai, which has established itself as the de facto capital of contemporary cocktail bars in the country (most point to the opening of Swing Low, Shinko Gokan’s speakeasy-inspired joint that opened six years ago on Fuxing Lu, as the kickoff).

In China, a cocktail delivery usually come with more accessories than Barbie’s Dream House. (It’s no wonder drink unboxing videos can often be spotted on popular social media platforms Weibo and WeChat.) Perhaps there’ll be a small shaker so you can refresh the drink before you pour, plus vacuum-packed garnishes and ice for serving. If the drink arrives in a bottle, it might be branded with a wax seal of the bar’s logo; it will certainly be beautiful enough to keep and reuse.

Sometimes, there will also be a card explaining how the drink should taste alongside a scannable QR code—which might launch a video of the bartender explaining the drink, or a playlist to recreate the bar’s vibe while drinking at home. Additional collateral often shows the drink photographed not in a studio or bar, but in a home setting, like a lavish magazine spread on home entertaining. (The intention, of course, is to inspire the customer to snap their own well-positioned photo to share on social media.)

RELATED: 10 “Quarantinis” to Drink While Social Distancing

a close up of a wine glass: We may not be able to head to our favorite bars for a drink these days, but social distancing doesn't mean we have to give up on a top-notch cocktail hour. In the name of making your solo cocktail session special, we've rounded up some of the tastiest "quarantinis" to enjoy while standing at least six feet away from other people.

During the pandemic’s initial spread and the consequent lockdown, such deliveries continued. “It’s not just the actual drink that people want—they want an escape, a feeling they’re still in society even when they’re stuck in their home and haven’t showered for days,” says Lowder. More than ever, that bar playlist or over-the-top garnish became more than an accessory to a great drink: it was a method of transportation.

Support for those behind the cocktails has been far stronger as well. Tipping is not culturally expected in China, but delivery apps now have a donation option for drinkers to support their favorite bars. Some spots are also including photographs of the bar and bar team, signed on the back with a note of thanks. Others throw in snacks, like little savory bags of crackers.

Bars got especially creative with the bits and pieces that could be delivered alongside the drink itself, with some resembling more of a grab bag with a bonus bottle of booze. But the whole idea was to create an ongoing, consistent relationship. “These bars were not looking for people to buy one thing, one time,” Lowder says, “They wanted people to do it weekly, on a Friday night as a treat while they were in quarantine.” And, of course, the hope was that they’d continue coming for their drink in person once constraints were lifted. While here’s no industry data on sales during the shutdown, anecdotally, it’s proven a lifeline for Shanghai’s bars.

Locked-down spots in New York City are already following suit. Dante in Greenwich Village, which recently topped the World’s 50 Best list, began offering delivery of its food menu a few weeks ago. As soon as the restaurant shutdown happened last week, owner Linden Pride pivoted to both food and drinks, sending their signature negroni out for delivery.

“Our first question was, How do we package this to create meaning when people open the bag?” says Pride. “How do we bring life and love into their homes right now?” Random bunches of daffodils and fun coasters and stickers have been making their way into Dante’s deliveries. And while these add-ons aren’t quite the same as Shanghai’s, they delight in a moment of need all the same.

Across the US, an increasing number of bars are setting out on the same path, making it possible for American drinkers to experience the at-home joy found in Shanghai. See Brooklyn’s Fort Defiance, owned by bartender and spirits writer St. John Frizell, or Austin-based Mexican restaurant El Arroyo, which is delivering its signature margaritas. You can also dial up a mai tai from Kon-Tiki in Oakland, or order a make-it-yourself cocktail kits from The Bitter Cube in Milwaukee.

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