It was a zoo at the Amarillo Zoo Friday evening as all the area parking lots filled for the opening of the 10th annual Boo at the Zoo extravaganza weekend.
"It's grown every year," said Mike Boley, Amarillo Zoo visitor services coordinator. "Last year was our record attendance, we had about 9,400 people. We think, with the beautiful weather this year, we may actually break that record."
In addition to the regular residents, 20 costumed characters -- including a fox, bear, panther, donkey, peacock, and kangaroo -- held court at the zoo, handing out candy to the thousands of costumed kids. There were also Halloween themed games and party staples like face painting and arts and crafts.
"A lot of families come out to enjoy a safe, family environment -- see the zoo but also have fun trick-or-treating," Boley said. "In addition to all the normal Halloween fun with the games, costume characters and spooky stuff, (people) also get a chance to enjoy the animals. Every night, different animals will get a special treat."
Anteon Tinner, along with his girlfriend Anecia and their five younger siblings, aged 6-9 came to Boo at the Zoo for the first time.
"We heard that it was a good time and that the kids would have a blast, so we decided to come," Tinner said. "I feel like it's safe out here. I feel they have the right people out here to make sure the environment will be safe."
Sylvia Montenegro brought her 6-year-old son Juan Vasquez, also for the first time.
"I brought him to see the animals and so that he could get Halloween candy," she said. "Friends and family told me this would be fun and it was pretty cool for the kids to be out here."
Montenegro said she thought the zoo was a better, safer alternative to taking Vasquez, who dressed as Spider-Man, trick-or-treating in different neighborhoods.
"This is better because we're here as a community and it's all in one place," she said.
"The zoo is a great community resource, for both the panhandle and also the tourism that comes through our area," Boley said. "By us hosting different events, we bring more an more reasons for families to enjoy the zoo."
Boo at the Zoo continues from 5:30-9 p.m. Saturday and from noon–5 p.m., Sunday.